An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Feb. 26, 2020

Australians Lead Multinational Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Exercise for First Time during Cope North

By Staff Sgt. Curt Beach Cope North Combined Joint Information Bureau / Published

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- A peaceful white-sand paradise is flipped upside down when a magnitude 7.3 earthquake ravages the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), causing devastating tsunamis in a Cope North 20 (CN20) exercise scenario.

For the first time in Cope North history, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) invited the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to lead the Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) mission of CN20, with an integrated tri-nation team from the U.S., RAAF and Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force).

The magnitude of the simulated emergency led to the establishment of a Multinational Task Force (MNTF) HQ at Andersen.

The MNTF brought together all three nations to monitor ongoing threats, assess damage and develop a plan to insert personnel and supplies to support the affected islands north of Guam, with RAAF Group Captain (GPCAPT) Mark Larter (95 Wing commanding officer), CN20 MNTF commander, taking the helm.

“The [U.S. Air Force’s] decision to invite Australia to lead the HADR component of Cope North 20 for the first time is a reflection of their deep respect and confidence in the Royal Australian Air Force's ability to lead and plan a major tri-nation exercise in a professional, credible and safe manner,” Larter said.

Cope North’s focus on HADR provides critical training to U.S. and allied militaries and has a direct impact on the militaries’ ability to support the region, to include the CNMI, Palau, and Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia.

The focus of the HADR exercise was the deployment and redeployment of combat support capabilities, conducting security forces and airfield operations in a friendly nation with elements of social unrest.

Expeditionary forces deployed to Tinian and Rota to provide airlift and medical support. They were also tasked with establishing the security and command and control (C2) necessary for any disaster relief operation. One of their goals was to establish and operate an airfield in an austere environment to ensure air operations could occur safely and effectively.

Throughout the deployment to Tinian and Rota, U.S., Koku Jieitai and RAAF personnel combined efforts to perform medical evacuations, airfield security, C2, search and rescue, and cargo and personnel airlifts to react to the earthquake disaster scenario. They constructed deployable tents for shelter and food and water storage, and responded to real-time role playing scenarios to test readiness.

In the natural disaster scenario, infrastructure on Tinian was severely damaged, and water contamination caused several dozen cases of mild to intense poisoning, including deaths, bringing the local health care facility under strain.

With local CNMI government having limited capability to restock life-saving medical supplies, the trilateral medical team was employed to mitigate further deaths and quell public unrest.

“Operating cohesively alongside our Australian and Japanese allies allows us to understand one another’s capabilities and strengths,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Shaquielle Sheppard, En Route Patient Staging (ERPS) healthcare administrator deployed to Rota. “This training has solidified what we can accomplish together and what we can bring to the fight.”

Personnel operating in the ERPS facility worked to ensure safe transport and care was provided to in-transit patients during their stay at Rota before being moved to locations supporting higher levels of medical treatment.

“Open communication is vital as well as patient and personnel safety,” Sheppard said. “When we successfully complete a mission like this, it’s the most fulfilling feeling and the whole point of us being here.”

With the help of multiple linguists from each country, the exercise was able to overcome the challenge of language barriers, allowing each nation to adapt quickly to each scenario.

The scenarios were designed to enable the execution of HADR mission sets, focusing on both benign and hostile environments.

“It's been a privilege to observe the incremental learning of our personnel as they take on valuable lessons throughout the exercise,” Larter said.
“They have performed with aplomb, and the USAF and JASDF are full of admiration regarding our work ethic, experience and innovation. I am extremely proud of the way the RAAF has performed and contributed to this highly successful HADR exercise.”

Cope North allows U.S. and allied forces to practice HADR efforts to prepare for and recover from the devastating effects of natural disasters.

The relationships built and sustained with multinational partners in the Indo-Pacific region through exercises, civil military operations and military exchanges help tremendously in humanitarian efforts and in preserving peace and stability in the region.



