PORT ST. JOE, Fla. - The worst of Hurricane Michael brought out the best of the Florida National Guard. The Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) unit, conducted wellness checks on the local population, as well as route clearance for roads deemed unfit for travel due to downed trees and wires in Port St. Joe, Fla., Oct. 16.
Operating solely as a National Guard asset, FL-CERFP utilized the combined skillsets comprised of Soldiers and Airmen from diverse professional backgrounds. Sgt. 1st Class Robby Creech, a noncommissioned officer from the 868th Engineer Company, serves as one of the leaders on this team.
"Having all of these different MOS [military occupation specialties] and backgrounds gives us multiple ways to accomplish our missions," said Creech. "From the complex ones, to something as simple as changing a tire, we all bring something to the table."
Possessing the unique skillset is what enables the team to overcome challenges and quickly improvise.
Soldiers and Airmen put their skills to the test by clearing roads with the help of frontloading tractors and chainsaws that cut through fallen trees. Searching every home throughout the area, they conduct wellness checks of those affected by the storm.
Prior to beginning their search missions, they send their location and courses of action to their superiors, through a series of relays.
Sgt. 1st Class Alden Morrow, noncommissioned officer-in-charge, stresses the importance of having communication abilities during an event like Hurricane Michael.
"This is the most devastating hurricane we've come across," said Morrow. "Communication is an issue due to the lack of power."
"Without electronics, you have to revert back to basic soldiering," said Morrow. "Between the combination of satellites and the Special Forces' radios, we made it happen."
In response to events like Hurricane Michael, CERFP locates and removes victims from inhospitable environments. Working in tandem with the same entities that they receive their training from creates a cohesive environment with the same goal in mind: safety of Florida's residents.