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Pacific Lifeline in full swing

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Patrick Mitchell and Capt. Ben Beliles
  • 36th Air Expeditionary Wing
Pacific Air Forces' first-ever total force humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise is in full swing at three locations within the Hawaiian Islands.

Dubbed "Pacific Lifeline," approximately 900 Department of Defense personnel are participating in the 13th Air Force-led exercise which provides an integrated team of Air Force and Army active-duty, Air National Guard and Reserve component forces a training environment to test their abilities to respond to and support humanitarian and natural disaster relief operations within the Pacific Region.

At the Kona International Airport, the exercise brings the 36th Contingency Response Group from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and the 3rd Medical Group, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, together along with Airmen and Soldiers from numerous other units to turn a bare base into a fully functional aeromedical staging and evacuation facility.

"The training provided by this exercise is going to enhance PACAF's capability to respond swiftly and effectively to future humanitarian disasters in the Pacific area of operations," said Col. Kevin G. Kersh, 36th Air Expeditionary Wing commander. "Analysis of past humanitarian response operations have led us to this model for rapid response to humanitarian relief efforts that we are exercising here.

"This is a great opportunity to bring all these people together in a training environment," Colonel Kersh continued. "These are the same people we will be working with if this were a real world mission."