Military News

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Marines join Kadena Airmen for contingency exercise

by Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier
18th Wing Public Affairs

3/3/2015 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan  -- U.S. civil engineer Airmen and combat engineer Marines participated in a joint airfield damage and repair contingency exercise held at Kadena Air Base Feb. 26.

Engineers from the 172nd and 171st Engineering Companies and 18th Civil Engineering Squadron worked together to repair a damaged runway in response to a simulated air attack.

"Our mission is to reestablish an operational runway, so we can get planes in and out," said U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. David Brown-Dawson, 18th CES Airfield Damage and Repair officer in charge. "If an attack were to actually to happen, we need to utilize all of our assets, and that's military wide. Not just Air Force, not just Navy, Army and the Marines -- we all need come together, because we're all fighting the same fight."

The exercise gave members from both services the opportunity to showcase their runway repair capabilities and helped them establish more effective ways to communicate and react in a crisis situation.

"It's been really helpful to come out and see how the Air Force does it, because this is their bread and butter," said U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. John Mutton, 172nd Marine Wing Support Squadron combat engineer officer, "They are also able to see how we operate as well, which allows us to establish relations that are really helpful for the future."

Marines and Airmen donned personal protective gear in response to a simulated chemical attack. Other responses were conducted side-by-side, including assessing airfield damage, establishing a mobile aircraft arresting system, leveling a 50-foot crater and securing a folded fiber glass mat.

Reestablishing an operational runway is vital in order to maintain offensive and defensive capabilities. Electrician Airmen set up a threshold of runway lights across the airfield, marking the boundaries of a minimum operating strip. This allowed for aircraft to take off and land in a safe to use section of an otherwise damaged runway.

"I always look forward to see what the Marines have to offer," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Matthew Novack, 18th CES ADR horizontal repair NCO in charge. "More than one set of eyes is always better, because they can see something totally different than the way we do. They can help us improve a simple step, and that alone can make our lives a lot easier. And, we show them a few tricks along the way as well."

While each service follows different response procedures, the exercise helped them learn how to understand how one another operates, combining their assets and improving their ability to work together.

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