“It’s important to train for this because, while this seems something out of our nightmare, this is a potential threat that we could possibly have to respond to. In an event like this, this could potentially be America’s worst day,” Staff Sgt. Steven Cushman with Joint Task Force Civil Support said.
The troops pretended a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb had gone off in Houston. A bomb of that magnitude could destroy buildings, kill hundreds and injure thousands more. The radiation is another problem.
“There is going to be a lot of contaminants in the air and a lot of contamination people are going to come in contact with,” Cushman said.
Joint Task Force Civil Support organizers gave troops several search-and-rescue missions, like saving a person dangling from a building or someone stuck under debris.
“What we did was…we had a block that was laying literally on our victim. We had to go ahead and find a way uniquely to keep the victim from getting further crushed without that block rolling back to create further damage,” Christopher Acevedo with the 92nd Engineer Battalion in Fort Stewart, GA, said.
Acevedo said it’s not a run-of-the-mill training.
“It’s not easy. It requires a lot of you, physically, mentally. It requires you to be focused. It requires you to work as a team,” he said.
As part of the training, dozens of people dressed up as victims of the nuclear explosion. Many of them wore torn-up clothing and fake blood.
One of the biggest concerns after a nuclear explosion is dealing with what officials call “mass-casualty decontamination.”
“There’s a process that’s very serious and very involved that’s trained to standard to take survivors that have been exposed to radiation to decontaminate them,” Lt. Col. Steve Kolouch, Commander of the 62nd Engineer Battalion in Fort Hood, said.
Those survivors were taken to a decontamination tent, where they were stripped of their clothes and washed down.
Friday’s training was part of a bigger six-day training. It’s a training Kolouch said prepares troops to save lives and mitigate suffering.
“If called upon for this mission, it’s going to be a serious day for America,” he said. “It makes it real for the soldiers, real for the leaders to know that what we’re training for is important enough for us to get it right.”
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