Saving Together

The largest rescue and recovery exercise opened this week at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. Angel Thunder, an annual two-week exercise hosted by Air Combat Command, combined 1,400 joint-service rescue personnel with federal agencies and nine foreign countries in a mock earthquake response. “We’ve quilted together facilities, locations, governments, and agencies,” said Brett Harnett, exercise manager. “It’s a very low-cost exercise because it’s based on networking, rather than reinventing the wheel.” Personnel recovery forces from US Southern Command, US Africa Command and the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency teamed with agencies such as the Coast Guard and Customs service, as well as military partners from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Singapore, and Sweden. As a result, in time of crisis “we know whom to contact, and we’re used to working with them,” added Harnett. The exercise concludes Oct. 21. (AFPS report by Terri Cronk)