Navy, Gov Guam hold Joint Exercise
SANTA RITA, Guam (March 10, 2017) – The U.S. Navy and Government of Guam successfully completed a joint exercise that tested agencies’ casualty response involving a Navy shipment of hazardous material (HAZMAT) at U.S. Naval Base Guam March 7.
Navy leadership and personnel from Commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 15 and the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) teamed up with multiple Guam government organizations, including the Guam Department of Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense; Guam Environmental Protection Agency; Guam Fire Department, Guam Police Department; and the Guam Army National Guard 94th Support Team to conduct the exercise.
“(This) was an opportunity to exercise interoperability among stakeholders through collaborative activities and effective communication,” said Office of Civil Defense Administrator Charles Esteves. “Having the ability to train with military counterparts increases our ability to respond to and recover from any and all types of emergencies.”
The exercise was held on Polaris Point, but the accident was simulated to have occurred on a public highway.
“This joint exercise not only helped enhance our procedures but also reinforced the positive, mutually-beneficial relationship between the Navy and Government of Guam,” said Capt. Douglas Bradley, Emory S. Land commanding officer. “It was a great training evolution all around.”
The drill allowed the U.S. Navy and Guam Fire Department HAZMAT teams the opportunity to work together and streamline procedures demonstrating the Navy’s continuing program to collaborate with civil authorities and emergency management personnel in areas where Navy nuclear-powered warships are homeported and to validate current processes and procedures for joint notifications and response.
The Guam Fire Department Agat Station officially created a HAZMAT response team in 2012.
“Joint exercises like this allow participants to demonstrate their capabilities and improve teamwork,” said Capt. David Schappert, COMSUBRON-15. “While the probability of this accident is very small, the process of practicing to handle this event should give us all confidence.”
The Government of Guam routinely participates in the Navy’s casualty response drills. The U.S. Navy has conducted six exercises of this type with Government of Guam agencies since 2002.
“Exercises such as this, open discussions about what areas run smoothly and what areas can be improved to prepare to respond to emergencies in real-world situations,” said Guam Homeland Security Advisor Brant McCreadie.
For more information, contact the Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs Office at (671) 349-4055/3209.