On March 7, 2015, the state-wide drill, entitled Operation Vigilant Guard, took place under the pretext of preparation for the inevitable destruction a hurricane would bring to South Carolina. According to reports in the local media, the drills were based on the premise of the landfall of a Category 4 hurricane and “how they’d respond to get citizens help” in such an event.
National Guard, working with police in MRAP's, dressed in military gear, carrying assault rifles, WHY?
These drills and training operations are being used to acclimatize the public into accepting the American police state.
The National Guard describes the importance of the exercise in building “synchronization” between local and federal authorities.
“We are testing an unbelievable amount of effort and synchronization,” said Army Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Katkus, adjutant general for the Alaska National Guard. “Every one of them is a little bit different in what we’re trying to do, but it’s one driving factor – the earthquake – that affects everyone across the broad spectrum.”
By working with local first responders in a training environment, it will help strengthen those bonds should an actual large-scale disaster or emergency occur.
“It reinforces those relationships that we said, and I’ve always professed, are critical if we are going to be successful in a large-scale response,” said Katkus, adding that the exercise also reinforces the Guard’s role within the local community.
Click here, here & here to read about Vigilant Guard's riot control and detention drills.
From the Kansas National Guard's Vigilant 2014 Special Edition:
Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, Jr., commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command:
“To be able to come together and get to know each other and learn what each organization brings to the table is critical, exercises and training equals preparedness (which) equals readiness for the defense support for civil authorities.”
“I loved what I saw out here,” said Jacoby. “I saw lots of units from different places working with first responders" (police, fire & emergency personnel).
Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general, Kansas National Guard had this to say:
“We have units from Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, as well as USNORTHCOM here,” said Tafanelli. “This really works well for our local responders, as well as our state partners, to begin to work with some other states and how do we go through JRSOI or joint reception staging and onward integration.”
Click here to read about the Kansas National Guard's Vigilant 2014 Special Edition.
The South Carolina National Guard training involved, National Guard units from Georgia in addition to participants from local and state law enforcement agencies.
In the Florence area, there were at least 400 hundred military personnel involved in the exercise. All in all, however, around 2,000 military personnel participated state-wide and 5,000 participants were involved from South Carolina emergency management Divisions and county divisions of Emergency Management.
The South Carolina National Guard, along with state and county emergency management agencies, will conduct a disaster readiness exercise called Vigilant Guard beginning this weekend, part of which will include the mock in-processing of approximately 300 military and civilian personnel Saturday at McCrady Training Center in Eastover.
Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, and Integration, or JRSOI, is the process that will be utilized by the South Carolina National Guard to in-process support personnel from partner agencies during a real-world emergency.
Vigilant Guard is an eight-day field exercise held March 5-12, taking place at numerous locations across South Carolina. This exercise will test the ability of the National Guard to support response operations based on simulated emergency scenarios such as the landfall of a hurricane, a collapsed building, widespread fires and mass casualties.
The National Guard, along with local, state and federal partners will be deployed to exercise venues in Georgetown, with other sites including Moncks Corner, Spartanburg, Florence, West Columbia and Williamsburg.While this writer witnessed a portion of the drill in Florence, the application of the drill in Monck’s Corner is what is most disturbing.
In Monck’s Corner, SC National Guard personnel, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, and other state and local “emergency responders” went door to door conducting “wellness checks” on civilian homes. The sight of military personnel going door to door in civilian neighborhoods is beyond creepy to say the least.
The SCNG partnered with the S.C. State Guard, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department and other local emergency responders to conduct health and wellness checks in the Overton neighborhood. The joint task force went door-to-door checking on the local residents, assessed their needs and determined how best to meet those needs in a real response.
“In the scenario, our job today was to assist the S.C. State Guard, along with various Berkeley County emergency responders, and perform health and wellness checks for citizens who might have been affected by the storm,” said Sgt. Jeremy Argabright, Bravo Company, 1-118 Infantry. Door-to-door “wellness checks” also took place in Overton, S.C.
The portion of the drills involved a setup of 9 military tents outside of the Florence, SC airport. A number of trucks were present as well as Humvees, many of which were outfitted with machine gun turrets and machine guns. A sign reading “Region 4: HRF” was posted outside of the airport. HRF stands for Homeland Response Force and Region 4 represents the FEMA region of the area. As the convoy was preparing to leave the field site in front of the airport, a bus had been added to the mix. Many helicopters and chopper sightings were reported as well.
Numerous military vehicles were seen on the streets of Florence throughout the day.
Although both the National Guard and the media implied that the Vigilant Guard exercise was state-based, Vigilant Guard is a federally-funded exercise sponsored by US NORTHCOM that seeks to encourage and further cooperation between Federal, State, and local “emergency management” agencies and “first responders.”
This is perhaps why the same drill took place in North Carolina as well on the same day since the training is based in terms of region. In Charlotte, military personnel practiced providing security for the Water Treatment plant while other personnel drilled on “keeping the peace.”