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AFNORTH completes week-long hurricane relief exercise | Chicago Composite Squadron

AFNORTH completes week-long hurricane relief exercise

Photos AFNORTH completes week-long hurricane relief exercise

(L to R) Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Short; Lt. Gen. Sid Clarke, Air Forces Northern (AFNORTH) commander; and Canadian Brig. Gen. Chris Coates, U.S. Continental North American Aerospace Defense Command (CONR) deputy commander, share a discussion during the Ardent Sentry 12 exercise. In his role as senior mentor during AFNORTH’s participation in the exercise, General Short observed and shared lessons he learned during his career in command positions with General Clarke and members of the staff.

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  AFNORTH completes week-long hurricane relief exercise

Posted 5/10/2012   Updated 5/10/2012
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by Maj. Kat Hyche
AFNORTH Public Affairs

5/10/2012 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Air Forces Northern (AFNORTH) wrapped up a week-long exercise that centered on working with interagency partners to provide support to civil authorities as a simulated hurricane barreled towards Texas.

Exercise Ardent Sentry 12, a U.S. Northern Command exercise held May 2-9, gave AFNORTH members an opportunity to run though its Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) processes and procedures ahead of the approaching hurricane season, which begins June 1.

“Our job is to be prepared to support the American people in their time of need. We take that responsibility seriously and, as the AFNORTH commander, I need to ensure that our Airmen are capable and ready,” said Lt. Gen. Sid Clarke, AFNORTH commander. “We have tried to learn the lessons of Hurricane Katrina. During these types of disasters, you have to get it right the first time. We used this exercise to work through potential roadblocks and to practice with our state and federal partners.”

The exercise kicked off with a scenario simulating a devastating category 4 hurricane approaching the southern Texas coastline with 145 mph sustained winds. AFNORTH deployed emergency planning liaison officers (EPLO) and pre-positioned other assets in anticipation of the simulated hurricane making landfall.

“Every hurricane or disaster situation has unique challenges and circumstances. For any complex contingency, our biggest challenge is to quickly assess the likely needs of the civilian authorities and to ensure we have the right people and assets ready to provide relief support,” said General Clarke.

Also ahead of landfall, the 601st Air and Space Operations Center (AOC) Regional Air Movement Coordination Center (RAMCC) simulated standing up operations at several airports in Texas to facilitate the aeromedical evacuation of patients and other people. Additionally, AFNORTH officials deployed a Joint Air Component Coordination Elements (JACCE) to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, along with Army North’s Joint Task Force 51 to provide relief support. Search and rescue (SAR) personnel and assets were also pre-positioned at various locations near the expected landfall region.

Civil Air Patrol units, in their role as the Air Force Auxiliary, flew pre- and post-landfall imagery missions in Texas and Louisiana. This imagery provided civil authorities a birds-eye view of conditions on the ground. Local officials used the imagery to determine the best courses of action for saving lives and providing disaster relief.

As the exercise played out, the simulated Hurricane Zelda weakened to a Category 2 as it made landfall with sustained winds of 105 mph and storm surges up to 23 feet in South Padre Island.

AFNORTH quickly responded to requests for support from civil authorities for a variety of needs such as SAR, logistics, and imagery provided by the pre-positioned assets as well as other capabilities Air Force can bring to bear.

“This was my first DSCA exercise as commander of AFNORTH, and, like most exercises the fog and friction of large contingencies, generated the most valuable training,” said General Clarke. “The exercise also allowed us to turn our attention to the upcoming hurricane season. We pulled out old business cards, lashed up with all the other stakeholders and agencies, and worked together to hone how we anticipate providing pre-incident and post-incident support. That’s not easy to do. But, I think we did a good job of demonstrating AFNORTH’s ability to support to civil authorities.”

Article source: http://www.1af.acc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123301585

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