LATHAM, NY (08/14/2014)-- Soldiers and Airmen of the New York National Guard, and New York Naval Militia Sailors will take part in a Great Lakes border security exercise taking place in Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the Niagara River on Thursday and Friday.
The exercise will involve 500 participants from both American and Canadian law enforcement agencies.
The exercise scenario involves tracking down a piece of equipment stolen in Canada which contains radioactive material and could be used as a weapon.
The exercise is being led by the Monroe County Office of Emergency Management.
The New York National Guard contribution will include a team of Airmen and Soldiers from the 2nd Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support team based at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia. These 22 military personnel are specially trained and equipped to identify chemical, biological and radiological hazards.
The New York Army National Guard will also provide a UH-72 Lakota light utility helicopter to support the exercise operation. The helicopter-crewed by three Army National Guard aviators-- is specially configured for domestic response and law enforcement assistance missions and is equipped with and infrared camera system which can transmit video to a ground control station.
Finally the New York Naval Militia, New York's naval state defense force, will contribute two patrol boats and 13 Sailors. A 25-foot boat will operate from Buffalo on Lake Erie and a 34-foot boat will operate from Rochester on Lake Ontario.
The New York Naval Militia of 2,700 is comprised of Navy, Marine and Coast Guard Reserve members who also volunteer to respond to New York State missions at the direction of the governor. A small number of Naval Militia members are retired military members who volunteer with the Naval Militia.
The Naval Militia operates nine patrol boats based around New York. Known as the Military Emergency Boat Service, the patrol boats support local law enforcement and the Coast Guard.
The Monroe County Emergency Management Office organized, and Department of Homeland Security sponsored the full-scale, multi-jurisdictional exercise.
The exercise will include activities in Buffalo, Niagara, Oswego, and Rochester.
For information about the exercise contact the Coast Guard 9th District External Affairs Office at 216-902-6020.