Air Force

August 10, 2012

PJs train for overseas operations

Tags:
Airman 1st Class Michael Washburn
355th Fighter Wing Public Affair
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Michael Washburn)
HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters filled with para-rescuemen begin their landing during a com-bat search and rescue training mission on July 25 at Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field, Ariz.

From the Craycroft gate on D-M, it’s approximately 138 miles to our destination at Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field for the July 25 combat search and rescue training mission for pararescuemen from multiple rescue squadrons and rescue groups on D-M.

As we arrive at Gila Bend and take the dirt road to our final destination, we’re forced to stop. Up ahead in the distance, aircraft are practicing bombing runs. We sit and watch the dirt-filled mushroom clouds and wait for the explosions and the trembling shockwave that follows shortly after. We’re finally given the green light to continue on.

The training mission calls for an aircraft to be shot down. Two survivors need to be evacuated from hostile territory. To make matters worse, they both have injuries. One survivor has an injured elbow, while the other has a broken ankle and femur.

Opposing forces were also present during the scenario to add another layer of realism.

“These missions, which are held monthly, are as accurate as we can get to the missions performed overseas,” said Staff Sgt. Andy Pena, 563rd Operational Support Squadron aerial gunner. “Of course, there are going to be limitations to what we can do. We have to adhere to things like range time and air space. But overall, they’re very true to life.”

 

U.S. Air Force pararescuemen work diligently as they tend to the simulated injuries of the two survivors during a combat search and rescue training mission on July 25 at Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field, Ariz.

 
When it comes to rescuing military members from combat zones, minutes and seconds can mean the difference between life and death. Pararescuemen need to be in the air as quickly as possible.

“For personnel recovery, we can be out the door and ready to go in seven minutes,” said Capt. John Sutter*, combat rescue officer. “For something like the retrieval of equipment, we can take more time and plan things out better.”

During a rescue mission, anything can happen. If PJs get into a firefight and are running low on ammunition, they’re going to need to get more in a hurry.

“To help us with our missions, we can use premade packs that can have everything from medical supplies to ammunition,” Sutter* said. “Each one has a designator from alpha to echo, and we can call them in when we’re on an operation if the need arises. These options are great because you can never plan a mission to 100 percent.”

When we reached our final destination, we split into two groups, the OPFOR formed one group; while the survivors, an independent duty medical technician, and a survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist who were tasked with evaluating the pararescuemen are in another.

While the group of survivors scouts out an adequate spot for the extraction, the OPFOR ready their blank-filled M4s and visiting Air Force Academy cadets get rubber dummy M4s and a rubber rocket propelled grenade launcher.

We break off into our respective groups and sat and sit and wait.

After a little while, one of the satellite phones we have beeps to life. We received a new message asking about the number of OPFOR and the weapons they have. One of the survivors sends a reply and the radio goes silent.

The distant thump from the HH-60 Pave Hawk rotor blades breaks the stillness. Two helicopters appear from behind the mountains. As they fly closer, the SERE specialist deploys a smoke canister, signaling the PJs onboard of the survivor’s position.

Before landing, the Pave Hawks fly overhead in an oval shape pattern. They’re scanning for targets. In this pattern, they can continuously fire on incoming threats. An enemy vehicle is spotted and dealt with swiftly.

The Pave Hawks land and the PJs rush out with their rifles raised to assess the condition of the wounded and begin medical care. As they do, they’re exposed. Three of their team-mates provide constant watch of the surroundings, ready to engage the opposition.

With the Tucson sun fading fast over Gila Bend and our allowed time on the range quickly coming to a close, the PJs load the injured onto the helicopters and extract them to safety.

Although it was a successful mission, there was room for improvement. Tactics or procedures they could have been better with or done differently will be brought up in the debriefing. But this is why they have these training missions every month. It helps everyone become more proficient at their job, so when a real-world mission arises, it will go off without a hitch.

*Some of the names of those in-volved have been changed.

Three cadets from the Air Force Academy pose for a picture with their dummy rubber weapons during a combat search and rescue training mission on July 25 at Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field, Ariz. The cadets were part of the opposing force group.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Free Tax Services available on Davis-Monthan AFB

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance tax center opened its doors today for Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve and Public Health personnel. There are 35 volunteers at the VITA office to include 27 tax preparers with the ability to conduct 10 appointments at a time. “The volunteers here are IRS certified tax preparers,” according to Skip...
 
 

Just American: A century of Black life

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) — Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted Harvard-trained historian Carter Woodson....
 
 

Local Briefs February 27, 2015

Scholarship applications available Davis-Monthan Officer’s Spouses’ Club and the Enlisted Spouses Association are accepting scholarship applications from  Military Dependents who are: -Spouses pursuing an Undergraduate or graduate degree -Graduating High School Seniors Application packets are available at: Davis-Monthan Thrift Shop, Airman and Family Readiness Center, School Liaison Office...
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski)

D-M puts its agencies to the test

An aircraft crash training exercise was held at the Combat Arms Training and Maintenance range here Feb. 19. The simulated crash site was scattered throughout a two mile radius. “The idea was to test the base’s capabilities...
 
 

Defeating “Monster Mouth”

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski) Airman Jessika Silva-Gomez, 355th Dental Squadron dental assistant, helps a child sort out foods that are beneficial to dental hygiene during a presentation at the Finley Child Development Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Feb. 24. Personnel from the 355th DS provided examples of proper...
 
 

Why Air Force Smart Operations – or AFSO?

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – RANDOLPH, TEXAS — Confucius once said that in order for a man to move a mountain he must first begin by carrying away its small stones. Now, if one is to imagine the Air Force as that giant mountain, how does an Airman begin trying to move it? That is,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin