113th FSRT completes rigorous training at Fort Pickett

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Daira Jackson
  • District of Columbia Air National Guard

The Fatality Search and Recovery Team from the 113th Wing Force Support Squadron, D.C. Air National Guard completed an intensive week-long training to prepare for real-world incidents at the Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center in Blackstone, Virginia, Aug. 26 to Sept. 1, 2021.

The week included grueling 16-hour days, more than 100 hours of training, coordination with the Virginia Army National Guard, and exercise and training with the National Guard Bureau.

“I like to think we are like Liam Neeson in Taken – ‘We have a very particular set of skills,’” said Capt. Nadine Edwards, the 113th FSS/FSRT officer in charge.

The 11-person team is one of 17 uniquely trained teams to conduct fatality recovery in hazardous environments.

The 113th FSRT maintains their skills through rigorous training requirements, exercises, and qualifications such as Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosives Enhanced Response Force Package and External Evaluation.

The members of the 113th FSRT take time away from their personal lives to ensure the team is best prepared.

“We work really hard to maintain our training,” said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Zamudio, the 113th FSS/FSRT non-commissioned officer in charge. “There's a lot of training in between setting up a site and being successful.”

The mission of CERFP is to respond to CBRNE incidents and assist local, state and federal agencies in conducting consequence management by performing patient decontamination, emergency medical services and casualty search and extraction.

“What most people don’t realize about the CERFP FSRT mission is that we are an ‘always ready’ force with capabilities to activate in just six hours,” said Edwards.

The EXEVAL provides a realistic training environment which allows the 113th FSRT to train side-by-side with other CERFP teams from other units – command and control, decontamination, search and extraction, medical, and communications – to establish a seamless working dynamic that best prepares the CERFP to operate at a moment’s notice.

During the EXEVAL, the 113th FSRT’s flexibility and adaptability was evident in the hot weather and fast-moving environment where things changed hourly. Despite these circumstances, the team pressed on.

The evaluators and trainers present were impressed with the 113th FSRT team’s positive attitudes and teamwork.

Airman 1st Class Destiny Melendez, 113th FSRT Tactical Operations Center, was coined by Army Maj. Louis E. Burke, the CERFP commander, for her positive attitude, willingness to learn, and expertise in the TOC. Melendez’s job is to communicate all activities to chain-of-command and brief her teams.

The 113th FSRT is committed to remain ever-ready, ever-vigilant and always prepared for real-world activations.

“I am humbled and proud of the team, and impressed by their dedication and skill,” said Edwards.