Volk Field hosts large-scale exercise

  • Published
  • By Sgt. Michelle Gonzalez
  • Wisconsin National Guard
Approximately 1,100 troops from 23 states and three different nations have converged on the Wisconsin Air National Guard's Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, as well as Fort McCoy, for the Air and Army National Guard's annual Patriot Exercise July 10-24.

The goal of the exercise is for coalition nations and National Guard units to enhance their domestic and combat defense capabilities in real-world training scenarios while working in a joint environment that is not normally available at their home station.

"The Wisconsin National Guard is proud to be able to host the Patriot exercise which creates an environment where Soldiers and Airmen can develop their skills and expand on their ability to operate in a joint environment with military and domestic emergency responders," said Brig. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin. "Volk Field is a crown jewel among National Guard training centers, providing real-world scenarios for service members as well as civilian responders to practice emergency response plans for domestic operations."

This year, Wisconsin National Guard troops completed their portion of Patriot with a two-day large-scale all-hazard response domestic operations scenario supporting civilian counterparts at Volk Field July 14-15.

The training scenario involved a collision between a school bus and a freight train transporting multiple hazards, causing a derailment. Participants benefitted from rail and cargo simulators, damaged structures, mannequins, and live fires and explosions. To add a sense of urgency, adult and children volunteers acted as victims.

"Volk Field and Fort McCoy have the facilities and ranges we need for the types of scenarios we conduct and it's centrally located in the country for participating units," said Air Force Lt. Col. George Gosting, the director for this year's exercise. Gosting also said troops have indicated they feel the training has been realistic and has enhanced their preparation to provide domestic support.

Volk Field is one of only four Air National Guard Combat Readiness Training Centers in the nation which provides a year-round integrated training environment with state-of-the-art facilities for units to enhance their combat capabilities and readiness.