Air Force

April 18, 2013

Military and local agencies work together in joint exercise

Tags:
Major Sarah Schwennesen
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tim Chacon)
U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen, National Park Service Ranger and local fire and rescue crews participated in a mass causality exercise April 13 at the Grand Canyon, Ariz. during Angel Thunder 2013. Angel Thunder is the largest joint service, multinational, interagency combat search and rescue exercise designed to train personnel recovery assets using a variety of scenarios to simulate deployment conditions and contingencies.

Spending Saturday as victims in a simulated disaster scene at the Grand Canyon National Park was all in a day’s work for 50 U.S. Air Force personnel as part of the two-week pararescue exercise Angel Thunder 2013. On April 13, almost 200 D-M Airmen, University of Arizona ROTC cadets, Arizona State University ROTC cadets and Northern Arizona University ROTC cadets gathered in the early morning hours to be moulaged with makeup and imitation wounds to prepare them for their roles as victims. They spent the next 15 hours in four Angel Thunder exercise scenarios in which rescuers from national agencies, Arizona and New Mexico state agencies, and the Air Force would come to their aid in a Defense Support to Civil Authorities mission.

“These exercises are designed to hone the skills of our rescue assets who are called to the aid of individuals and nations in a variety of situations, all of them extremely difficult,” said Brett Hartnett, Angel Thunder Exercise Director. “From finding isolated personnel in high-altitude forests, bringing individuals back to safety from falling off the Grand Canyon cliff walls, and rescuing people who have gotten swept away in a rushing river, we used Saturday’s part of the exercise to simulate a very significant aspect of the Department of Defense in support to overwhelmed civil authorities.”

On Saturday, the National Park Service, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Arizona and New Mexico Civil Air Patrol were a few of the many agencies who requested urgent support from the Department of Defense in response to a virtual earthquake that overwhelmed the civil rescue resources.

Air Force personnel and cadets from NAU were flown to the Grand Canyon in a Colombian C-130 to pre-stage the disaster scene that greeted the rescuers.

Upon arriving two and a half hours later, the National Park Service Rangers, local fire departments, paramedics and Air Force rescue personnel discovered a vehicle fire due to a crash of two cars and a Park bus, which resulted in over 60 casualties spread over the picturesque Yaki Point and over the cliff walls of the Grand Canyon.

Meanwhile, about 75 D-M personnel and cadets from UofA and ASU were flown in three U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the 7-158 Aviation Battalion, and one CH-47 from the Singapore Air Force, to locations in the Gila Mountain Range straddling the border of Arizona and New Mexico.

“These personnel simulated a situation in which you have a disaster and you need to find those who are isolated and injured, bringing them to safety in sufficient time so that they do not perish from their wounds,” said Maj. Kenneth Knox, 355th Fighter Wing Plans and Programs and Resolute Angel exercise director. “They do not have the training to survive long in the wilderness, nor the means to call for help other than their own voices, similar to the situations we encountered in Haiti, and after Hurricane Katrina, when we were called to assist civil authorities.”

Additionally, Russ Dodge, the Chief Medic with the Arizona Department of Public Safety Rescue Department, staged a scenario in which individuals were swept away by a rushing river in the Salt River Canyon, Arizona.

“Every year, more people are killed in floods or moving water than any other natural disaster, that’s why it’s so important that rescuers are able to execute their mission as quickly and safely as possible,” he said. “That’s something that this exercise trains them to do.”

Dodge staged simulated victims, and dummies who were victims that had perished and needed to be recovered, throughout one of the most dangerous areas of the Salt River Canyon. His team conducted training with Air Force rescue personnel during the training week of Angel Thunder, this scenario was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of that training and present rescuers with an intense scene that could not be replicated in academic situations.

“Angel Thunder is always our favorite time of year,” said Clare DeLillo, UofA cadet. “It’s an awesome way to get involved in the operational side of the Air Force for a day. Plus putting the rescue guys through the ringer is always fun.”

Angel Thunder is the world’s largest and most realistic training exercise for rescue personnel and assets. This year Angel Thunder is training from off the coast of San Diego to New Mexico, a land area roughly the size of Afghanistan.

“We specifically designed this exercise to stress our units and hone their rescue skills in civil scenarios so that when they are called to assist in defense support to civil authorities they would be able to seamlessly synergize with civil rescuers,” Hartnett said. “Additionally we increased the intensity of our combat scenarios in Combat Search and Rescue missions, because this is the hardest part of what we do and in order to remain the best at what we do, we must push ourselves 110 percent when we train.”




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


 
 

 

Local Briefs April 18, 2014

NARFE Chapter 1874 to meet April 21, noon – 1 p.m. – Golden Corral Restaurant Current and retired Federal employees, spouses, guests, and visitors are invited to join NARFE Chapter 1874 at the Golden Corral Restaurant, 6865 N. Thornydale Dr.  The April meeting will be Monday, April 21. (Senior menu $7.95)  Lunch starts at 11:30...
 
 
DiamondSharp_pict

Diamond Sharp April 18, 2014

Name/Squadron: Airman 1st Class Jessica Nail / 612 AOC (CPD) First Sergeant: Master Sgt. Jamie Harwick Duty Title: ATO Production Technician When joined the AF: August 16, 2011 Hometown: Cambridge, Illinois Hobbies: Soccer, Pla...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Betty R. Chevalier)

Military child recognized by Arizona BGCA

A Sonoran Science Academy freshman was recently selected as the Boys and Girls Club of America Arizona Military Youth of the Year. David Zulli, son of Lt. Col. Daniel Zulli, 355th Fighter Wing base chaplain, competed against ot...
 

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

Grappling, pummeling, trapping: 162nd Airmen learn to ‘close with the enemy’

MARANA, Ariz. – The words on the gym wall summed it up best for 13 security forces specialists who trained at the Western Army National Guard Aviation Training Site here March 17-21. “The defining characteristic of a ...
 
 

Air Force launches new program to capture innovative ideas

WASHINGTON (AFNS) – Air Force officials announced the creation of a new program April 4, designed to harness Airmen’s innovation. Airmen Powered by Innovation, or API, will replace three existing Air Force “good idea” programs – the Innovative Development through Employee Awareness, Productivity Enhancing Capital Investment, and Best Practices programs – and expand the role o...
 
 
AFSOUTH_pict

AFSOUTH sends training team to Colombia to prepare for Exercise ANGEL THUNDER

Capts. Aaron Cavazos and David Nagle, A-10 weapons officers assigned to the 355th Fighter Wing, recently returned from their second mobile training team (MTT) event this year with the Colombian Air Force (COLAF) to prepare for ...
 




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