Story by: Capt. Maria Mengrone
Posted: May 21, 2015
DENTON, Texas – Texas Army National Guard Soldiers on state active duty conducted critical water rescue training with first responders from Texas Task Force 1 in response to recent floods in the North Texas region, May 16, 2015.
“We want to practice utilizing inflatable rescue boats during the day, under controlled conditions, so that our National Guard counterparts can implement the necessary safety measures when we are called to go out,” said Jeff Novak, Battalion Chief and Water Group Manager, Texas Task Force 1.
The training consisted of guardsmen loading Texas Task Force 1 inflatable boats onto the light medium tactical vehicles and backing the vehicles into high water to launch the boats.
“My soldiers have never backed an LMTV into flood water and I could see their confidence build as they saw the full capabilities of our equipment,” said Sgt. Matthew T. Wallace, squad leader, 236th Engineer Company, 111th Engineer Battalion, 176th Engineer Brigade.
“Having this preparation time is rare; we are running these evolutions and building a relationship with these soldiers. We’re going to respond together if we are called to move out,” said Ralph Diamond, Captain and Water Squad Leader, Texas Task Force 1. “We see how powerful working together can be and together improve the level of service to the state.”
Guardsmen took turns on the inflatable boats to simulate rescuing a potential flood victim. In addition, the guards’ use of high profile vehicles, such as the LMTV, is a unique asset to Texas Task Force 1.
“They give us capabilities we do not have,” said Novak. “We are able to be more effective using these high profile vehicles; we can do more, and respond more quickly.”
Guardsmen and Texas Task Force 1 first responders have been on stand by across the state, to respond to inclement weather and anticipated flooding, May 10-21, 2015. They are scheduled to remain on standby through the weekend, May 22-25, to respond to anticipated storms moving through Texas.
The Texas Military Forces is made up of the Army and Air National Guard and the Texas State Guard who work for the Governor of Texas during domestic operations. The Texas Military Forces partners with local, state and federal agencies when called upon to support domestic operations and often partners with Texas Task Force 1. Texas Task Force 1 is comprised of various first-responder agencies from the State of Texas who provide search and rescue during domestic operations. Texas Task Force 1 is the most active urban search and rescue team in the country. Both teams are trained and skilled in responding to man-made and natural disasters.