NEWS | Feb. 28, 2018

Oil Spill in Valdez Prompt Response during Exercise Arctic Eagle 2018

By Capt. Joseph Siemandel Washington National Guard

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska-- While in Valdez, taking part in Exercise Arctic Eagle 2018, Guard members from the 103rd Civil Support Team, Alaska National Guard, and Washington National Guard Homeland Response Force worked with first responders after a real-life diesel fuel tanker truck crashed near a water way.

The tanker truck exited the roadway and crashed, overturning a tank, which began to spill diesel fuel. Teams were called to dig trenches and lay down chemical quick dry to keep the fuel from reaching a fresh water stream that is used for fishing. Water samples were tested and no chemical substance was detected.

"The Valdez Fire Department asked for our assistance in containing a fuel spill from a diesel tanker truck that tipped over, went off the road and ruptured a tank," said Lt. Col. Steve Wilson, assistant director of the exercise.

Guard members are in Valdez for Arctic Eagle 2018, a statewide exercise involving national, state and local agencies designed to provide opportunities for 1,100 participants to conduct sustained operations in arctic conditions.

"We have about 250 Guardsmen in Valdez for this exercise and many of them are part of the response cell for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear response and they have the training to operate in a hazardous materials environment and the personal protection equipment to do that too," said Wilson, of Joint Forces, Alaska National Guard.

The 103rd Civil Support Team, Alaska National Guard, is a joint 22-person unit, which supports local and state authorities with incident site analysis, response measures and assists with requests for additional military support.

The Washington National Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region X, Homeland Response Force (HRF) is a regionally aligned Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, high-yield Explosive asset established to support and enhance local, state and federal emergency managers in response to natural or man-made disasters.

"We were proud to serve our neighbors here in Alaska and welcome every opportunity to engage in extending a helping hand to mitigate potential hazards and safeguard the safety of all citizens," said 1st Lt. Shawnta DiFalco, commander, 792nd Chemical Company, Washington National Guard.

Guardsmen will conduct the field training exercise portion of Arctic Eagle 2018 in Valdez today. The civil support teams and a homeland response force will demonstrate a response to a catastrophic event. These units are equipped and ready to respond to chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear threats and occurrences.

Residents of Valdez are now seeing exercise participants and events occurring throughout the city, including at the airport, "mancamp" lodging across from the airport, National Guard armory, Port of Valdez, civic center, U.S. Coast Guard Station Valdez, and the ferry terminal.

Arctic Eagle 2018 consists of scenario-based events at multiple locations throughout Alaska. The scenarios include hazardous material detection and response, security and protection of critical infrastructure, triage, domain awareness patrol, communication and transportation support.

The goals of Arctic Eagle 2018 are for participating forces to operate in a joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational environment; assess ability to conduct sustained operations in arctic conditions, and integrate new and emerging capabilities.