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News > Andrews’ 1st Heli provides intregal support to Angel Thunder Exercise
Andrews’ 1st Heli provides intregal support to Angel Thunder Exercise

Posted 6/1/2010   Updated 6/1/2010 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Jennifer Pearson
Air Combat Command Public Affairs

6/1/2010 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The 316th Wing's 1st Helicopter Squadron took part in exercise Angel Thunder 2010, an Air Combat Command-sponsored combat search and rescue and medical evacuation exercise, which took place from April 15 through April 22 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

The two-week exercise is in its fourth year and provides tactical-level opportunities for more than 1,200 ground, air and support U.S. and international participants and more than 50 aircraft to engage in a variety of personnel recovery scenarios.

"The focused personnel recovery exercise provides additional training to prepare combat Air Force assets for upcoming (air expeditionary force) deployments," said Col. Billy Thompson, the Angel Thunder exercise director.

The 1 HS's mission at the exercise was to support Angel Thunder's White Cell by inserting the simulated survivors, according to Maj. Ryan Campbell, 316th Operations Group standardization/evaluation chief.

"This meant going out before the exercise periods started to drop off the survivors and their Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape instructors in remote regions of southern Arizona and New Mexico," Major Campbell said.

The 1 HS also supported public affairs and distinguished visitor missions.

"Our crews flew U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords from Arizona's 8th congressional district to give her a chance to see the exercise in full-swing," Major Campbell said . "She had a 'terrific flight experience' and called Angel Thunder a 'tremendous event'."

Also taking part in the exercise were participants from 13 foreign nations and 11 government agencies, to include the DEA, FBI, Department of State, and the Peace Corps.

"Angel Thunder helps to improve interoperability between the total force, different services, interagency and different nations," Colonel Thompson said. "It is important to provide an educational environment enabling all participants to gain a broader understanding of military, interagency and international capabilities," he said.

The 1 HS crews played an integral part during the course of the week; flying 35.5 hours in 20 sorties carrying 65 passengers in support of the exercise.

As Colonel Thompson said on numerous occasions, "Angel Thunder could not happen without Huey support."

Airman 1st Class Patrick McKenna from the 316th Wing Public Affairs office contributed to this article.

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