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Preparing for the Worst: Keesler AFB, Miss., is acting as the primary aerial hub for Ultimate Cadeuceus, this week's national-level interagency disaster response exercise spanning several states. Keesler will act as the collection point for mock casualties from a simulated 7.7-magnitude earthquake northwest of Memphis, Tenn., that results in nearly 1,200 critical injuries. From Keesler, participating Coast Guard and civilian medical helicopters will evacuate these mock patients. "The exercise is designed to build upon lessons learned from prior events," said Robert Tash, Keesler's emergency management coordinator. "Keesler will activate the National Disaster Medical System Federal Coordinating Center and a patient reception area," routing patients to participating hospitals in the area, Tash added. Exercise participants include those from several FEMA regions and the eight states of the central US Earthquake Consortium: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. (Keesler report by Steve Pivnick)