63rd Theater Aviation Brigade continues CBRNE mission

MJO

Story and photo by Maj. Ben Singleton, 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade

63rd TAB Soldiers board one of the 123rd Airlift Wing’s C-130s during an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise.

“Those who wish us harm have not gone away; the threat is real,” said Col. Aaron T. Barrier, commander of the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade.

“I believe it’s not a question of ‘if’ there will be another terrorist strike on the United States but ‘when.’”

The Kentucky Army National Guard’s 63rd TAB is now part of the answer to that threat. In March 2009, the 63rd TAB became a member of the Chemical Biological Radiological and High-Yield Explosive Consequence Management Response Force. The brigade serves as Task Force Aviation under Joint Task Force Civil Support, a U.S. Northern Command unit based at Ft. Monroe, Va.

In the event of a large-scale chemical, biological, nuclear or high-yield explosive incident, the 63rd TAB will provide command and control of aviation assets in the affected area.

“Our brigade is particularly well-suited to be a part of the response force,” Barrier said. “We are trained to work with emergency management personnel at all levels and know what has to be done and how to do it in a time of crisis. When disaster strikes, there is no better group of people you want on your team.”

The 63rd TAB has mobilized a core of Soldiers to active duty to stay ready for this new mission.  They conduct frequent training in dealing with the aftermath of the use of weapons of mass destruction as well as deployment of Soldiers and equipment to a disaster site at a moment’s notice.  The goal is to ensure that when aviation assets are needed, they are well-coordinated, effective and used at their optimal capabilities.

63rd TAB equipment is loaded onto one of the 123rd Airlift Wing’s C-130s during an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise.

“We are excited and proud to be a key part of this great country’s homeland defense,” Barrier said. “We have a wealth of experience ranging from operating in theaters of war to responding to emergencies here at home. The Guard knows how to do it all and do it well.”

Part of the mission is also training and team-building with other units and agencies within the CCMRF to ensure that if a catastrophe does occur, everything operates as smoothly as possible. The 63rd TAB also works with aviation units in Maryland, New York and North Carolina that will become part of Task Force Aviation in the event of a call-up.

As members of the Kentucky National Guard, we’ve always been ready to make sure the citizens of our state are protected and cared for when disaster strikes,” Barrier said.  “And now the 63rd TAB lends its expertise to help provide that security for the whole nation!”

Col. Aaron T. Barrier briefs Gen. Victor E. Renuart, Jr. and Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini during an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise.

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