Life-saving practice for soldiers at Camp Roberts

Stage is set at Camp Roberts as part of a simulated attack, complete with civilian ‘victims’

tstrickland@thetribunenews.comAugust 30, 2013 

Nearly 500 California Army and Air National Guard soldiers practiced saving people in a simulated terrorist attack on Las Vegas hotels Wednesday as part of a training exercise at Camp Roberts near San Miguel.

A private company provided actors to play civilian victims with full injury makeup, said 1st Lt. Jason Sweeney of the 49th Military Police Brigade from Fairfield.

Teams trained on a variety of skills such as search and rescue, medical care, decontamination, transportation and life support, according to a California National Guard news release.

Tents were set up with medical equipment, and the scene was made to look as real as possible, Sweeney said.

“For the guys on the ground, they were pretty busy out there all night with victims that they (took) in for medical treatment and decontamination.”

The training was organized by the California National Guard’s 49th Homeland Response Force, based in Fairfield, he said. The force includes different units; among them: the 49th Military Police Brigade from Fairfield and a medical unit from the 144th Fighter Wing (a California Air National Guard unit) from Fresno.

The force prepares to respond within 24 to 48 hours to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or large-scale explosive incidents in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific islands, officials said.

Last week at Camp Roberts, the Homeland Response Force practiced a three-day scenario involving a large-scale earthquake in the Bay Area that caused chemical and radiological leaks.

GALLERY: More photos from the training exercises »

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