Story by Spc. Chelsea Baker
Summer officially began June 21 and residents are already experiencing temperatures in the triple digits in the Palmetto state.
While many are seeking ways to stay cool or enjoying recreational activities, it’s also one month into hurricane season, with five months to go. South Carolina historically has experienced its strongest storms later in hurricane season, but vigilance and readiness are always paramount.
To ensure coastal areas and South Carolina National Guard units located near the coast are prepared this hurricane season, the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB), headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, conducted a rehearsal of concept (ROC) drill with multiple agencies and first responders at Hagood Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina, June 22, 2018.
“This is a rehearsal and coordination event so that should something happen, we are ready,” said Col. Robert Carruthers, Brigade Commander of the 218th MEB. “Given that we have had events in the past, we are significantly better now than we were three years ago. These ROC drills are very beneficial and we can see that during these rehearsals.”
Approximately 60 individuals attended this event to including representatives from the South Carolina Air and Army National Guard, State Guard, Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina Highway Patrol, South Carolina Emergency Management Division (EMD), SLED, and County Emergency Management personnel.
The 218th MEB’s mission in the event of a hurricane or disaster is to deploy to the Southern, Central, and Northern Conglomerates to provide personnel and equipment resources wherever they are requested by agencies. From recent events such as Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, their initial focus is to assist local law enforcement with traffic control point operations, and re-entry and recovery operations in order to save lives, alleviate suffering, mitigate property damage, and maintain public trust.
“These ROC drills have been an essential element to our planning,” said Capt. Hezzie Green, Team Liaison officer for the 218th MEB. “They allow us to test our capabilities and execute in an effective manner to help assist with our local counterparts.”
“The South Carolina National Guard is particularly good at reaching forward and understanding the needs of first responders during these events,” said Carruthers. “We are citizen Soldiers, being trained as Soldiers first and foremost, but the fact that we have civilian jobs on the outside, it actually makes us well suited to respond to a domestic event.”