Local

August 10, 2012

Grizzly Field Exercise 2012 prepares for the unexpected

Tags:
by Capt. Perry Covington
163rd Reconnaissance Wing public affairs
Grizzly Field Exercies 2012
The 163rd Reconnaissance Wing participated in the Grizzly Field Exercise, July 25. During spin-up of the exercise, the intensity of focus was easily observed in the Predator Operations Center (POC) at March Air Reserve Base Calif., as members of the 163d RW hovered over computer monitors and flight plans in final preparation for GFX 12. (National Guard Photo / Tech. Sgt. Neil S. Ballecer)

The ground rumbled beneath your feet. Dishes in the kitchen crashed on the floor and bookshelves toppled over. You gathered your family and hurried to safest location in the house. The wrenching tremor finally subsided and you took stock of the damage. You picked the television up off the floor, tried to turn it on, but realized the power was out. As you peered out the fractured window, telephone poles and trees laid across the street as though they were ejected from the ground. A deafening chorus of car alarms blared incessantly, nearly drowning out the cries of people calling out for help. You just experienced what Californians are all too aware of, an earthquake. No one knows when or where it will strike next, so emergency officials continually exercise their skills to ensure they are prepared to respond when strikes occur.

To prepare for such calamities, the 163rd Reconnaissance Wing and local emergency officials partnered to plan and execute Grizzly Field Exercise 2012, or GFX 12.

The scope of the exercise included a simulated earthquake in Southern California with damage to the infrastructure, numerous injuries, and some fatalities. The 163d RW engaged with its primary platform, the MQ-1 Predator, and was tasked with providing full motion video to the State Joint Operations Center, 234th Intelligence Squadron, Non-governmental agencies, Northern Command, and the 601st Air Operations Center in support of a search and rescue mission for possible survivors.

Col. Randall Ball, commander, 163d RW said, “It was extremely rewarding to see the integration of California Joint Operations Center into the Command and Control for interagency disaster response. This exercise established a baseline for further integration of civilian response agencies and through the use of two Predators, was able to establish a large full motion video footprint that was accessible by all military and civilian disaster relief communities.”

During spin-up of the exercise, the intensity of focus was easily observed in the Predator Operations Center (POC) at March Air Reserve Base Calif., as members of the 163d RW hovered over computer monitors and flight plans in final preparation for GFX 12.

The exercise highlighted the Remotely Piloted Aircraft capabilities in a domestic operation setting. These types of DOMOPS include search and rescue, counter-drug and border operations, disaster response and Department of Homeland Security support. The operation also showcased the benefits of the synergistic relationships between the Army National Guard, the Air National Guard, the State Military Reserve, and civilian agencies.

“At a federal level, we are always looking to use all assets available, the marriage between the different entities within each state pays dividends,” said Major Dawn Junk, Chief of Domestic Operations & Special Missions. “We need to constantly scan for all components available to make an operation of this scale a success.”

Two military members playing the role of ‘survivors’ were flown via helicopter to an Army training facility at Fort Irwin in Barstow Calif., where they were dropped off and told remain until rescued. Next, predator pilots based at March ARB, launched their aircraft via satellite, to the coordinates of the simulated earthquake area. The MQ-1, specially equipped for aerial reconnaissance, found their target, sent FMV back to the JOC and soon after, a rescue helicopter was dispatched to pick up the stranded survivors.

“The exercise was an overall success,” said Lt. Col. Keith Ward, commander, 163rd Operations Support Squadron. “A lot of planning and test runs preceded this exercise to help prepare us. I think all of our hard work has paid off. As with any exercise we have some good lessons learned that we can refine but the intent of the exercise was met with dazzling results.”

GFX 12 was the result of several months of preparation and practice. Earlier in the year the 163d RW participated in the Ardent Sentry exercise which also focused on defense support of civil entities during a crisis situation, culminating in the successful joint execution of GFX 12.

“Working with the Army National Guard and State Military Reserve personnel has been extremely helpful on the communications side,” said Tech. Sgt. Robert Davis, 163d RW network administrator and communications lead for GFX 12. “They bring capabilities and experience that have been invaluable to the success of GFX 12. RPA operation has a large communications piece and we have been prepping for the exercise for over a month and half. At every step of the way, the support we have received from our ARNG and SMR counterparts has been exceptional.”

These powerful platforms are the future. Remotely piloted aircraft are critical to our nation’s diverse missions overseas and their application as a viable tool in the disaster response realm on our own soil. With public safety and the safeguarding of civil liberties at the forefront of any RPA operation the National Guard is ready and proud to provide a unique capability to the state and the nation.

During Grizzly Field Exercise 2012, the 163rd Reconnaissance Wing engaged with its primary platform, the MQ-1 Predator, and was tasked with providing full motion video to the State Joint Operations Center, 234th Intelligence Squadron, Non-governmental agencies, Northern Command, and the 601st Air Operations Center in support of a search and rescue mission for possible survivors. The exercise was a proof of concept for domestic operations in assisting with disaster response. The joint exercise marked a pivotal turning point for cross agency involvement with the Army National Guard, State Military Reserve, and civilian agencies. (National Guard Photo / Tech. Sgt. Neil S. Ballecer)




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


 
 

 

Reveille: Continuing a proud military tradition

Reveille is a French word that literally means “wake up” and is traditionally played at sunrise on military installations. Here at March ARB, the 452nd Security Forces Squadron raises the national flag during reveille at 7:30 a.m. each day. The practice of reveille can be traced back to the French army, which used a form...
 
 
NorCo

Looking sharp!

Chief Information Systems Technician Christian Joson, left, and Utilitiesman 1st Class John Anderson conduct a seasonal military uniform inspection of service members assigned to Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Divi...
 
 
LG-Read-Across-America-Feb-20141

Volunteers from the 452nd Air Mobility Wing

Volunteers from the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., help celebrate the National Education Association’s Read Across America day at local area schools within the Riverside Unified School District, Feb....
 

 
130124-f-am806-002

Fourth Air Force commander leaves March, visits Joint Base Charleston reservists

Brig. Gen. John C. Flournoy, Jr., 4th Air Force commander visited the 315th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, S.C., Jan. 24, 2014, as part of an effort to get out and see the wings under his command. Col. James Fontanella, 3...
 
 
U.S. Airforce photo/Linda Welz

Coping with drought; preserving a precious resource

U.S. Airforce photo/Linda Welz A drainage ditch on March Air Reserve Base, Calif., stands void of all but a few puddles of water on January 22, 2014, residue from landscape maintainance and evidence of the severe drought that h...
 
 

March Inn lodging system in place to improve your UTA experience

Due to the elimination of the Automatic Lodging Reservation System, the March Inn is operating on Air Force Instruction 34-246, Air Force Lodging Program, while a new wing instruction is being written. Use of the ALRS was eliminated because the Air Force Lodging Fund would not support it with Non Appropriated Funds and lodging lost...
 




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