More than 200 exercise planners from across the globe met at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base this week, in preparation for the upcoming annual Angel Thunder exercise May 4 – 17.
The Angel Thunder Professional Control Force, under Headquarters Air Combat Command Exercises Division, conducted a three-day planning conference in which unit representatives developed the size and scope of their respective unit’s participation in Angel Thunder based on ACC and Joint Teams’ Desired Learning Objectives.
Every aspect of the exercise was developed to combine maximum effectiveness while achieving maximum efficiency, said Col. Sean Choquette, Exercise Director and 563rd Rescue Group Commander. “From billeting and transportation, to range coordination, scenario development, training requirements and airspace integration, the two-week exercise was fleshed-out by experts in the personnel recovery field to make every scenario as realistic as possible in order to fully exercise capabilities and objectives.”
Planners from Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Great Britain, Canada, and Colombia joined U.S. planners from the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, Arizona National Guard, Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Drug Enforcement Agency, Homeland Security Investigations, Pima County Emergency Management, Pima County Sheriff, Pinal County Sheriff, Coconino County Sheriff and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
This year’s exercise will train more than 2,000 joint, total force, coalition and interagency partners throughout Arizona and over the California coast. “Despite the massive size and scope of the exercise, the planners are ensuring the most effective and efficient use of U.S. Air Force and Joint National Training Capability funds,” said Brett Hartnett, Angel Thunder Director / Technical Manager.
Last year, 3,017 joint, total force, coalition and interagency partners were trained and 109 aircraft participated in Angel Thunder 13. Exercise participants logged more than 1,749 flight hours in 30 exercise scenarios in which approximately 295 people were saved.