Angel Thunder Gets its Wings

Six years after beginning as an annual base-level exercise at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., Angel Thunder, the first US military personnel recovery exercise, attained official Defense Department accreditation. “This is a David and Goliath story of an exercise being founded by rescue airmen in the trenches because what we needed was not in the system,” said Brett Hartnett, exercise coordinator. Air Combat Command once again sponsored this year’s exercise, which included 46 aircraft and more than 1,000 personnel from 17 countries. Its sponsorship paved the way for Joint National Training Capability certification on Nov. 30. “With no budget, we built the world’s largest and most dynamic rescue exercise in our spare time. In turn, ACC recognized our success and made us their official personnel recovery exercise,” summed Hartnett. JNTC credentials affirm that the exercise offers a consistent standard of quality training each year. (Davis-Monthan report by A1C Saphfire Cook)