EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Eielson held a major accident response exercise to better prepare the base for possible aircraft incidents March 6-7, 2019.
“This exercise scenario involved a mid-air collision resulting in a downed aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Bradley Moore, 354th Fighter Wing inspector general and exercise superintendent. “It was designed to test the wing’s ability to respond to aircraft mishaps in austere locations and conduct personnel rescues during cold-weather situations.”
Arctic Gold (AG) 19-4 highlighted improvements that can be made to better respond to incidents and ensure all first responders are able to communicate effectively during a crisis situation.
“The results of the exercise allow us to look at our mishap response plan and validate the procedures within it,” said Moore. “If there are limiting factors, we can adjust our plans to fill any gaps which will enable us to better respond in the future.”
One exercise scenario required responders from the 210th Rescue Squadron out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to find and identify a surviving aircrew member before providing emergency medical treatment and transporting him back to safety.
Once the crash site was secured by 354th Security Forces Squadron Airmen and cleared by 354th Medical Group bio-environmental engineers, other emergency response agencies began the process of searching the crash site and recovering simulated human remains and aircraft debris.
“Most practices for search and recovery teams aren’t as realistic as this scenario,” said Maj. Benjamin Quigley, 354th Force Support Squadron mortuary affairs officer. “We had to come out and dig through waist-deep snow which highlights how difficult search and recovery can be. It helped give a better idea of how we need to operate in a real-world event.”
AG 19-4 provided an ideal training ground for responders and support agencies to test and improve their skills so they will be prepared in the event of a real-world accident.