HomeNewsFeatures

Feature Search

Cope North 2019 Week 2: Weathering the storm, strengthening alliances

During COPE North 19, Japan, Australia, and United States Air Forces joined together to practice humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions so that when disaster strikes, these allied nations can work together to help out their partners.

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --

Within 24-hours after Super Typhoon Wutip passed, COPE North forces resumed executing rapid response capabilities by establishing a bare base and contingency runway on Tinian, a small island in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands.

“In three days we went from exercising planning, to contingency response, right back into exercise execution,” said Col. Jason Cockrum, U.S. COPE North 2019 exercise director and 35th Fighter Wing Operations Group commander. “I’m really proud of our partner nations Japan and Australia and the ability and the strength of this team to make this transition and to continue on making these alliances even stronger.”

The alliance continued to prove their ability to provide rapid deployment of assets in response to a contingency operation.

“Planning was affected a bit by the storm, but didn’t significantly change anything,” said Squadron Leader Benedict Whalley, RAAF service member and Officer in Charge of the medical care facilities on Tinian.

Whalley, and other medics were responsible for providing urgent care and assisting in aeromedical evacuation scenarios. Much like his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Whalley thought the real-world delay helped to illustrate a realistic response to a humanitarian aid event that could take place after a large natural disaster.

“These and other recent events show that this exercise is based on response to real-world scenarios,” said Whalley. “Not only can scenarios like this happen, but they have happened in the last year. We have to come together to provide these sort of aeromedical evacuations in the field. This training is the same response that we would provide in a real world scenario. ”

In October 2018, Super Typhoon Yutu rocked the Northern Marianas island chain, causing massive amounts of damage and destruction in its path.  This led to humanitarian assistance and disaster response from many of the units who are participating in COPE North. These units brought real world experience to strengthen the effectiveness of the multilateral scenarios on Tinian.

Home to more than 3,000 people and about 200 kilometers from Guam, Tinian is in many ways a remote locale. It houses numerous plant, animal, and sea life and has a long history related to military affairs spanning from the Spanish colonial era to strategic use in World War II. Practicing here, far from home, under intense conditions, and with partners is an important part of maintaining readiness.

“We do these exercises a lot at home, but it’s entirely different to do it out here,” said Whalley. “It’s nice to see how differently we do common things. Seeing how the U.S. and [Japanese Air Self-Defense Force] do things makes us look at our own practices and how we can improve and better integrate into a single force.”

Lessons learned are transferrable on a large scale amongst the services. U.S. Tech. Sgt. Tyler Waters, 36th Contingency Response Group (CRG) noncommissioned officer in charge of mobility operations, said these scenarios provide a kind of training that nothing else can.

“COPE North helps us at the CRG with our deployability,” said Waters. “Of course, we all know our jobs really well and can do them on any given day. But the rapid deployment and the logistics that it takes to get all this stuff out the door, rapidly, to any location within the Pacific, that's where this exercise really helps.”

Consisting of more than thirty different jobs, the mission of the 36th CRG is to train, organize, equip and lead cross functional forces, providing initial presence to potentially austere forward operating locations as directed by Commander, Pacific Air Forces.  For Waters and his mates at the CRG, getting the chance to work with other countries is the most important investment of the exercise and the one most likely to pay dividends in the future.

 “When a disaster hits, we won’t have a chance to train,” said Waters. “Exercising with our partners right now from Australia and Japan makes all of us more prepared for deployment and redeployment. Working together makes us better, faster, more integrated and more capable.”

One of the final events of this week that proved the strength of the alliance within the region was a search and rescue (SAR) scenario, mimicking the need to remove the passengers of a simulated aircraft crash from harm’s way. The lead planner for this scenario, Tech. Sgt. Brett Darby, a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialist with the 36th CRG explained the importance of working together towards a common goal.

“Our nation’s all have our own unique way of completing missions with our own strengths and weaknesses,” Darby said. “When our goals align, especially when lives are at stake, we become immeasurably stronger together. I am always impressed every time I see our three nations working towards the same goal.”

