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CRW adds new UTC to increase CBRN readiness

Airmen to the 821st Contingency Response Group respond to a chemical attack scenario during Exercise Turbo Distribution at Cecil Airport, Fla., Feb. 20, 2019. The 621st Contingency Response Wing added an emergency management unit type code consisting of 12 emergency managers, after Air Mobility Command observed an increased need for emergency management capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Luther Mitchell Jr.)

Airmen to the 821st Contingency Response Group respond to a chemical attack scenario during Exercise Turbo Distribution at Cecil Airport, Fla., Feb. 20, 2019. The 621st Contingency Response Wing added an emergency management unit type code consisting of 12 emergency managers, after Air Mobility Command observed an increased need for emergency management capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Luther Mitchell Jr.)

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --

When disaster strikes, whether natural like a tornado or manufactured like a chemical attack, it's nice to know there are people trained to respond.

Good news! Air Mobility Command recently added emergency management capabilities to the 621st Contingency Response Wing.

The change comes after an increased need for an EM unit within the CRW emerged. As a result, AMC held multiple meetings, teleconferences, and exercises to understand the problem and address the condition as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The solution was to create a new unit type code consisting of 12 emergency managers. A UTC is a specific capability assigned a five-digit code used in planning military operations. There are currently eight EMs assigned to the CRW: four on the East Coast at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and four on the West Coast at Travis Air Force Base, California.

This new capability bolsters Devil Raiders’ ability to respond to humanitarian aid and disaster relief events anytime, anywhere.

Emergency managers began developing, training, and teaching CRW Airmen shortly after they arrived in the summer of 2020.  They tackled starting a unit from the ground up, determining equipment needs, and prioritizing them for CR missions.

"The Air Force has been pushing the 'Accelerate Change' motto, and we have a blank slate to do exactly that," said Senior Airman Chad Kotce, 921st Contingency Response Squadron emergency manager. "Hopefully, emergency managers in the CR become the template of how light, lean and agile our capability can truly be."

EM Airmen have participated in exercises at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Louisiana, as well as the large-scale Exercise Turbo Distribution. Additionally, they supported Exercise Turbo Distribution 21-3 this month at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

"Being able to join in on these exercises as one team gives us the opportunity to collaborate and identify EM considerations specific to the CR as we refine our processes with this new UTC," said Master Sgt. Maria Brown, 321st CRS emergency manager. "Some of us have even participated in building the scenarios and injects for the exercises to provide subject matter expertise."

Emergency managers provide chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear detection, identification, reconnaissance and decontamination capabilities for a contingency response force consisting of up to 150 personnel for 60 days.

They advise commanders on the proper procedures to implement when events or the intelligence dictates increased CBRN defensive measures.

"Whether it's a hurricane in Puerto Rico, winter freeze in Texas, attack in the Middle East, or any other emergency worldwide, EM will now be there!" said Tech Sgt. Joseph Jordan, 921st CRS emergency manager.