Mock 737 crash SAR training

by Sophie Evan on February 14, 2013

SAR exercise NW of Bethel. Photo by Air National Guard

The first joint search and rescue exercise by the Alaska Air National Guard and the Alaska Army National Guard was conducted this past weekend. Army brass says the arctic rescue training tested all aspects of a multi-agency coordinated arctic rescue.

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The weather was as expected, as the U-S military prepared for an arctic search and rescue mission in a winter blizzard. The C-130 Hercules packed with sustainment packages that were to be dropped at the mock accident site had to return to Bethel due to bad weather. Heavy snow and freezing rain also delayed the C-17 from taking off from J-BER. That flight had to drop additional personnel and the arctic sustainment package.

A re-con aircraft stayed above the mock crash site, waiting for a window of opportunity for cargo planes to drop needed personnel and survival equipment. After multiple passes over the drop zone, the first drop was a go, and pararescuemen, tents, heaters, fuel, A-T-V’s, and rescue equipment started the training exercise.

They set up their white cells, or tents in a patch of trees to protect them from the wind and snow for the next day and a half. During that time mock survivors were attended to and kept fed and warm until they were extracted from the site based on the severity of their mock wounds and injuries.

Army Brass concluded that all participants were able to assess and learn from their experience and say that if a real world situation ever happened, they are prepared.

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