148th Fighter Wing conducts major accident response exercise

Members of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad configure GPS and radio handsets prior to launching rescue watercraft at Fish Lake July 11, 2011. Communication between the watercraft and the command and control units on land was made possible by the mobile communication vehicles that both the 148th Fighter Wing and St. Louis Rescue Squad brought to the exercise.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington)

Members of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad configure GPS and radio handsets prior to launching rescue watercraft at Fish Lake, Duluth, Minn. July 11, 2011. Communication between the watercraft and the command and control units on land was made possible by the mobile communication vehicles that both the 148th Fighter Wing and St. Louis Rescue Squad brought to the exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington)

Members of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad prepare Capt. David A. Betts for transport during a major accident response exercise at Fish Lake, Duluth, Minn. July26, 2011.  The exercise simulated rescuing a pilor after an F-16 crashed into a lake.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington)

Members of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad prepare a 148th Fighter Wing pilot for transport during a major accident response exercise at Fish Lake, Duluth, Minn. July 26, 2011. The exercise simulated rescuing a pilot after an F-16 crashed into a lake. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington)

Members of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad and Fredenberg Rescue Squad lift the recovered 148th Fighter Wing pilot safely to shore after transport across Fish Lake July 11, 2011.  Throughout the pilot's ride across the lake, members of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad simulated medical treatment and coordinated with their counterparts back on shore.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington)

Members of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad and Fredenberg Rescue Squad lift the recovered 148th Fighter Wing pilot safely to shore after transport across Fish Lake July 11, 2011. Throughout the pilot's ride across the lake, members of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad simulated medical treatment and coordinated with their counterparts back on shore. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington)

Fish Lake Reservoir, Duluth, Minn. -- Members of the 148th Fighter Wing Communications Squadron, Fire Hall, Safety Office, Security Forces Squadron, St. Louis County Rescue Squad, and Fredenberg Rescue Squad conducted a major accident response exercise (MARE) at Fish Lake Reservoir, Duluth, Minn. July 26, 2011. The exercise simulated recovering a pilot from an F-16 that had crashed into a lake. A 148th Fighter Wing pilot played the role of a wayward pilot, and through collaboration between the rescue squads and the 148th, the pilot was rescued efficiently and effectively.

"I think it went very well," said Senior Master Sgt. Kelvin R. McCuskey, 148th Fighter Wing Emergency Management. "Lots of lessons were learned, and working with the St. Louis County Rescue Squad went really well also."

Both the 148th and the St. Louis County Rescue Squad showed up to the scene with mobile command centers. Between the two vehicles, radio communication, wireless internet, long range cameras, command and control were made possible.

The exercise started with a simulated report of a crashed aircraft which was followed by members of the St. Louis Rescue Squad launching watercraft equipped with GPS. The rescue squad quickly located the pilot and proceeded to simulate medical treatment on an island and on a boat as they safely transported him from the lake back to the shore.

At the conclusion of the exercise, the pilot was brought safely to shore, and the group was debriefed. Despite small issues that were overcome during the course of the exercise, Senior Master Sgt. McCuskey reports that it went smoothly, and the obstacles have been identified for the future.