Koa Moana 24: U.S. Marines and Sailors Support Humanitarian Aid Efforts in Chuuk
U.S. Marines and Sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 13, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, provide humanitarian disaster relief preparation by offloading approximately one thousand bags of rice and three thousand cases of water to Federal States of Micronesia outer island of Chuuk during exercise Koa Moana 24 in the Chuuk Lagoon, July 5-9, 2024. During Koa Moana’s deployment throughout the Indo-Pacific region, U.S. Marines and Sailors from I Marine Expeditionary Force work to strengthen alliances and partnerships with development of interoperable capabilities, combined operations, theater security cooperation, and capacity-building efforts. Exercises like Koa Moana administer 1st MLG to tackle complex challenges by fostering collaboration among bold thinkers and employing creative methods to optimize prepositioning, enhance sustainment and distribution networks, and bolster readiness in distributed environments such as Palau, the Federal States of Micronesia, and Papua New Guinea. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Sean Arnold)
July 22, 2024 - In a demonstration of solidarity and resilience, U.S. Marines and Sailors from Koa Moana 24 have been instrumental in helping deliver humanitarian aid support across the archipelago of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia...

U.S. Navy Conducts Successful Live-Fire Demonstration at RIMPAC 2024
240712-N-N2201-001 (July 12, 2024) A Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV), heads out to sea for the Poniard launching test from ROKS Cheon Ja Bong as part of the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), 12 July. This innovative capability test demonstrates the Navy’s commitment to integrating mature cutting-edge technology into its operations to maintain maritime superiority and readiness.
July 22, 2024 - The U.S. Navy achieved a significant milestone at the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2024 exercise with the successful launching and testing of Poniard rockets from a Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV). The 12 July test is...

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Celebrates 80th Anniversary of Guam Liberation Day 
Adm. Samuel J. Paparo, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, visited Guam July 18-20, where he met with senior government officials and U.S. service members to reiterate USINDOPACOM’s priority of defending the homeland and to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the liberation of the island. As a part of the homeland, Guam serves as a strategic U.S. outpost in the Western Pacific.
July 21, 2024 - Tumon, GUAM — Adm. Samuel J. Paparo, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, visited Guam July 18-20, where he met with senior government officials and U.S. service members to reiterate USINDOPACOM’s priority of defending the...

U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Travels to Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands  
From left, Saipan Gov. Arnold I. Placios, Rear Adm. Greg Huffman, commander, Joint Task Force – Micronesia, Adm. Samuel J. Paparo, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Lt. Gov. David M. Apata take a photo during USINDOPACOM’s visit to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands on July 20, 2024. Paparo was joined by Huffman, Rear Adm. Brent DeVore, commander, Joint Region Marianas, and Fleet Master Chief David Isom, USINDOPACOM command senior enlisted leader, emphasizing personal relationships and the enduring obligations to the people of CNMI, which is part of the U.S. homeland and under U.S. legal and defense protections. USINDOPACOM is committed to enhancing stability in the Indo-Pacific region by promoting security cooperation, encouraging peaceful development, responding to contingencies, deterring aggression and, when necessary, fighting to win. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon M. Smith)
July 21, 2024 - SAIPAN, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands — Adm. Samuel J. Paparo, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, visited Saipan and Tinian in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands on July 20, 2024, where he met with...

U.S. Joint Forces Strengthen Capabilities and Partnerships in Palau During Valiant Shield 24
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Stephanie Davis, a communication strategy and operations officer with I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) helps a child try on a Kevlar helmet during a military equipment exposition as part of exercise Valiant Shield 24 at Palau International Airport, Airai, Palau, June 13, 2024. U.S. joint forces conducting exercise Valiant Shield 24 held a military equipment exposition to offer insight into military operations and build relationships with the Palauan community. I Marine Expeditionary Force conducts exercises like Valiant Shield to enhance interoperability with allied

and partner forces and expand the operational capability of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Hannah Hollerud)
July 20, 2024 - Joint forces with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, allies and partners concluded the tenth iteration of exercise Valiant Shield, June 18, 2024, following 12 days of multilateral operations in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern...