Biannual Angel Thunder exercises test CSAR capabilities

Library image: US Air Force pararescuemen with the 58th Rescue Squadron prepare for aerial transport during personnel recovery training at Pond Lading Zone during Angel Thunder 17 in Tucson, Arizona, 11 May (US Air Force / Staff Sgt Marianique Santos)

This year’s second Angel Thunder exercise began at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, US, on 4 November. The biannual Angel Thunder exercises focus on testing combat search and rescue (CSAR) capabilities. The previous Angel Thunder exercise was held at the air base on 6 to 19 May.

The current two-week-long exercise features US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps participants, along with service members from Canada, France, Italy and Poland, to conduct training to prepare to support survivors, referred to as isolated personnel, in a deployed environment.

“We want to create scenarios where these different Department of Defense entities have to come together to solve a problem," said US Air Force Lt Col Robert Rosebrough, director of operations for Detachment 1, 414th Combat Training Squadron. “We want them to play to each other’s strengths and mitigate each other’s weaknesses.”

The Air Combat Command-sponsored exercise will use a variety of scenarios to simulate deployed conditions and contingencies, he said: “The main point of these exercises is to give the participants as much practice as possible before going downrange. They can use the experience they gain from these simulations to make knowledgeable decisions while in a deployed environment.”

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