Thousands of Tennessee Army and Air National Guardsmen will work with various state and local agencies, especially the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, to exercise their response to catastrophic disasters and aid the citizens of Tennessee.
Named Tennessee Maneuvers 2016, the exercise involves more than 50 Army and Air National Guard units that will train alongside fire departments, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, paramedics and several other emergency organizations. Each participant will practice responding to disaster scenarios, allowing them the opportunity to work together and perfect their response skills.
“Our mission is to support state wide emergency management by bringing together local civil authorities, under the coordination of TEMA, and provide military response resources in the event of a catastrophic emergency,” said Maj. Gen. Terry “Max” Haston, Tennessee’s adjutant general. “During these emergencies, the Tennessee Army and Air National Guard bring unique skills and specialized equipment that can rapidly stabilize and assist in any situation throughout our great state.”
Beginning May 13, the exercise will be highly visible throughout Middle Tennessee. The first series of exercises will begin around Tullahoma. Units primarily from the Tennessee Guard’s 30th Troop Command will respond to emergencies with more than eight other agencies that include the Coffee County and Tullahoma Police Department, Harton Hospital, Tennessee Department of Health, state parks and Tenn. Department of Transportation. Each agency will participate and conduct training fitted to its own organizational needs.
Following the May event, the next major exercise window will run from June 11-25, starting in Memphis and ending in Bristol, but encompassing areas in Nashville, Milan, Smyrna, Chattanooga and others. The Memphis scenario is based on the catastrophic New Madrid fault line scenario, which experts feel will cause earthquakes and destruction on a magnitude virtually unprecedented in modern history. Units mostly from the 194th Engineer Brigade, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 230th Sustainment Brigade and the Air National Guard will work with TEMA and numerous agencies in response to possible scenarios.
The final set of exercises will be held around Bristol where primarily the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 194th Engineer Brigade will respond to catastrophic weather scenarios with local emergency agencies.
Even though the exercise will be conducted in major population centers, Guardsmen from across the state will participate, resulting in increased visibility and vehicle traffic on state highways. Further scenario information on the Tennessee Maneuvers 2016 exercise will be released in the coming weeks, and information can also be found from the Tennessee Military Department Joint Public Affairs Office at 615-313-0633.