This year’s SAR event was a prime example of the challenges that warfighters and medical experts consistently overcome in the event of a real world response to keep the Indo-Pacific region, and the people in it, safe and secure.

“At the end of it all,” said Darby. “We watched a rescue helicopter lift off, as we stood arm in arm knowing we had saved the crew of a down aircraft from a very nasty situation.  We did that together, to reach one common goal, strengthening our already solid partnerships, as one alliance.”

Social Media

Facebook Twitter
Congratulations to A1C Blade Jones, an airfield and weather systems apprentice and our newest "Team Andersen's Best" winner! When Jones is not creating improved processes he's marching in the base honor guard.
https://www.andersen.af.mil/News/Features/Article/1813931/dod-official-updated-transgender-policy-based-on-treating-all-with-dignity/ Updates to the Defense Department’s transgender policy took effect April 12, and defense officials stressed the policy is anchored in the core value of treating all service members with dignity and respect.
Make a difference and take the Living Pattern Survey! Maximum participation is encouraged and critical to the COLA (cost of living allowance) determination process for Guam. This is your opportunity for your voice to be heard! The survey is available until May 14. Visit https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/colaSurvey.cfm… and let your voice be heard.
Congratulations to Capt. Anne Freeby, chief of contracts and fiscal law with the 36th Wing Judge Advocate, for winning "Team Andersen's Best." Freeby also serves as the government's representative in courts-martial and administrative boards.
A little courtesy for the hard-working GOT fans on Guam please.
Breaking: Andersen AFB is extending its grace period for enforcement of the REAL ID act until July 15. Personnel desiring to sign guests onto base will still need to get a pass from the Pass & ID building at the North Gate during business hours only: M-F: 6 a.m. - 5:45 p.m. https://www.dhs.gov/real-id?fbclid=IwAR3a1sEp17BOD5OaUWLZP7OVGKslfC3LIRbSTcUkJ46y0iUjJ_mEGyalNOM
April is Sexual Assault Prevention Response awareness month. Yesterday, Team Andersen made the morning's blue skies even bluer during a color run: one of many events being put on to raise awareness and promote the complete eradication of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the force. For more information on SAPR services and its importance see links below: https://www.andersen.af.mil/Units/Wing-Staff-Agencies/Andersen-Support-Agencies/SARC/ https://www.dvidshub.net/video/591806/andersen-afb-sexual-assault-and-prevention-response-program
A big congratulations to our four newest Chiefs! Your determination and excellence has brought here. We look forward to seeing what you do.
36th Force Support Squadron conducted a quarterly Top Chef cooking competition Friday, April 5, to showcase the talent and skills of our Airmen. The event was held for friendly competition as well as practice for future Air Force wide cooking competitions. Congratulations to our winning team from the 36th Communications Squadron, TSgt Pacheo Morales & Mr. Robert Arellano!
Andersen AFB's drinking water continues to be safe to drink. Both the Guam Environmental Protection Agency and the 36th Wing found the water on North West Field to be safe, despite the Guam EPA's notice to stop using Pool Time chlorination tablets to sanitize a water tank on North West Field. For more information follow the link below. https://www.andersen.af.mil/News/Features/Article/1807602/andersen-air-force-base-drinking-water-continues-to-be-safe/
Leading Change from the Front
Minot Air Force Base Thanks for lending us your B-52s. We're sure the crew and maintainers are appreciating this beautiful tropical paradise during your second Winter. #WhynotMinot
National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Team Andersen is playing its part by raising awareness and promoting education on how to prevent the abuse and neglect of the most vulnerable and innocent members of our family. #NCAPM2019
