Posted: Dec 9, 2011 8:40 PM by Shawn Kline
Updated: Dec 10, 2011 1:23 PM
"You can't help a hurricane coming but afterwards, yes, I think we could help a lot." That's what SSG. David Brunet of Houma had to say about the army's newest mission at Ft. Polk.
For the first time, the army is training to respond to disasters at home.
Memphis, Tennessee is rocked by a 9.1 earthquake. Like Haiti in 2010, and Japan in 2011, the number of injuries and casualties are in the thousands.
The earthquake, causing millions of dollars in damage, brought down buildings and littered the streets with rubble.
Thankfully, that's just a scenario, a training exercise for troops at Ft. Polk.
"We're rehearsing part of those aspects on how we deliver that support." Col. Dave Theisen says, "the soldiers become more proficient, we learn more from the effects on how we operate."
For the first time, the army is training not to go overseas, but respond to disasters right here in the United States.
This earthquake scenario will have troops ready for just about every catastrophe; man-made or natural.
"Our first response is nuclear, radiological, chemical warfare or anything that will happen of that nature in the United States." SSG. Brunet says, "if there are natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, earthquakes or tornados that happen, we'll definitely be able to respond fast."
Brunet says the army can now be on-call if there were an attack or natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina again.
The US Secretary of Defense can call in the military to assist first responders and the National Guard. While the army hopes they aren't called, Col. Theisen says they're at least prepared for the possibility.