RAAF PARTICIPATES IN EXERCISE COPE NORTH IN GUAM
17 February 2016
The Royal Australian Air Force’s multi-disciplined Contingency Response Squadron (CRS) and Aeromedical Evacuation (AME) elements from Combat Support Group and C-130J Hercules from Air Mobility Group demonstrated their response and evacuation capabilities when they participated in the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) phase of Exercise Cope North in Guam.
Commander of the Australian Contingent for the exercise, Group Captain Glen Braz, said the trilateral exercise was conducted between the United States, Japan and Australia with observers and other participants representing regional partners including South Korea and New Zealand.
“Due to the continual demand for HA/DR support in the Asia-Pacific Region, these joint exercises are increasingly important in understanding our complementary capabilities,” Group Captain Braz said.
“The HA/DR contingent comprised approximately 70 personnel, who consisted of specialised air load teams, communications, security forces, airfield response fire fighting, logistics and personnel capability, as well as a number of multi disciplined staff planners.”
The Cope North 2016 HA/DR activity involved a four-day field exercise based on a scenario developed around an earthquake and subsequent tsunami to the islands north of Guam.
“A two-day table top exercise was conducted prior to the actual exercise,” Group Captain Braz said.
This activity was based from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, with expeditionary elements operating from the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands of Rota and Tinian.
Group Captain Braz said the Cope North 2016 HA/DR phase focused on the establishment of an airhead, from which medical support was provided and humanitarian aid distributed, as well as aeromedical evacuation and search and rescue (SAR) mission sets that involved airland and airdrop missions by day and night.
RAAF personnel have supported HA/DR activities in Guam during past Cope North exercises, as well as to Operation Christmas Drop in Guam. In December 2015, a RAAF C-130J Hercules crew worked alongside counterparts from the United States and Japan during Operation Christmas Drop to airdrop supplies to islands in Micronesia.
Andersen Air Force Base and has significant historical interest having been constructed in 1944-45 as a base for the 20th Air Force B-29 Super fortresses during the Pacific Campaign of World War Two.
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