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Coast Guard Tests Emergency Communications Between Savannah and Statesboro

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Note:  In addition to those who scan federal/military communications, this post may also be of interest to amateur radio operators interested in emergency communications.

Savannah – Yesterday a friend called my attention to a Coast Guard news release (see below) announcing a communications exercise scheduled for 1015 – 1100 today that would test emergency communications between the Savannah River area and the Statesboro Federal Courthouse. The objective was to see if the Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers would be able to communicate using their radio system between the Savannah River area where they operate and Statesboro, where a potential command and control facility might be located in the case of a disaster. I heard Coast Guard helicopter 6562 (MH-65D, Savannah), CG3 (portable/mobile station at the Corps of Engineers dock), and STATESBORO UNIFIED COMMAND (Statesboro Federal Courthouse) on Marine VHF Ch. 21 (157.050 MHz).  The concept seemed to be proven because at various distances and altitudes, 6562 could hear both CG3 on the river and UNIFIED COMMAND in Statesboro; if it would have been a disaster operation, 6562 would have been able to relay traffic between the two.  Additionally, the exercise was coordinated by stations CG1 and CG3 on the regional SEGARRN TRS using the NIMS Reserve A talkgroup (TG 2389).

COAST GUARD, ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS TO CONDUCT PREPAREDNESS EXERCISE

SAVANNAH, Ga. — The Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers are scheduled to conduct an emergency preparedness exercise Thursday on the Savannah River in Savannah.

The exercise is scheduled to last from 10:15 a.m. until 11 a.m.

The purpose of the exercise is to ensure that Coast Guard aviation and Corps of Engineers water assets can communicate in order to coordinate search and rescue missions and vital Savannah River navigation channel survey operations during a crisis or emergency, such as immediately after a hurricane. Communications to the aircraft and water vessels will be tested from the Statesboro Federal Courthouse, a potential command and control site that could be used for continuity of operations, in the event a disaster renders the primary site in Savannah inoperable.

The exercise is scheduled to occur on the Savannah River across from the Hyatt Hotel in the historic district.

Coordinating and rehearsing joint operations between the Army Corps and the Coast Guard ensures faster response capabilities than would normally be possible if the agencies were not working together like this during a crisis. The exercise will allow testing of the range and capabilities of Corps and Coast Guard communications between a remote operating command post, air to ground, and air to vessel assets. It will allow both agencies to identify any obstacles or concerns in a controlled environment enabling a better prepared response in a real crisis.

For more information about the Army Corps of Engineers’ role, contact Russell Wickie, Public Affairs Chief at 912-652-5777 or Billy Birdwell at 912-677-6039.

For more information about the Coast Guard’s role, contact the Coast Guard 7th District Public Affairs Detachment Jacksonville at 305-318-1864.


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