By Sgt. Mathieu Perry
ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. – More than 40 Soldiers from B Company, 960th Brigade Support Battalion, participated in the Sweetwater Big Bang Exercise near Rock Springs, Nov. 3.
The event brought together local civilian agencies, utility companies and members of the Wyoming National Guard Response Force to evaluate emergency situation responses.
According to Col. Frank Cornelio, assistant incident commander and National Guard plans officer, joint exercises bring the military and civilian departments closer by allowing each organization to better understand the roles and capabilities of the other.
“The goal is to work closely with emergency managers… and to develop relationships with the emergency first responders (we) would be dealing with, in the case of a real event, such as a flood, forest fire, earth quake, etc.” said Cornelio.
Soldiers of B Company supported the Sweetwater County Department of Emergency Management by providing area security and control of a natural gas metering station and compression station near Rock Springs.
The opportunity to work side-by-side with non-military personnel was a new experience for many of the Soldiers.
“I got the most out of this exercise from working with the civilians and dealing with the general public,” said Staff Sgt. Bill Webb, a mechanic with the unit. “We don’t really get to interact as military members, directly with the public like this; especially with other agencies, in a combined effort to seamlessly form a singular solid team.”
“Every time I go out and help conduct these exercises, it really brings home the community atmosphere of the state of Wyoming,” summed up Cornelio. “It illustrates the point that Soldiers really do serve the communities in which they live.”
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