By 1st Lt. Toni Gray, USAF
ODESSA, Ukraine, Sept. 18, 2006 – Members of the California Air National Guard are participating in a disaster response exercise here with civilian and military personnel from Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova. "Rough and Ready 2006," which began Sept. 13 and continues through Sept. 21, focuses on disaster response and management following terrorist attack scenarios and the civilian emergency medical and public health response.
This joint civil-military disaster response effort is being conducted within the context of California's state partnership program with Ukraine. Nearly 30 people from California's Air National Guard and 30 California Emergency Management Services Authority civilian personnel are among the participants.
Also taking part in the exercise are about 180 Ukrainians -- mostly local responders from the Odessa area, the ministries of Emergencies, Interior and Health and the State Security Service -- and 36 representatives of the neighboring countries of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova.
The exercise scenarios include international responses to terrorist attacks on a port that houses an oil pipeline, a railway and a shopping mall.
"Many months and long hours of careful planning and coordination have gone into what will surely be one of our most successful state partnership events," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Dennis G. Lucas, California Air National Guard commander. "Rough and Ready 2006 demonstrates vitally important civil-military operational procedures, provides valuable training and strengthens our international ties even more."
The exercise is the fourth of its kind focusing on interagency cooperation, disaster preparedness, emergency response and civil emergency planning.
"Our Air National Guard members, California's EMSA representatives, and their counterparts from Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan have developed a solid working relationship over the past several years, and I am extremely proud to be associated with an international event of this caliber," Lucas concluded.