MCAS IWAKUNI, Japan -- Shortly after the shrieking sound of the crash horn at about 8 a.m., the air station began an aircraft mishap drill and mass casualty exercise intended to improve response time and communication between station units Sept. 28.
Although the exercise was a simulated mid-air collision, tactics used to bring the units together in the planning and implementation phase can be applied to any disaster situation.
?This was not just for an aircraft mishap, it could be a typhoon or earthquake,? said Maj. Gregory Glasser, Air Station Operations Officer. ?This exercise enhances our preparedness and response.?
Three events took place during the exercise and allowed training for all units involved, from Search and Rescue to Public Affairs. A mass-casualty drill and simulated fire, tested medical and fire personnel. Simulated unexploded ordnance gave explosive ordnance disposal Marines a chance to train; and survivors in the water kept SAR in the air.
?The more we train and the more we drill, the better off we are,? said Chief Philip Avery, MCAS Iwakuni fire chief and native of Kent, Wash. ?If the real thing comes around we will be prepared for it.?
Other than the hands-on training exercise participants received, scribes stood to the side and collected information to be used later in a debrief.
?Hopefully we will catch the little things that may help us in an actual event,? said Sgt. Dustin Nelson, Provost Martial?s Office training non commissioned officer, from behind his video camera. ?We will have a training debrief to discuss what went right and what went wrong, and how we can improve our training.?
According to the Arlington, Texas. native, the military police who arrived first on the scene performed just as they had been trained, while providing security and initial medical attention.
Scribes from PMO and Medical circled the area, observing and recording actions of their fellow Marines and Sailors, while they comforted and transported the injured.
?We?re wasting our time if we don?t capture in writing the lessons learned,? said Glasser when referring to the scribes. ?We?re going to take all the input from the units and make improvements.?
As with any training, the purpose is to become better. Not everything went smoothly but it was the glitches that taught lessons for future use. One of the purposes of the exercise was to test and challenge station units with a worst-case scenario, according to Glasser.
?In today?s busy Marine Corps, there is always a need to prepare for the possibility of a mishap,? the Virginia Beach, Va., native said. ?I think just getting the people together and learning their faces and personalities was the biggest part of making this a success.?