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first_imgBy Carolina Contreras/ Diálogo July 06, 2016 Love to see the Chilean and US forces working together, sharing knowledge, and helping one another. At the invitation of the Chilean Army’s Ground Operations Command (COT), a delegation from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), South Pacific Division, visited Chile for the first time to conduct training activities based on its Urban Search and Rescue Program, which the Military deploys in emergencies and disasters. The joint operation took place within theframework of “Cycle for Sharing Experiences in Emergencies and Catastropheswith the United States Army – South/Corps of Engineers,” conducted June6th-10th in an auditorium at the Chilean Army Engineering Command (CINGE) inSantiago. “Disasters occur all over the world and it isimportant to know how to respond to these emergencies,” said Colonel EricMcFadden, USACE Deputy Commander, South Pacific Division. “This is anopportunity to exchange information regarding our organizations and take awayanything that allows us to improve our response capabilities.” Sharing experiences As part of its annual program for Education,Instruction, and Training, COT scheduled this activity with USACE to learnabout its experiences with employing emergency units in support of search andrescue during disasters, specifically in collapsed buildings. The activity wasorganized by Colonel Juan Jara Lamas, Chief of the First Planning Department,Chilean Army Ground Operations Command. The U.S. delegation was led by Col. McFadden,and included a team of three engineers with structural expertise from theSearch and Rescue (SAR) Team, who are members of the Task Forces available inthe event of a national or international emergency. Tom Niedernhofer, anengineer and the head of the SAR program, was also part of the U.S. team. The Chilean contingent included a group of 50service members from the Engineering Command, specialists from various ArmyPlanning and Execution Bureaus throughout the country, and guests from theChilean Firefighter Search and Rescue team, who comprise a Task Force for catastrophesthat occur in the Andean nation. “This was mutual cooperation between the twoArmies,” Col. Jara stated. “We held several lectures on how they operate inemergencies, which will doubtlessly be a significant contribution to our work.” The subjects taught focused on evaluating damageto buildings as a result of catastrophes; safe entry to buildings; and how toensure mobility in a disaster site, allowing for the rescue and lifesavingoperations to take place. The lessons were based on doctrine, classroomtraining programs, and standards for operations in response to a structuralcollapse. USACE members explained the work they performedin the past, such as the 1995 attack on a government building in Oklahoma City,the 2001 attack on the Twin Towers in New York City, or the assistance theyrendered after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Using these cases as illustration,they explained how the Military units are organized, how work is coordinatedwith civilian corps of engineers, how the warning processes are employed,planning, and how all teams are integrated to assist in emergency and disastersituations. “It was especially interesting to learn aboutthe U.S. Army’s experiences to train our military teams for emergency events,”Col. Jaras explained. Floods and earthquakes Personnel from the Chilean Army GroundOperations Command and the Corps of Engineers spoke about their work duringvarious national emergencies and catastrophes, such as floods and earthquakes.Master Sergeant José Gatica, a specialist in heavy machinery from the ChileanArmy’s Horizontal Engineering Company, discussed his experiences during the2010 earthquake in Haiti. The exchange activities also included a field tripto the Chilean National Firefighters Academy, located 50 kilometers fromSantiago. At the Academy, USACE personnel demonstrated the equipment they useto analyze collapsed structures and their work methods, while Chilean Army SARunits demonstrated their work in search and rescue. “Though both Armies have similar capabilities inseveral respects, we approach the situations differently. The point is to beable to learn so as to respond better to disasters,” Col. McFadden said. The United States Army Corps of Engineersconsists of active-duty Military combat engineers and a corps of civilianengineers. USACE has 32,000 professionals throughout the United States who havebeen trained to respond to emergencies and disasters. At the end of the lecture cycle, both countries’delegations exchanged formal gifts and ceremonial salutes. “It was an interesting experienceprofessionally, but also interesting because it reinforced the bonds of friendshipand camaraderie between the two Armies,” Col. McFadden stated.last_img read more