YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Yokota’s 459th Airlift Squadron showcased one of their UH-1 mission sets during a Capabilities Exercise (CAPEX) at the 2018 Japanese-American Friendship Festival, Sept. 15-16 at Yokota Air Base, Japan to give approximately 145,000 visitors a better understanding of what the 459th AS does in Japan and how crew members and aircraft interact to accomplish their missions.
“We are just happy to show the audience what we can do with the UH-1,“ said Capt Emerson Worner, 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N pilot and scheduler, who was instrumental in coordinating the event. Here in Japan we don’t do (rescue missions) very often, but we do have that capabilityIt’s a great to show everybody: this is what we can do with the helicopter, this is what we perform everyday at Yokota.”
While entertaining, the CAPEX also provided a very important benefit in building relationships with the local community.
“We fly every day over Yokota, but we do not have an opportunity to explain to our neighbors what we do,” said Woerner. “It’s a cool opportunity to show our neighbors and visitors what we do every day.”
The CAPEX was a team effort by Airmen within the 374th Operations Group. It demonstrated their search and rescue capability. In the scenario, a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) specialist assigned to the 374th Operations Support Squadron conducted a search and rescue mission finding a simulated injured victim. Because of the simulated unaccessable terrain, the UH-1 was not able to land, so instead the crew members had to use the hoist and other rescue equipment to bring the victim and SERE specialist onboard the aircraft safely. Once they were hoisted up to the helicopter, the simulated patient was taken to recieve medical care.
With thousands of spectators looking on from the festival area, they recieved a first-hand look at what countless hours of practice and training has prepared the UH-1 aircrews to do in support of operations and contingencies througout the Indo-Pacific region.
“I hope they had a great time watching the demo, and hopefully they learned a little more about what UH-1 can do,” said Woerner.