Angel Thunder exercise prepares agencies for rescue operations

This October the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona will host the largest federal interagency exercise for personnel rescue and recovery, with joint, coalition, interagency, and international participants.  The annual Angel Thunder exercise is sponsored by the Air Force’s Air Combat Command, and runs from October 9 through October 21.  The focus of Angel Thunder is saving lives, and this year’s exercise uses an earthquake scenario to prepare participants for rescue and recovery missions.

Angel Thunder was founded in 2005 by former Air Force Rescue helicopter pilot Brett Hartnett, who describes the exercise as the “biggest bang for the buck in training dollars.”  Since its inception, Angel Thunder has “exploded” in participation. “Everyone wants to get in this exercise,” says Hartnett.

This year’s exercise involves 1,400 people from U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Africa Command, and the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency.  Various U.S. agencies such as the State Department, Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, Drug Enforcement Agency, and U.S. Agency for International Development are also participating.  Local participants include two hospitals, three sheriff’s offices, a fire department, and three universities.  In addition to U.S. participants, individuals from Australia, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Singapore, and Sweden are also taking part, with individuals from Chile, Egypt, El Salvador, Lebanon, Peru, Uruguay, and Qatar observing the exercise.

To read more about the 2011 Angel Thunder exercise, please follow the link below.
“Interagency Exercise Hones Rescue Operations,” by Terri Moon Cronk, American Forces Press Service

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