FLORENCE REGIONAL AIRPORT, Florence, S.C., March 11, 2015, By 2LT Allan Hayes –Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) troops played key roles in training and assisting Georgia Army National Guard (GAANG) soldiers with transportation, communications, and maintenance operations during a simulated disaster drill March 6-11 in Georgetown, South Carolina.
A Company, 4th Battalion, 5th Brigade of the GSDF are a fully embedded unit with the 1177th Transportation Company of the GAANG in LaGrange Georgia. The 1177th is part of the Homeland Response Force (HRF), 201st Regional Support Group, FEMA region IV. The HRF was called to participate in a multi-state disaster response training exercise named Operation Vigilant Guard 2015 which was based on Hurricane damage like that sustained by coastal South Carolina during Hugo in 1989. The 1177th requested GSDF support with line haul trucking and forward supply company roles during the operation.
SSG Amber Kimble, SGT Christopher Treadwell, and WO1 Howard Seay were the GSDF soldiers participating in the mission. At the end of the exercise all 3 Soldiers were presented the Georgia Commendation Medal. This was the second and third award for all GSDF soldiers attending the exercise. While serving on the mission, GSDF troops participated in a line haul mission convoy to the simulated disaster area providing additional medical supplies to civilian and military response workers and they competently assembled the 1177th TC OE-254 antenna and performed initial communication checks between the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and roving military vehicles measuring effective range.
The 1177th TC Commander requested GSDF assistance for TOC operations for the duration of the mission including: setup, communications, action plans, dispatch tickets for multiple chocks of GAARNG vehicles, Personnel Status Reports (PERSTAT), convoy planning, and distribution of multiple state assets. During a visit to the 1177th TC Command Post (C2), COL Vernon Atkinson, Commander of 201st Regional Support Group, spoke very highly of GSDF involvement, dedication, and integration with the GAARNG. COL Atkinson expressed his desire to continue expanding the GSDF’s integration, and conveyed his deep gratitude towards the GSDF troops that were present.