August 4, 2008

By the Ohio National Guard Public Affairs Office

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio National Guard’s Joint Task Force 73 will conduct a Fully Operational Capability exercise, Aug. 11-15, at Owens Community College’s Center for Emergency Preparedness in Perrysburg Township to test its ability to support local and state civilian authorities during a Homeland Defense/Homeland Security event.

This FOC exercise is based on a scenario of a natural disaster striking the Toledo area. It will test the task force’s ability to command and control its units and their ability to alert, assemble, deploy and operate in support of civil authorities, such as incident commanders and the Ohio State Emergency Management Agency.

The exercise will involve more than 300 Ohio National Guard personnel as well as local first responders and role players. Units participating in the exercise are based in Columbus, Kettering, Middletown, Chillicothe and Toledo.

“This exercise ensures the Ohio National Guard is prepared to deploy ready units to accomplish federal, state and community missions and, in conjunction with other local, state, and federal agencies, facilitate a seamless, effective response to any incident,” said Maj. Gen Greg Wayt, Ohio’s adjutant general.

The Ohio National Guard has available a number of units capable of providing equipment and personnel in the event of an emergency, including the Joint Task Force 73, which comprises several Ohio Army and Air Guard personnel from across the state, including the 52d Civil Support Team, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package, and National Guard Reaction Force/Quick Reaction Force within its task organization. These units are ready to deploy on a moment’s notice with specialized Homeland Defense/Homeland Security capabilities in terms of communications, CBRNE response and security.

“The JTF73 as a headquarters provides the citizens of Ohio with an all-hazard military response,” said the task force commander Brig. Gen Jack Lee. “Establishing and demonstrating Full Operational Capability assures our adjutant general that we have the baseline skills to effectively manage our units in an emergency. It is all about preparedness and our mission is to be prepared for a no-notice, any-time, any-where response.”

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