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.


 
 

 

What to know before you go to the open house

More than 200,000 people are expected to attend the “Thunder and Lightning over Arizona” Air Show and Open House April 12 and 13. The event is open to the public and admission is free. It is two days of nonstop entertainment, but a few tips can help make the experience more pleasurable for guests. Traffic...
 
 

D-M Airman defuses situation downrange

One of the biggest defense mechanisms of any expeditionary air base is the ability to launch aircraft to neutralize threats. Several 380th Air Expeditionary Wing agencies are charged with getting air operations back up and running as soon as possible should the flightline or runway be attacked. The 380th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal...
 
 
wall

The writing on the “Walls”

The “Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona” open house will feature many showcases, mostly centered on aerial displays. But one exhibit takes us from the skies to the ground and across thousands of miles to the sands of Iraq, ...
 

 

Will Allen: The Flying Tenor

Combining his vocal talents with his flying, Will Allen as “The Flying Tenor” brings a new type of air show performance that will stir your soul. Will sings the national anthem live from the cockpit of his Pitts bi-plane while flying an aerobatic routine that has been choreographed to harmonize with the cadence and crescendos of the...
 
 
DesertRat

Desert Rats

The “Desert Rats” Warbird Demonstration Team makes a high-speed run past each other in their CJ-6A Chinese basic pilot trainer aircraft. The CJ-6 aircraft, designed in 1958, are still flown today by China’s People’s Lib...
 
 
USAFBlue

USAFA Wings of Blue

Each year, the Wings of Blue Demonstration Team performs at more than 50 special events in front of over 2 million spectators. Demonstration venues include airshows, NFL and College football games, and special events across the...
 




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