ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --
Members from the 36th Contingency Response Group and Philippine air force united for the first Pacific Responder exercise Sept. 23-29, 2017, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
The week-long engagement focused on leadership planning and disaster response execution. Subject matter experts in the fields of command and control, security forces, engineering assistance, structures and aircraft maintenance came together to exchange their experiences and expertise.
“The main objectives are to improve U.S. and Philippine interoperability, understanding of the humanitarian aid and disaster relief response procedures and focus on leadership planning,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Carlo Narvasa, 36th CRG flight chief of operations.
Throughout the week, the SME’s exchanged knowledge and ideas through hands-on exercises and discussions on U.S. and PAF expertise. Each squadron within the 36th CRG welcomed the PAF representatives with demonstrations of their capabilities.
Airmen from the 36th Mobility Response Squadron set up displays of equipment ranging from forklifts to all-terrain vehicles for the first visit. Philippine airmen toured the 736th Security Forces Squadron on the second stop including the operations cell, which is responsible for coordinating plans, training, movements and communications. The 644th Combat Communications Squadron set up displays of equipment including radios and antennas. Lastly, the 554th RED HORSE Squadron demonstrated their construction equipment and capabilities.
“Now I better understand the capabilities of the 36th CRG and their criteria for disaster response,” said PAF Capt. Jean Bibon, 15th Strike Wing helicopter pilot. “After this exercise, I know that in times of a natural disaster, we will be able to come together and work more efficiently.”
The exercise concluded with a table-top scenario that put participant’s skills into practice. The scenario simulated responding to a major earthquake that struck the Philippines with a magnitude of 7.1.
“At the end of the week, it was clear that strong relationships were built between the U.S. and Philippine participants,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Rachelle Crespo, 36th CRG air advisor. “PAF utilized the knowledge provided by their U.S. Air Force counterparts during the final exercise and debrief.”
The 36th CRG intends to expand the framework of PACRESPONDER to include other partner nations and allies for four more exercises until 2021. Building strong partnerships and exchanging expertise benefits the U.S. and partner nations by enabling them to better respond together when the time arises.
“Pacific Responder 17 allowed us to increase our understanding of how the 36th CRG squadrons conduct HA/DR here on Guam,” said PAF Maj. Hazel C. Bracamonte, 602nd Aerodrome Operations Squadron commander. “The knowledge gained opens up the doors for improvement of current HA/DR procedures and work relationship among PAF and the U.S. Air Force.”