Responding Together

Rescue airmen from the 18th Wing at Kadena AB, Japan, participated in an exercise with Japanese rescue personnel Oct. 8 off the coast of Japan to practice joint emergency response procedures. During the event, members of the 31st Rescue Squadron and 33rd RQS responded to a simulated F-15E crash in the waters off Okinawa, along with Japan Coast Guard personnel and officials from additional Japanese agencies. While an HH-60G rescue helicopter plucked one of the F-15E crash “survivors” from the waters, a Japan Coast Guard helicopter rescued the second airman and a Japan Coast Guard vessel retrieved a fisherman who was “injured” by debris from the downed aircraft. Planners representing both nations said the exercise went well. Maj. J.J. Fenceroy, chief of exercises and inspections in the 18th Wing’s Plans and Programs office said the exercise demonstrated that the parties “can effectively and safely respond” together during an emergency situation. Yuji Sakoda, Japanese Director of Crisis Management for Okinawa, added, “We learned through an exercise today that we are fully capable of responding quickly should an accident happen.” (Kadena report by Maj. John Hutcheson)