Illinois National Guard completes major earthquake exercise Published June 19, 2014 By Maj. Laura Fogerty 183rd Fighter Wing ABRAHAM LINCOLN CAPITAL AIRPORT, Springfield IL -- The Illinois National Guard conducted the first phase of a two part exercise designed to prepare elements of Joint Task Force Illinois (JTF-IL) to rapidly respond to a major earthquake in southern Illinois. The exercise simulated a 7.2 earthquake, with significant aftershocks, along the New Madrid and Wabash fault zones. The event took place at JTF-IL's training operations center, based at the 183rd Air Operations Group in Springfield. The National Guard has a standing mission to provide support to civil authorities during natural disasters. JTF-IL provides command and control of military capabilities in support of civil authorities during a complex catastrophe, such as an earthquake. "We measure our success in this mission by supporting local, state and federal civilian leadership with capabilities that can anticipate and mitigate the effects of complex disasters. It's ultimately about saving lives and property," said Colonel Rick Yoder, commander of JTF-IL. Approximately 140 Army and Air National Guard members participated in the week-long exercise called Prairie Quake I. Representatives from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and advisors from U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) also participated in the exercise. "We brought in a number of experts to advise us as we executed this mission. This kind of training is critical to our success in bringing rapid relief to the citizens of Illinois should a crisis of this magnitude occur in the future" said Yoder. The task force will enter the second phase of training in June.