Va. Guard and VDF assist with sheltering exercise

Members of the Virginia Defense Force and Virginia National Guard Airmen from the 192nd Supply Chain Management Squadron from Joint Base Langley Eustis support a state sheltering exercise May 22, 2013, at Christopher Newport University in Newport News. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Members of the Virginia Defense Force and Virginia National Guard Airmen from the 192nd Supply Chain Management Squadron from Joint Base Langley Eustis support a state sheltering exercise May 22, 2013, at Christopher Newport University in Newport News. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force support a state sheltering exercise May 22, 2013, at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington and at Christopher Newport University in Newport News. As part of the state-wide sheltering plan, Guard and VDF personnel augment security and assist with shelter management.

The public shelters were opened as part of a three-day disaster exercise that simulated a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in central Virginia and involved state and local emergency response personnel from ten state agencies, three universities, two hospitals and the counties of Augusta, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Halifax/South Boston, Harrisonburg, Lunenburg, Nelson, Orange, Montgomery, Pulaski and Rockingham. The exercise tested coordination and communication between state and local officials, hospitals, universities and members of the private sector.

Actors at each location portrayed earthquake survivors. In addition, a pet shelter was opened in Rockingham County using actors and pets.

“For each member of the Guard, it’s important to give back to the community, especially for the Air Guard since this is so close,” said Senior Master Sgt. George W. Edwards from the 192nd Supply Chain Management Squadron. “It gives us an opportunity to show our skills.”

Edwards also said that working with the Virginia State Police and communicating with them was been the key to this exercise. The Airmen partnered with the Virginia State Police to monitor different areas and secure the building, and they plan to take the knowledge gained from the training back to their unit and train other people to take part in the mission.

“This is a great experience to take part in our state mission,” said Master Sgt. April Denise Lee of 192nd Supply Chain Management Squadron. “It’s great to work with the Virginia State Police and it’s an opportunity for us to be prepared. It’s definitely preparing us for how to perform in that situation, and we’re going to try to make it as smooth as possible.”