Coast Guard Participates In Simulated Mass Casualty Exercise Air Force Prepares Airmen For Real World Emergencies





Coast Guard Participates In Simulated Mass Casualty Exercise Air Force Prepares Airmen For Real World Emergencies
 By Mike Mitchell

June 19, 2009, Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento -- The U.S. Coast Guard, in coordination with partner federal and local agencies, participated in a mass casualty exercise that simulated a midair collision of a C-130 Hercules aircraft, from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, and a Sacramento Sheriff's Department helicopter, at McClellan Airfield, yesterday morning.

Representatives from the Sacramento Metro Fire Department, Sacramento Police Department, FBI, Federal Emergency Management Association, and a Redwood Emergency Air Care helicopter also participated in the simulated mishap.

Before the drill took place this morning, the various agencies met to discuss response efforts and potential limitations. The discussion focused on the importance of safety and communications. The drill was designed to better prepare responders for an aviation mishap.

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of the 615th Contingency Response Wing and 15 other units from around the United States joined together to participate in HYDRA '09. The joint exercise is the 615th CRW's most comprehensive training event, organized to allow Airmen to hone their skills and enhance command, control and joint interoperability using realistic scenarios.

"This humanitarian exercise gives us the ability to practice in a realistic environment," said Master Sgt. Craig Brown, 571st Contingency Response Group first sergeant. "We are able to test our command and control, and enhance our ability to accept airflow and off load cargo using real world scenarios.” 


The exercise has grown from a 615th CRW-only event in 2007 to a training event that has about 750 participants from 16 different units, some from the Army and Marine Corps. "We're working jointly with all different services of the military at different times of the day," said Senior Airman Jason Aglubat, 571st Global Mobility Squadron aerial port journeyman. "Every day brings different challenges and learning opportunities."  The 11-day exercise began June 12 and trains participants on a variety of operations that would be required in the event of an emergency. "It gives us a real sense of what we would actually be doing if a humanitarian need rose somewhere in the world," Sergeant Brown said.

The scenario for HYDRA '09 was a magnitude 6.0 earthquake in a fictional allied country. The devastation from the quake extended up to 100 miles out from the epicenter. This scenario allowed the exercise to spread over three locations to provide maximum training opportunities. A part of the exercise, called Global Medic, focused on treating and moving victims of the earthquake.

"Participating in this exercise has allowed me to learn a lot of things that a classroom environment just can't offer," said Army Private 1st Class Arlett Diaz, a nutritionist with the Mobile Aeromedical Staging Facility at the exercise site. "I've learned how to administer flight transportation so that patients can receive the medical attention they need when they get to a hospital."

The training received during the exercise is invaluable to participants. "This training keeps me up to date with the advances in my field," Private Diaz said. "It also makes me a better team member because I know I am able to help in other areas of the MASF as well." In addition to training on aerial port operations, participants also were involved in helicopter sling-load training, simulated medical evacuation, several air drops of both personnel and equipment, low level and landing zone aircrew training.

"This exercise does a lot of things for us," said Staff Sgt. Melinda Santiago, 615th CRW air transportation craftsman. "In addition to learning how to interact with other services, we're also training to respond to a natural disaster and get relief supplies in and anyone who is injured out." 
All of this training helps support the 615th CRW's mission of employing rapidly deployable, cross functional teams to quickly open forward air bases in an expeditionary environment.

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