By ASHLEY BELTRAN
11th Aviation Comand
The 11th Aviation Command participated in one of the largest military exercises called Vibrant Response from July 30 through Aug. 7 at Camp Atterbury, Ind., which simulated a major terrorist attack in the United States.
Vibrant Response allowed Soldiers of the 11th Aviation Command to dispatch real medical evacuation helicopters, and theoretical CH-47 Chinooks to a notional “ground zero”.
“This exercise allows the Army Reserve to hone their Soldiers skills so we can provide the best trained Soldiers to react decisively to a national emergency,” said Master Sgt. Walter Detrinidad, acting battle sergeant major of the exercise for the 11th Aviation.
Detrinidad said by conducting these types of missions, Soldiers establish a stronger foundation of team-building skills, and trust Soldiers need when conducting Army missions.
Pfc. Valerie Barnes, an aviation operations specialist for the 11th Aviation, enlisted 18 months ago, and attended the training for the first time this year.
“I was really nervous when I first got here,” said Barnes. “I started out by shadowing other people in order to learn my way around until I finally got the swing of things.”
Some of the training Barnes said she received consisted of creating briefs for the tactical operation center’s day shift, as well as reading and recording the missions after the helicopters (notional and real) were dispatched.
Barnes said some of the challenges she had to overcome consisted of learning a new sleep schedule, and learning new things about her job.
“It was a good opportunity to see what I would do if something actually did happen and I really did have to do this in real-life,” said Barnes.
Barnes said she hopes she can take what she learned from her experiences at Vibrant Response, and help Soldiers who are new next year.
“(Retired Gen.) Colin Powell once said, ‘There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure’. In my opinion, this is what I believe is the legacy and the future of our 11th Aviation Command Soldiers,” said Detrinidad.