133rd Airlift Wing Participates in Vigilant Guard 2015

  • Published
  • By Capt. Winnie Tan and Tech. Sgt. Lynette Olivares
  • 133rd AW Public Affairs
The National Guard is a unique branch of service because of the strength of its members.  Often these 'citizen soldiers and airmen' are already civilian emergency management services personnel, firefighters and policemen.  They raise their right hand and commit even more time and weekends away from family and friends to serve and protect the people in their community and state. 

One of the many reasons training is so vital to the success of real-world operations is learning what everyone else on base does in emergency situations. Vigilant Guard is a United States Northern Command and National Guard Bureau sponsored exercise program. Exercises are held in a different state each year. In 2015, Minnesota had the opportunity to host and put their inter-service and inter-agency skills to the test.

"One of the main objectives of this exercise is to test and show the capabilities available between services - both civilian and military," said Maj. Stacey Meiser, Lead Exercise Planner at the 133rd Airlift Wing during Vigilant Guard 2015. "Having practiced how to integrate with the Army will improve our effectiveness if we ever have to use these capabilities for a real world scenario."

The exercise had more than 450 airmen involved during the five-day exercise.  They were training on medical procedures, airlift, maintenance, security, processing, decontamination, and more. 

"I think our members did a great job during the exercise," said Col. Loren Hubert, 133rd Airlift Wing vice commander. "I am impressed at their flexibility, resilience and positive attitude during the long days this week. We have displayed among the top amount of air component involvement in the history of the Vigilant Guard Exercises."

The exercise involved civilian emergency management personnel, Wisc., Mich. and Minn. National Guardsmen, all of whom were spread across the state. Members managed resources, integrated operations across services and completed normal annual training requirements. In a subset of the exercise, members of the 133rd were required to don Mission Orientation Protective Postures during the hot and humid day and demonstrate proficiency in performing their specialized skills.

"It was nice that we were able to play in the exercise as well as get some real world requirements completed." said Meiser.  "We have a lot to learn, but the troops did a great job and this exercise was a great step in refreshing our processes for working with other services and agencies."