MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Personnel of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting, and the Robert M. Casey Medical and Dental Clinic took part in exercise Night Mishap here Jan. 12.
The exercise revolved around the scenario of an aircraft landing on another aircraft on the flight line.
“The purpose of the exercise was to assess our readiness and be able to determine and identify shortfalls in our pre-mishap planning and procedures,” said Capt. Andrew J. Kurtz, VMFA(AW)-242 ground safety officer.
The reason for the exercise was to test the various members’ response time in the event of a mishap. The mishap involved two aircraft, one having just landed on the flight line, and the other on approach.
The scenario unfolded with the air traffic control tower clearing the aircraft in the air to land believing the aircraft that had recently touched down was off the flight line. What followed was the airborne aircraft landing on the ground aircraft. The elements of an injured pilot and explosion were also part of the exercise.
The explosion was simulated by the ARFF team using a large amount of fuel. Within seconds, members were battling the towering inferno. Marines worked to contain the blaze by battling it with water hoses on foot and others atop fire trucks.
Battling the fire up close was a unique experience, said Pfc. Jacob Cave, a turret man with the ARFF team.
“It offers a different perspective,” said Cave, who has participated in a simulated fire once before from the perch of a fire truck.
Corpsmen from the BHC and Marines from the Provost Marshal’s Office were at the crash site within minutes of the dispatch call. As the fire subsided, the victim was secured for transport by the medical response team and PMO. The response team took their time to make sure the victim was properly secured before departing.
“We treated it just like any other emergency call,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Tiffany A. Declue, a BHC emergency vehicle operator.
Several involved in the exercise had been exposed to a similar scenario.
“I enjoyed it. It gave a better idea of what could happen,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Katie A. Zirkle, an emergency medical technician.
The exercise was kept secret to add the surprise element to the exercise to not only test the teams’ response time but to also show how rapidly events can unfold in a real situation.
“Through this exercise everyone will understand how quickly the chain of events happen,” said Kurtz. “Without actually going through the exercise, it’s hard to see how all those pieces need to be played together and actually work.”
The exercise tempo was fast paced and smooth.