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Area National Guard prepares for disaster to strike

Ellen Abbott
The National Guard's 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team deployed Thursday for exercises in New Jersey.

Syracuse-area National Guard Reserves are preparing for the worst this week.  Troops are in New Jersey, taking part in drills that mimic manmade and natural disasters.

The full-scale disaster exercise means 180 soldiers with the National Guard’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Syracuse boarded a military convoy Thursday to head south to take part in the exercises. They joined guard members from across New York and New Jersey.

For Julia Davidson of Bridgeport, who’s been in the guard for three years, it’s the first time she’s taken part in training for what’s known as HERF, or the National Homeland Response Force. These are the people called out during a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident.  

During the exercise, the Syracuse contingent will learn how to handle the back end of the disaster.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

“Our section is mostly focusing on tracking personnel, making sure everyone where’s they need to be when they need to be there, safety, and to make sure if there are any emergencies medical-wise, making sure they’ re taken care of properly,” said Davidson.

The Syracuse team will be directing an organization of up to 1,500 personnel with specialized training. This team also would respond to any natural disasters, such as hurricanes or blizzards that take place in New York, New Jersey, the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico.