Michigan National Guard
Story by Senior Airman Tristan Viglianco
LANSING, Mich. -- The Michigan National Guard will be participating in a state-wide collaborative emergency response and domestic operations exercise known as Rising Waters 2021/Northern Exposure 21, March 15-19.
The exercise is being coordinated by the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division and supported by MING. It will take place in multiple locations in Isabella and Kent counties. Participants for this year's event include the 51st Civil Support Team, components of the MING Ready Response Force, Isabella and Kent County first responders and emergency management, and the Michigan State Police.
“When responding to real-world emergencies we work closely with and in support of our civilian partners,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mark Gorzynski, director, domestic operations for the Michigan National Guard. “Working with them during exercises like Rising Waters/Northern Exposure allows us to better understand each other's capabilities and coordinate our response more efficiently."
The parties contributing to the exercise are not strangers as many of the entities participating have been working together throughout the past year responding to the pandemic, flooding and civil unrest across Michigan. The training opportunity amplifies coordination and response capabilities for threats that the participants may not have experienced during recent world events and allows them to refine processes and procedures not practiced previously.
Northern Exposure is designed to provide rigorous and realistic training to prepare Michigan National Guard units to integrate with civilian partners and respond to catastrophic events. This year’s training event will be catastrophic flooding leading to chemical contamination.
“We are going to be simulating our response to a once in a lifetime flood across the state,” said Gorzynski. “For the exercise we will quickly mobilize our capabilities, coordinate with our civilian partners, and address any issues caused by the flooding, which includes a potential HAZMAT incident.”
The Isabella County portion of the exercise will take place March 16 in Mt. Pleasant at the Mount Pleasant Municipal Airport and Green’s Towing and Recovery. The Kent County portion of the exercise will take place March 18 in Wyoming at the Grand Valley Armory.
“One of the Michigan National Guard’s jobs is responding to emergency situations in the State,” said Gorzynski. “Training and preparation will ensure we are ready to respond efficiently and effectively to real-world emergencies.”