VOLK FIELD, Wis. – A major statewide domestic emergency exercise involving more than 2,500 personnel kicked off at Volk Field, Fort McCoy and other sites around the state this week.
The Miles Paratus exercise presented by the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs and coordinated jointly by Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Wisconsin National Guard runs June 5-9. The scenario focuses on a simulated major severe weather event that impacts a wide geographical area in Wisconsin.
In the scenario, Volk Field serves as the site of local disasters in Dane, Walworth, and Jefferson Counties, while Fort McCoy serves as the simulation site for Monroe and Jackson Counties.
More than 2,500 personnel representing federal, state and local first responder agencies across Wisconsin, and military units from the Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard, as well as Guard forces from Illinois, Minnesota, West Virginia, and Idaho are participating in Miles Paratus over the course of the five-day exercise. Personnel from Federal Emergency Management Agency Region V are involved along with volunteer organizations including the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, as are some private sector businesses who are participating through the Business Emergency Operations Center.
The exercise incorporates responses to tornadoes and severe weather, mass casualty incidents, search and rescue, fire responses, cyber attacks, civil disturbances, hazardous material releases, and chemical decontamination of victims.
The exercise aims to test interoperability between state and local first responders and military units. Training and responding together helps ensure that first responders and National Guard units are ready to serve the people of Wisconsin and the nation in times of emergency. Miles Paratus will test each agency’s ability to communicate effectively, coordinate across agencies, provide health and medical services, and conduct search and rescue operations among other skills.
In addition to the venues at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin’s State Emergency Operations Center and the Joint Operations Center, both located in Madison, as well as various county emergency operations centers around the state are participating in the exercise.
Miles Paratus also serves as an excellent opportunity to test the National Guard’s ability to fulfill its unique dual mission as the first military responder when disaster strikes here at home. The Guard is simultaneously ready to serve in its federal role as the primary combat reserve of the U.S. Army and Air Force.