Kentucky’s CERFP best in nation, shatters records during evaluation

Story and photos by Pfc. Lerone Simmons, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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Soldiers with the Kentucky National Guard Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear high – yield Explosives team(CBRNE) transport a mock casualty as part of their CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) training at Muscatatuck Urban Training Facility, North Vernon, Ind. Kentucky Guardsmen were rated the best in the nation based upon the training exercise.(Kentucky National Guard photo by Pfc. Lerone Simmons, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/Released).

MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Butlerville, Ind. – Kentucky National Guardsmen assigned to Kentucky’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Yield Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) can call themselves the nation’s best after an evaluation May 24 at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville, Ind.

“This is our culmination event and we wanted to be the best CERFP in the country,” said Lt. Col. Joseph H. Gardner, commander of the Richmond-based 103rd Chemical Battalion.

A joint-effort between Airmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing, Louisville, Ky., and Army Guardsmen from the 301st Chemical Company, Morehead Ky., 299th Chemical Company, Maysville, Ky., and 103rd Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Richmond, Ky., the CERFP is a high-speed team that must be ready to deploy within six hours of a CBRNE attack, with a mission to locate and extract victims, perform mass patient or casualty decontamination and treat and stabilize patients for evacuation.

The team was validated on its ability to perform those tasks by observer controller trainers from the Joint InterAgency Training and Education Center.

“When real-world events happen, we want them to safely and efficiently get people out,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jared Lane, Observer Controller Trainer, JITEC.

In the event of an attack on the Commonwealth – or one of the eight Southeastern states Kentucky would respond to – CERFP Soldiers and Airmen must prioritize and quickly react.

“We want them to have the skills necessary to correctly assess the situation, then safely rescue and transport all casualties,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Park, Observer Controller Trainer, JITEC.

According to Maj. Joseph Whitt, deputy commander of the CERFP, the team received a “T” rating, for trained in 16 collective tasks required to validate a CERFP mission.

“The raters said ‘we shattered all the CERFP records,’” he said.

“We had multiple best practices that the OCTs said would be taught to all CERFPs nationwide,” he said. “We beat all the records for the site set up, decontamination throughput, search operations and medical set-ups and treatment throughput.

“We are the best CERFP in the national CBRNE enterprise,” he said.

The training and validation of Kentucky’s CERFP proves that Kentucky’s Citizen Soldiers and Airmen stand always ready to support the Commonwealth.

For Spc. Jason Woodruff, litter bearer, 299th Chemical Co., said the CERFP team opened the door for joint-training with his Air Guard counterparts, something he wasn’t able to do before CERFP.

“The more training exercises like this, the better we can react,” he said.

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Maj. Pirom Srinual, Joint Collective Training branch, National Guard Bureau, Maj. Paul A. Best, J39-Combatting Weapons Of Mass Destruction, NGB and Mark Honeycutt, NGB, observe Kentucky National Guardsmen transport a casualty during a training exercise May 23 at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, Butlerville, Ind. The Guardsmen are assigned to the Kentucky Chemical Radiological Nuclear High-Yield Explosives Enhanced Response Force Package which validated its mission May 24 at MUTC. (Kentucky National Guard Photo by Pfc. Lerone Simmons, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/Released)

Kentucky’s top senior enlisted advisors said they are proud of the joint-efforts and the hard work the CERFP put into its validation. Command Sgt. Maj. David P. Munden, senior enlisted advisor Joint Forces Headquarters, said the certification is a big deal, and State Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory D. Armstrong agreed.

“This is one of Kentucky’s greatest assets that we will greatly benefit from in the years to come,” said Armstrong.