DVIDS - News - Tennessee National Guard, local authorities conduct water rescues during the Vigilant Guard exercise

The Tennessee National Guard partnered with local authorities on Thursday to conduct three simulated rescue missions in Lebanon and Smyrna. The simulated rescues were part of Vigilant Guard 2021, a week-long, statewide training exercise to simulate a natural disaster and its impact on communities across the state.

Wilson County Emergency Management Agency, Nashville Fire Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office all worked with the Tennessee National Guard to conduct the rescue missions.

National Guard members used a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter to fly the Nashville Fire Department’s Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team over Old Hickory Lake to rescue citizens stranded in the water. Williamson County EMA officials trained the guard in proper water abstraction techniques. Williamson County guardsmen and EMA members played the role of citizens lifted out of the water and lifted 60 meters into the air in a hovering helicopter.

In a separate exercise, members of the Lebanese Fire Department acted as stranded citizens and were hoisted out of danger by the Tennessee National Guard and Nashville Fire Department. The Wilson County Fairgrounds served as the disaster area. These large-scale, inter-agency exercises provided a critical opportunity to practice for real disaster in Tennessee.

“It’s great to have all of these different agencies working together,” said Captain Tommie Lane, Project Leader for Vigilant Guard 2021. “If something really happens and we need to act quickly to save lives, we will already have good relationships that will help us. “React to incidents.”

Over 600 Tennessee National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, plus 400 emergency professionals from 50 federal, state and local agencies trained side by side as they responded to multiple emergency scenarios during the 2021 Vigilant Guard.

“We work with rescue workers on site almost every day,” said Lee Bowling, Williamson County’s EMA shift commander. “The ability to incorporate the Tennessee National Guard and all that it has to offer makes us much more effective at saving lives.”

To learn more about Exercise Vigilant Guard, please visit www.tn.gov/military/news.

Recording date: 08/08/2021
Release Date: 08.08.2021 16:45
Story ID: 402575
Location: LEBANON, TN, USA
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