Charlotte Air National Guard Base, NC -- Agencies of the 145th Airlift Wing and the Charlotte Fire Department band together to execute an aircraft mishap exercise near the North Carolina Air National Guard base March 6, 2022. The exercise simulates the crash of a T-1 aircraft with four passengers on the NC Air National Guard landing ramp.
“The fire department conducts an exercise every three years but it has been a very long time since the wing as a whole has come together to conduct an exercise like this,” said Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Lazaroski, 145th Civil Engineering Squadron fire chief.
According to Lt. Colonel Patrick N. Cannon 145th Operations Group, director of inspections, this is the first time since the 1990s that the entire wing has come together in order to execute an exercise of this kind.
Many entities had a hand in successfully carrying out this exercise. The 145th Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Department and the Charlotte Fire Department respond by putting out fires and mitigating all the hazards. They also search for any survivors. Next, the 145th Security Forces Squadron arrives to set up a cordon to control access to the crash site.
Mortuary affairs are handled by the 145th Force Support Squadron, taking the deceased and surviving victims either to the clinic or an off base hospital depending on the severity of the injuries.
The 145th Civil Engineering Squadron Engineering Assistant team arrives to plot the points where all the debris of the aircraft can be found. They make sure that a reliable grid map is created before the debris is moved to a hanger for investigation.
The 145th Civil Engineering Squadron Emergency Management team had a few roles in the exercise today; managing command and control, the Emergency Operations Center and the Crisis Action Team. Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Specialist, Master Sgt. Mark. Fow, 145th Civil Engineering Squadron Emergency Management manages the Mobile Emergency Operations Center.
“This is basically command and control on wheels,” explains Fow. We’re out here providing a common operational picture so that the command and control on base can see exactly what's going on out here.”
This exercise not only provides an opportunity for each agency to maintain individual readiness but for the wing to see how the full response would be in a real world situation.
“I think it's a great exercise, obviously we’re the Air Force so our number one priority is airplanes,” said Lazaroski. “We need to train for if something catastrophic happens with an airplane and know the steps needed to figure out what was wrong and make sure it doesn't happen again.”
“A lot of times we train and exercise in a bubble so getting all the disciplines together and training makes us all the more prepared if ever we do have to respond to a real world event,” said Fow.