Sailors from the #TeamAndersen's Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 "Island Knights" lent a hand to the firefighting effort on Nimitz hill, March 28th. “Those homes are still standing today because of the strength of the interagency partnerships and the hard work of HSC-25's Sailors to ensure our aircraft are always ready. I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team.” - HSC-25 Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Frank Loforti. read more at: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/316346/hsc-25-evacuates-cruise-passenger-fights-fire-nimitz-hill
Congratulations to Team Andersen's newest promotees! -March 29, 2019
Andersen hosted Resiliency Day Friday, Mar 29, as a team and resiliency building event. The day consisted of a 5-mile team run with obstacles, the Alpha Warrior challenge rig, a cookout, and resiliency training for the Airmen. Thank you to all the volunteers and participants who made this day a huge success! Also congratulations to the winners of the 5-mile team run, the MDG!
An update has been made to AFI 36-2903 - Service members are now authorized to have beards in uniform! The official updates and regulations can be found in AFI 36-2903.3.1.2.3. Beards (as of April 1, 2019) More information on the matter can be found in the article below! https://www.latlmes.com/breaking/air-force-permits-beards-in-uniform-1
It's National Doctor's Day on Saturday and we'd like to give a big thank you to all of Team Andersen's physicians for everything that they do to ensure we're healthy! (Top left to right: Maj. Jason Garner; Capt. Konstantine Dietrich; Bottom left to right: LT. Jessica Tedford; LT. Erik Kumetz; Capt. Casie Leightner)
New to Maxwell or @HQAirUniversity? Have orders? Make sure to check out the "Inbound personnel" tab on our website… https://t.co/5Poq1PSBYJ
(2/2) We alerted @mpdmontgomery and have been working with them on this incident. The base went into lockdown for t… https://t.co/nwRRVGWLTW
(1/2) At approx. 12:30 a.m., Airmen from 42nd Security Forces Squadron responded to suspicious activity near the fo… https://t.co/KZLGaUG2Sh
The upcoming gate schedule during the holidays: Maxwell AFB: Day Street and Kelly Street gates will be closed Nov.… https://t.co/pt2FZrIshK
Team Maxwell, Flu shots are being offered today (November 6) to Active Duty, dependents (to include children), and… https://t.co/lSjfG0yDtp
The City of Montgomery has done a lot of work to improve downtown and the city as a whole. This award is well-deser… https://t.co/yFoBc5VUfY
Some exciting things happening over in the Barnes Center at Gunter, as the First Sergeant Academy revamps curriculu… https://t.co/0Y5pRPfnZH
The Kelly St Gate will be restricted to FEMA and commercial truck traffic only, at 6 p.m. tonight and lasting throu… https://t.co/UoIvqHBCLf
Winds expected throughout the evening across central Alabama. Nothing like they've seen in Florida and the Gulf Coa… https://t.co/Wiw7vAVTBn
Tropical Storm and Hurricane warnings for counties south of Montgomery. Stay safe as #HurricaneMichael comes ashore. https://t.co/ZUfiger1pg
RT @NWSMobile: 750am - Potentially CATASTROPHIC Hurricane #Michael heading toward the Florida Panhandle this morning. This is the GOES-East…
Another @RedCross shelter is open in Alabama, this time in Troy for those with medical needs. #hurricanemicheal https://t.co/K57hlmQX6A
A new @RedCross shelter is open in Alabama for anyone displaced by #HurricaneMichael. https://t.co/uswIePOULo
We're expecting more than 800 first responders to stage out of Maxwell before moving south and support… https://t.co/YQRfek1EUu
A local Evacuee Shelter is open in Montgomery for anyone getting away from #HurricaneMichael. https://t.co/dxPoXWnHt8
Some good information on local county items in advance of #HurricaneMichael https://t.co/bxDI1dSP5u
The Maxwell Fitness Center will be housing teams supporting FEMA efforts in response to #HurricaneMichael. The Maxw… https://t.co/hPqVs3d0tK
@MaxGunFitness center will be housing teams supporting FEMA efforts in Florida and South Alabama. Today at 1500 the… https://t.co/6LXQhZYWes
Maxwell and Gunter are not in the path, but Alabama will experience some impacts. Stay safe and informed as the sto… https://t.co/GIxNpePh5E
I added a video to a @YouTube playlist https://t.co/L6qxWeTonG 2018 GOE LtCol(ret) Bill Schwertfeger (USAF) Introduction Video