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Gunfighters conduct MARE exercise

Tech. Sgt. Brent Watkins, 366th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter tends to a simulated injury during an exercise April 5, 2018, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Major Accident Response Exercise tested first responders on dealing with a downed aircraft and securing large numbers of people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeremy D. Wolff)

Airman 1st Class Austin Miller, 366th Security Forces Squadron member is prepped as an injured party during an exercise April 5, 2018, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Major Accident Response Exercise tested first responders on dealing with a downed aircraft and securing large numbers of people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeremy D. Wolff)

Airman 1st Class Jahral Swift, 366th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter readies his hose during an exercise April 5, 2018, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Major Accident Response Exercise tested first responders on dealing with a downed aircraft and securing large numbers of people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeremy D. Wolff)

Firetrucks from the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron dose a simulated aircraft fire with water during an exercise April 5, 2018, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Major Accident Response Exercise tested first responders on dealing with a downed aircraft and securing large numbers of people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeremy D. Wolff)

Injured parties are tended to by first responders during an exercise April 5, 2018, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Major Accident Response Exercise tested first responders on dealing with a downed aircraft and securing large numbers of people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeremy D. Wolff)

First responders tend to injured parties during an exercise April 5, 2018, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Major Accident Response Exercise tested first responders on dealing with a downed aircraft and securing large numbers of people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeremy D. Wolff)

An injured Airman is loaded into an ambulance during an exercise April 5, 2018, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Major Accident Response Exercise tested first responders on dealing with a downed aircraft and securing large numbers of people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeremy D. Wolff)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Members of the 366th Fighter Wing combined their efforts to tackle a Major Accident Response Exercise here April 5, 2018.

The simulated incident centered around a jet striking a bird and crashing into a second jet parked on the ground. Once the aircraft was downed, first responders immediately jumped into action and took control of the situation. 

Staff Sgt. Joshua Coston, 366th Security Forces Squadron emergency control center controller explained the intent of the exercise is to demonstrate security forces can secure an accident and evacuate people to a safe location before medical personnel arrive.

Although these incidents are not anticipated, training for any situation is always valuable. Having everyone refreshed on their duties and at the top of their game is especially important with the Gunfighter Skies Air and Space Celebration fast approaching.  

“It’s something we’re doing in preparation for our air show, Gunfighter Skies, coming up in June,” said Major Cody Hawkinson, 366th Fighter Wing Inspector General director of inspections. “We’re looking at some of the worst case scenarios and contingencies that could come up that are specific to those air show environments with large crowds and with it being a very public event.”

Hawkinson and his team were the masterminds behind constructing and coordinating the exercise. He said they simulate or replicate scenarios to the best of their abilities. 

“That gives a controlled environment for our first responders to train and operate in," Hawkinson said. 

While first responders played a major part in this exercise, other agencies from around base and even off base all pitched in to make it as realistic and beneficial as possible. Volunteers flooded the flightline to simulate crowds and after the crash, more were brought in with numerous simulated injuries to challenge first responders.

At the end of the day, practice like this is invaluable to those tasked with keeping both military and civilians safe.

“We know exactly how we’re going to react if something happened,” Coston said. “Our number one concern is everybody’s safety.”

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