Nothing was usual about the National Guard/MARS meeting in Cheyenne on September 14. It all started far away with an Army MARS presentation to the National Guard Bureau by Army MARS Operations Officer David McGinnis and Program Manager Paul English in Little Rock. This created the spark that caused the C.O. of the 115th Fires Brigade Wyoming Army National Guard to ask the Army MARS Region 8 Director, Steve Carver, and through him CO/WY Army MARS members for some help. The long term intent of the N.G. units was mastery of ALE and effective use of digital signals on HF between brigade elements.
The MARS help came in the form of a six hour class on HF properties, NVIS, frequencies, antennas, and propagation by Army MARS Member Emit Hurdelbrink and Army MARS CO/WY State Director Steve Schroder. The practical exercises included deployment of the RF-1944 antenna and operation with a PRC-150c portable radio as initial contact was made with Army MARS Members in Pueblo, Colorado. Each individual practiced entering a scratchpad frequency and making a radio call. This small but successful event could well herald a long and fruitful future of National Guard/ MARS cooperation.
Meanwhile, the rain totals continued to accumulate in Colorado as the full scope of the flood damage was becoming frighteningly clear. The class ended with Steve Schroder racing south to Colorado, but continuing to talk to N.G. members on his mobile radio as the last three participants practiced making their radio calls.
Figure 2 Emit Hurdelbrink, right, with members of the 115th Fires Brigade Wyoming Army National Guard
Emit went to the Colorado State E.O.C. where he was greatly needed, and Steve was deployed for the next eight days at the ICP in Evans , Colorado. When the event was planned, no one could have guessed that an emergency training class and exercise would end in such an unusual and intense full blown emergency deployment. On the other hand, what could be more appropriate than putting emergency training into practice?
Robert D. Barclay, Region 8 PAO