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    Pararescuemen of 106th Rescue Wing in Hawaii for Sharkbait



    Story by Airman Sean Madden 

    106th Rescue Wing/Public Affairs

    GABRESKI AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Westhampton Beach, N.Y. (March 13, 2018) – Members of the 103rd Rescue Squadron of the 106th Rescue Wing, here, took part in Exercise Sharkbait on Oahu, Hawaii, Feb. 27 – March 8, 2018.

    Exercise Sharkbait assembles Department of Defense resources from around the United States to simulate emergency response capability in support of NASA’s return to human spaceflight.

    “This exercise specifically identifies the strategic value of employing Guardian Angel - combat rescue officers and pararescuemen - from a C-17 aircraft, providing a global reach capability to Air Force rescue,” said Major Edward S. Boughal, 103rd Rescue Squadron Director of Operations.
    In the event of a situation, 106th Rescue Wing members would be ready to respond to NASA needs with rapid, long-range, advanced life-saving capability.

    “NASA uses the term ‘nominal’ to describe everything as normal and good to go,” said Master Sgt. Samuel Prescott, 103rd Rescue Squadron Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the exercise and a pararescueman.
    Prescott explained that the team would potentially launch in the event of a non- nominal landing emergency.

    Launching for such an incident entails taking off in a C-17A Globemaster aircraft, finding the crew module of NASA’s Orion spacecraft in open ocean, then dropping a rigid-inflatable boat followed by a team of pararescuemen and combat rescue officers from the aircraft.

    This is the second year in a row the 103rd Rescue Squadron made the trip to Hawaii to train for the NASA mission, but with some tweaks to the exercise.

    “This year was different from last year in that we focused on an actual scenario,” said Prescott. “There were role-players who were acting as astronauts in a makeshift capsule who we treated, as if in a real-world response.”

    A C-17A Globemaster aircraft and crew from the 204th Airlift Squadron with the 154th Airlift Wing assigned to the Hawaii Air National Guard, delivered the pararescue jumpers and equipment to the jump-zone over the Pacific Ocean.

    “I believe the 103rd Rescue Squadron of the New York Air National Guard and 204th Airlift Squadron of the Hawaii Air National Guard are at the tip of the spear for readiness of this potential real world mission,” said Boughal.

    In addition to aircraft from the Hawaii Air National Guard, C-17A Globemaster III aircraft and crews were provided by the 105th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard for the flights to and from Hawaii.

    “Within the Air Force we’ve had a lot of cooperation and that’s worked out just great,” said Lt. Col. Kerry McCauley, Commander of the 103rd Rescue Squadron.

    Support for the 106th Rescue Wing during exercise Sharkbait was also provided from Marines Corps Base Hawaii.

    A U.S. Navy safety boat for the Sharkbait scenario came from Marines Corps Base Hawaii as well as waterfront operations and emergency medical first responders, in the event of a medical or other emergency, said McCauley

    Marine Corps Base Hawaii has been phenomenal in their support of our training, said McCauley.

    The scope of the exercise highlighted the importance of working with other Air National Guard units and other branches of the military.
    “Everyone has a piece of the pie, their specialties and when they are all brought to the table [make] it is possible to execute a very high-level mission such as supporting NASA,” said Prescott.

    The focus of the exercise brought other subjects to light.
    “The Astronaut recovery scenario went well and there were huge lessons learned in regard to dealing with unintended issues like how to treat and shelter the team and astronaut crew in the open ocean with only an inflatable boat and 20-man life raft,” said Boughal. “Potential solutions are to incorporate the use of a larger aerial deployable rigid hulled recovery vessel that is already available to other Department of Defense components.”

    “Overall the trip was very successful with respect to our being better prepared for high-surf environments and made more of our pararescuemen familiar with the (C-17) airframe,” said Prescott.
    More capabilities are planned for future NASA support exercises with the 106th Rescue Wing.

    “Next year, we plan on adding a realistic exfiltration piece to the scenario by incorporating CV/MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to assist in the recovery of the team and astronauts from the water, showcasing the full capabilities of a potential real world long-range rescue,” said Boughal.
    NASA officials anticipate a return to manned spaceflight in late 2018.
    “Last year and this year we specifically focused on the NASA mission and I feel we’re almost at the run phase for the NASA mission,” said McCauley. “We’re ready for human space travel once again.”



    Date Taken: 03.13.2018
    Date Posted: 08.15.2018 14:57
    Story ID: 288930

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