by Staff Sgt. Adam Grant
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
5/1/2014 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. -- Air
Force Active Duty members assigned to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
along with members from the Air and Army National Guard, put their
search and rescue skills to the test during a Combat Search and Rescue
exercise in the rocky terrain of Arizona's west desert April 29.
Military personnel from 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) along with
162nd Fighter Wing, 56th Fighter Wing, 943rd Rescue Group, U.S. Air
Force Reserve 419th Fighter Wing, Utah Air National Guard 151st Air
Refueling Wing and the 1-285th Attack and Reconnaissance Battalion
joined forces to rescue 3 downed F-16 pilots South West of Davis-Monthan
Air Force Base.
The main objective of this exercise was to effectively integrate
communications across joint platforms to authenticate, locate and
protect isolated personnel while successfully extracting them.
"The training that took place was very vital because although we all
hope that we never have to get the call to go out and find someone who
isn't in the best of situations if the call does come we need to be able
to do so swift and accurately," said Maj. Sean Hall, Aide to the
commander of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern).
These scenario included multiple of aircraft such as the E-3 Sentry,
EC-130H, F-16's, A-10's, HH-60'sand AH-64's all with different missions
sets that when combined together bring air superiority.
"Having all of the support from the different aircraft that participated
was amazing and very important. It also made the exercise more
realistic which gives us a better quality of training," said Hall.
On the ground, the stranded pilots were able to sharpen their skills in
Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape, better known as SERE, until
help arrived from the air.
"As a pilot the scenario that I was given of a downed F-16 pilot enabled
me to incorporate the survival and evasion techniques that you receive
in training," said Maj. John Reed, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)
AH-64 Apaches, hovered above in search of the missing pilot while
ensuring there were no enemy personnel on the ground while UH-60 Black
Hawks touched down to rescue the pilot. F-16s flown by Air National
Guardsmen from the 162nd FW provided cover from above.
"The overall exercise was a total success far succeeding what we originally planned to learn," added Hall.