Maryland National Guard Trains in Ocean City - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland National Guard Trains in Ocean City

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OCEAN CITY, Md. – It may be a mock influenza pandemic but the need for the Maryland Army National Guard to be prepared is very real. On Friday, men and women suited up and executed a training mission at the U.S. Coast Guard facility in Ocean City.

Staff Sgt. Amber Insley was the platoon sergeant in the exercise and has served for a little more than ten years, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. She says, in it's own right, the work she does with the National Guard is equally as important. “This is our home,” Insley says, “these are our friends and family, so we want to be able to protect them when they need it.”

Friday's mission simulated an influenza pandemic. The guard's mission was to offer support at the quarantine site. Soldiers arrived on the scene in a Blackhawk helicopter and were immediately thrown into action.

Over the course of several hours, the Quick Reaction Force comprised of two squads was tasked with a number of scenarios. An Improvised Explosive Device blew up a car and injured the driver. A crowd of protestors, unhappy with their quarantine, turned violent. When backup arrived the soldiers worked to de-escalate the angry mob. During which time, a soldier was stabbed in the neck with a knife. The soldier had to be treated on scene and then airlifted away with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Unit Commander Kurt Rauschenberg says Friday's exercise, like many of the practice missions, give separate agencies the opportunity to work together; that inter-agency work is extremely important, he says.

Friday's training exercise ended when vaccinations arrived for the group being quarantined.

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