716th Military Police Battalion leads Task Force to Alabama
FORT CAMPBELL, Kentucky After months of preparation, Soldiers from the 716th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade will depart Fort Campbell, in late February, to Fort McClellan, Alabama, to participate in a training exercise that will validate the unit’s capabilities as a Response Task Force prior to assuming the Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Response Force mission.
The DCRF is a combination of units trained to support civil authorities in the event of a CBRN disaster that exceeds the capabilities of civilian agencies. Since disaster often comes without warning, DCRF units are likely to deploy within just a few days after an incident.
“This mission forces us to constantly be thinking about readiness. We have to be sure all of our equipment and vehicles are ready to go on short notice,” said 1st Lt. Jared Linton, executive officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 716th MP Bn.
The DCRF is nearly 75 percent composed of Army personnel with the remaining portion comprised of members of the Air Force, Navy, and Marines based throughout the United States.
Units from across the nation contribute to the response force providing everything from helicopters to logistical support and engineering capabilities.
“We perform well under pressure. Our Soldiers are ready for whatever mission comes,” Linton added.
Although many components will make of the overall response task force, the 716th MP Bn. has been entrusted with the responsibility to prepare and lead the task force which will include Soldiers based out of both Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Campbell.
Soldiers from the 218th MP Company, 63rd Chemical Company, 501st Area Support Medical Company, and 68th Engineer Construction Company fall under the Task Force organization for the DCRF.
Each unit brings unique capabilities such as urban search and rescue, medical treatment and casualty decontamination.
“Our Soldiers play an important role in forming a Mass Casualty Decontamination line (MCD),” says 1st Lt. Carly Goodson, a platoon leader from 218th MP Co.
Goodson went on to say, “Before more advanced medical care is provided to someone they will need to be decontaminated in a quick and efficient manner. Our Soldiers are trained to assist with this process, ensuring we preserve as many lives as possible.”
The 716th MP Bn. received the order to begin training for the response force role back in August of 2018.
Through series of training exercises, coordination meetings and leadership training workshops the battalion is ready to work as a task force in preparation for the Guardian Response Culminating Training Exercise in April.
Guardian Response is an exercise intended to certify the entire response force working together.
During the exercise at Fort McClellan, the 716th MP Bn. will certify that each of its subordinate units can communicate and work together.
From February 24 to March 2 the 716th MP Bn. will be accompanied by Observer Controller/Trainers (OC/T) from U.S. Army North.
These OC/Ts will work alongside the Soldiers to certify they can complete the tasks required for the mission, providing lessons learned from their past experiences and familiarity with the DCRF mission.
“After this exercise every Soldier can be confident that when the time comes and they need to talk to another unit, they’ll be able to do that,” says Capt. Mark Cucina, 716th MP Bn. communications officer.
Despite this being the first field experience together as a task force, Cucina is confident that they will be able to address problems that arise during the exercise and be prepared for Guardian Response.
During a DCRF workshop in November, Maj. Gen. Ray Royalty, 84th Training Command commander from Fort Knox said, “This is not your everyday mission; the threat is real and this mission is important.”
Royalty went on to put the DCRF into context for leaders attending the workshop, stressing the need to train realistically and plan for worst case scenarios.
The 716th MP Bn. stands ready to deploy on short notice, if necessary, and work alongside civilian agencies to preserve life and reduce human suffering after an incident.