SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
Joint Task Force-Bravo and Honduran forces participated in an aircraft accident exercise, off base, in an effort to test the response time and readiness of its personnel Aug. 21.
The exercise scenario was based off a 1-228 Utility Helicopter- 60 and its aircrew calling a mayday and then all contact being terminated.
"In my 12 years of flying I've conducted simulated training accidents, but nothing like this," said U.S. Army CW-3 Jason Wilson, 1-228 Aviation Battalion aviation safety officer. "Normally it was slightly off the runway, but here we have the ability to make this exercise as close to real world as possible. For example, we have Joint Security Forces and Honduran security force working together to secure the area, the Medical Element and 1-228 are prepping the patients and flying them back to base."
Before JSF or MEDEL were at the site one of 1-228's UH-60s was called in from another training mission to respond to the downed aircraft. They would circle the area multiple times surveying the situation before landing and sending personnel from the aircraft to aid the injured.
"It's a great exercise because we get to test our capabilities, beside our normal base defense mission," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Robert Shaw, JSF commander. "We have unique capabilities set here, which we can do for Joint Task Force-Bravo such as personnel recovery, downed aircraft, and forward security at forward operating locations. This is a way for our joint security force members to be tested in their individual and collective tasks."
"We have two teams working in concert, an aerial quick response force team, which arrived on a UH-60 and they secured the area," he added. "At the same time we had a convoy mission from Soto Cano Air Base. Once they got here they worked on collective tasks in securing a down aircraft and individual tasks like setting up a cordon, setting up a parameter and securing the scene.
Shortly after a UH-60 bearing the Red Cross insignia landed at the scene with one flight medic and an aircrew to aid the additional flight crew's injuries.
"The flight medic and aircrew checked the injuries of the surviving pilot and had the knowledge to know the aircraft seat can be unlatched and the pilot could then be safely placed onto a stretcher," said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Minor, MEDEL emergency medical technician noncommissioned-officer-in-charge. "They then stabilized the patient with a cervical collar and carried him to the helicopter for extraction."
The purpose of the exercise is to train and validate JTF-B personnel and Honduran Response Force on aircraft accident response procedures by conducting a simulated aircraft accident.