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NEWS | July 24, 2019

Pa. Guard participates in Delaware domestic disaster drill

By Lt. Col. Angela King-Sweigart Pennsylvania National Guard

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Forty Soldiers and Airmen assigned to various units in the Pennsylvania National Guard participated this month in the Delaware National Guard's Operation Highball, a domestic disaster preparedness drill.

The Pennsylvania Guard members assisted with the coordinated response to the event, a train wreck caused by a cyber-attack.

"Exercises like these are important," said Maj. Erik Leeds, a Pennsylvania National Guard homeland response force regional planner who participated in the event. "They better prepare Pennsylvania Guard members for possible events here, as well as improving our coordination with neighboring states in the event of a disaster."

Several Pennsylvania Guard domestic operations leaders traveled to the event to enhance coordination including Brig. Gen. David Wood, Pennsylvania National Guard director of the joint staff and Col. Frank Montgomery, Pennsylvania Guard director of domestic operations (J3).

The Pennsylvania Guard is one of the most deployed National Guards in the nation and headquartered at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. In addition to its federal mission, the Pennsylvania National Guard responds to domestic emergencies, working with its state agency the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, U.S. Northern Command and dozens of federal, state and local agencies. The Pennsylvania National Guard maintains a joint operations center at Fort Indiantown Gap staffed by Pennsylvania Guard members 24/7 that support its domestic mission.

More than 300 people participated in the exercise including members of the Delaware National Guard, Virginia National Guard and Pennsylvania National Guard. All are part of FEMA Region III.