News>Patriot Sands teams Reserve Airmen with federal agencies for contingency exercise
Story at a Glance
A three-day joint response exercise More than 30 Patriot Wing Airmen were part of the Patriot Sands exercise Teams of FBI and FEMA employees drove trucks and trailers ALCF members hold about five of these types of exercises per year
A Florida sunset backdrops the Westover Air Reserve Base's C-5B Galaxy Feb. 21, 2013 at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Patriot Wing Airmen flew aboard the C-5 Galaxy along with more than 70,000 pounds of cargo for Patriot Sands 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andrew Biscoe)
Senior Airman Yebel Martinez assists the FBI with loading a truck aboard an Air Force Reserve Command C-5 Galaxy Feb. 23, 2013, during Patriot Sands 2013, a joint agency exercise designed to train FEMA, the FBI and Airmen in a contingency response environment. Martinez is a 337th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andrew Biscoe)
Senior Airman David Boido helps guide Master Sgt. Lori Rysedorph with loading cargo aboard a K-loader at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., on Feb. 21, 2013. The Airmen, assigned to the 58th Aerial Port Squadron, are part of the Patriot Sands 2013 exercise that began at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 22. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andrew Biscoe)
Capt. Susan McSpadden keeps an eye on the instruments during the Patriot Sands 2013 exercise that began at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., on Feb. 22, 2013. McSpadden is a C-5 Galaxy pilot with the 337th Airlift Squadron based out of Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andrew Biscoe)
Senior Airman Mike Muise, left, Senior Master Sgt. Desmond Mullally and Tech. Sgt. Tawny Boulanger discuss airlift operations during the Patriot Sands 2013 exercise, Feb. 22, 2013 at McDill Air Force Base, Fla. Muise and Mullally are assigned to the 439th Airlift Control Flight. Boulanger is with the 58th Aerial Port Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andrew Biscoe)
Senior Airman Yebel Martinez, left, and Master Sgt. Shawn Harris assist the FBI with loading a truck aboard a Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., C-5 Galaxy Feb. 23, 2013, during Patriot Sands 2013. Martinez and Harris are 337th Airlift Squadron loadmasters. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andrew Biscoe)
by Master Sgt. Andrew Biscoe
439th AW Public Affairs
2/26/2013 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- A joint response exercise here brought Air Force and federal agencies together for a national contingency exercise, Feb. 21-23.
Patriot Sands 2013 brought Reserve Airmen and federal government agencies together to learn first-hand what they would experience in the event of a national contingency. By the end of the three-day exercise, the combined team of Airmen and federal employees generated 12 airlift missions, moved nearly 200 passengers, and airlifted 1,560 tons of cargo. A contingency response element from the 439th Airlift Wing, Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass, led the effort.
"This revalidated the FBI's and FEMA's abilities to respond to contingencies with our people and aircraft," said Lt. Col. Rodney Furr, operations officer for the exercise.
Shortly after the contingency response operations got under way Feb. 22, C-17 Globemasters from Dover AFB, Del., and Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, shuttled FEMA and FBI assets from Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla. The reserve's 512th Airlift Control Flight was the lead unit at the base.
FBI and FEMA employees drove trucks and trailers from the C-17s and onto a Westover C-5 for familiarization training in a simulated emergency response. The C-5, flown in with the Westover contingency response element and more than 70,000 pounds of cargo, was also used for static loading.
More than 30 Patriot Wing Airmen formed a contingency response element team. Six additional Airmen from the Air Force Reserve's 433rd Airlift Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, also took part.
"This is a great training opportunity for the young troops," said Master Sgt. Careyann Patterson, 58th Aerial Port Squadron air transportation craftsman.
Senior Airman Maryellen Santiago, an air transportation specialist with the 58th APS, joined the unit just eight months ago. She volunteered after learning her unit needed an exercise position filled.
"This was first-hand exposure to what it would be like to be deployed," Santiago said. "I feel good that I'm trusted to operate machinery around aircraft -- each worth millions of dollars. This made me get really focused on the detail of our operations."
Santiago and the team of aerial port Airmen waited near the flight line for each arrival, climbing aboard the aircraft to assist loadmasters in securing the trucks and trailers driven onto the C-17s by FEMA and FBI employees. The FEMA and FBI set up a short-term deployment site at MacDill before returning to Homestead.
In addition to processing cargo and passengers, CRE Airmen showed FEMA and FBI teams how to secure vehicles aboard the C-17s.
"I showed a woman from the FBI how to tie down a truck," Santiago said. "A while later she said she'd been able to do it herself with another one."
Senior Master Sgt. Desmond Mullally, ALCF superintendent, said one of the most important objectives of Patriot Sands was to give the junior enlisted a chance to get valuable training.
An example of that training was when Senior Airman Elizabeth Antunez, ALCF personnel specialist, wielded a pair of marshaling wands -- for the first time. A few hundred feet away, a C-17 crew awaited her direction.
"I felt like a tiny person next to that huge airplane," she said. "But in terms of responsibility and control, I felt big."