Black Hills provides backdrop for regional National Guard training exercise

RAPID CITY, S.D. — South Dakota’s National Guard partnered up with local emergency management teams and regional National Guard units for a large-scale exercise this week.

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Members of the National Guard don nuclear/biological/and chemical suits for their exercise (photo date: April 27, 2022)

South Dakota’s 82nd Civil Support Team is joined by units from Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, and North Dakota for the “Rushmore Roundup” exercise.

On Wednesday, teams from Idaho and Nebraska set up along Badger Creek at Custer State Park. The units trained in a chemical, biological, and radiological warfare exercise donning full suits and conducting a sweep of a staged building.

The training keeps units ready to respond in any sort of attack.

“To have a team in each state to call to respond, I think is something that’s invaluable,” says Erica Bermensolo, a medical operations officer with the Idaho Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team. “I mean, you want to have that safety net there.”

Between entering buildings and conducting survey sweeps, the National Guard also practiced with their decontamination and triage sets. Multiple incidents over the two-day training helped prepare for a number of different possible scenarios.

“Really for us to train there was a recreational drug, there was a biological agent, there was a nerve agent, a radiological attack…so it really stresses us to show how equipped and how responsive we can be as a team,” Bermensolo adds.

Other agencies, including the FBI, South Dakota Emergency Management, and Rapid City Fire Department all participated in the training, helping to build relationships locally and regionally.

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Military, Local News, South Dakota News