Maine National Guard officer receives medal for organizing large-scale emergency drill

Posted Dec. 16, 2013, at 7:06 p.m.
Lt. Col. Diane Dunn
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Lt. Col. Diane Dunn

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine National Guard has honored a Newburgh lieutenant colonel for her work in organizing a statewide emergency and disaster simulation held in November.

Lt. Col. Diane Dunn received the Meritorious Service Medal at a conference in Orono on Dec. 14, according to a news release from the Maine National Guard. The recognition stems from her efforts to plan the recent “Vigilant Guard” exercises.

“In the largest emergency response exercise ever conducted in New England, Lt. Col. Dunn successfully brought together representatives from state, local and international emergency agencies, along with National Guard soldiers from seven states and hundreds of first responders, testing Maine’s emergency preparedness,” Maj. Michael Steinbuchel said in the release.

During the drill in early November, crews rushed to Brunswick Naval Air Station for a mock structure collapse and to the State House complex in Augusta for a simulated “intruder/potential explosive” drill.

More than 20 other drills were held statewide. One at the University of Maine in Orono had local fire crews collaborate with the Maine National Guard to respond to a mock chemical and hazardous materials threat.

“The completion of Vigilant Guard is just the beginning,” Dunn said after receiving her medal. “Now we must focus our attentions on lessons learned as a means to improving our existing emergency management plans. While I was individually recognized, the success of Vigilant Guard is due to tremendous support and direct input of so many key individuals that dedicated significant time and energy to this exercise and I am grateful for their support.”

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