SAVANNAH AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Garden City, Ga., Oct. 2, 2016 – The Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) recently completed another successful Annual Training (AT). Several hundred GSDF members arrived at Savannah Air National Guard (ANG) Base in the final week of September to organize and run a realtime training exercise. The 2016 AT was a joint operation involving all three branches of the Georgia Department of Defense (DoD) and conducted at several installations across Georgia. The GSDF relied on assets provided by the Georgia Army National Guard (GAARNG) 78th Aviation Troop Command and the Georgia Air National Guard 165th Airlift Wing. The goal of AT 2016 was to maintain and improve readiness in order to respond to natural disasters.
During the exercise, GSDF members performed a mass casualty triage and evacuation exercise along with a Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) operation. The exercise began on Friday, September 30, and concluded on Sunday, October 2, with a forcewide discussion and evaluation of the exercise. During the exercise, 50 casualties, played by Georgia National Guard Youth Challenge Academy students, were located at Wright Army Airfield (WAAF) at Fort Stewart. In addition, two simulated missing persons were located at the Georgia Garrison Training Center, also at Fort Stewart. A team of GSDF members flew on a C-130 Hercules to WAAF while another team flew on a CH-47 Chinook to Fort Stewart. GSDF members were tasked with recovering the casualties, performing triage, and providing medical care in order to stabilize the casualties for transport back to the Savannah ANG Base. During the WSAR exercise at the Georgia Garrison Training Center, a UH-60 Black Hawk was called in to evacuate the casualty. All simulated casualties, along with all GSDF personnel, returned to the Savannah ANG Base where secondary triage was performed and appropriate medical care was provided to the casualties.
Along with members of the GSDF, several other dignitaries were on hand during AT. Brig. Gen. Jesse T. Simmons, Jr., Assistant Adjutant General – Air, Georgia DoD and Commander, Georgia ANG, and Command Sgt. Maj. Phillip A. Stringfield, Senior Enlisted Advisor Georgia DoD and State Command Sergeant Major, GAARNG, both attended AT. The attendance of such important guests serves as a testament to the strong partnership between each branch of the Georgia DoD. Training events, such as this AT field exercise, help the GSDF to identify strengths as well as areas in which improvements are needed. AT is a way to ensure that the GSDF is prepared for any eventuality. Brig. Gen. Thomas Danielson, Commanding General, GSDF, said, “The bottom line is we’re here to support the people of the state of Georgia.”