A military training exercise recently prepared troops to aid in the aftermath of potential hypersonic missile attacks on U.S. cities.
Hundreds of military members and emergency workers gathered in Philadelphia last week to simulate the aftermath of a simultaneous hypersonic missile strike on Philadelphia, New York City and Chicago, according to the Army Times. The Dense Urban Terrain (DUT) exercise imagines a hypothetical scenario the military calls “America’s worst day.” Emergency workers and soldiers aided at least 150 role players sporting fake wounds and acting out potential symptoms from an unknown chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attack.
The DUT exercise was led by Army National Guard’s Task Force 46, which mainly includes soldiers from the Michigan National Guard. Over 600 additional personnel from federal, state, local, academic and private partners took part in the three-day exercise, according to the Guard.
“This is an opportunity to train firsthand with some of the best first responders in the world who do this day in and day out,”Army National Guard Colonel Chris McKinney, Task Force 46 chief of staff, told Army Times.
Task Force 46 was formed in 2013 and has been orchestrating the annual DUT exercises since 2018, with some recent iterations including training related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous exercises focused on simulated CBRN attacks have taken place in Detroit, Michigan, New York City and Indiana.
“We’ve actually done this mission in several different locations but specifically in Philadelphia we’re learning to work in the different environments across the country,” Army Sergeant Whitney Smart, a non-commissioned officer in charge of medical monitoring during the exercise, said in a video from the Michigan National Guard.
“The terrain gets very different so it’s important that we train and are prepared for all kinds of terrain,” she added. “Philadelphia definitely gives us a challenge when it comes to working in a limited space.”
In addition to running through scenarios that included rescuing role players trapped in collapsed buildings or subways following hypersonic missile attacks, troops and emergency workers used detection and decontamination gear to deal with the aftermath of a potential CBRN fallout.
“It’s great training that helps us prepare for the mission if ever something should happen,” said Army Private 1st Class Elliotte Villafan, a decontamination soldier. “Any kind of chemical, radiological or nuclear attack—we would be there to support civilian units, as in firefighters, police department. As well as also working with partnering units, as in medical. It’s great partnership across the board to help the American public.”
Newsweek has reached out to Task Force 46 for comment.