National guardmembers from Iowa and three other states will take part in a major training exercise later this month, and you could also be a part of the action. Iowa National Guard spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hapgood, says "Vigilant Guard 2009" is an emergency response exercise that will extend beyond the guard.
Hapgood says it will test the capabilities of a number of different Iowa agencies, including the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Polk County Emergency Management department.
"The exercise really is designed to really test our capabilities and to actually stretch them to the point where they break, so we understand the weaknesses that we need to work on and what our strengths are as well," Hapgood says.
Hapgood says much of the exercise will happen around Des Moines and guardmembers from Kansas will join those from Iowa to play a major role — while some soldiers from Nebraska and Missouri will also participate.
Hapgood there will be several different venues in the metro area of Des Moines and also in locations in rural Iowa. He says most of the details are being kept quiet to be sure the exercise is realistic. Hapgood says large scale training is a common practice. He says they generally hold such an exercise each year in different states, and this is the first time Iowa has participated. Hapgood says they are also looking for civilians to participate as actors in the exercise.
Hapgood says the defense contractor I-I-F Data Solutions which is taking applications for individuals to play roles as civilian victims. He says victims would be made up to simulate certain injuries and it is basically a part-time job for few days.
Those participating would be paid $9 an hour and meals. Contact I-I-F at www.iifdata.com, or call 571-281-1865. The exercise is scheduled for June 17th through the 20th.