Off to Arizona for Exercise Angel Thunder
As those who read the magazine know, I've been working on a series of stories based on the military services. I did an embed with the Army in Afghanistan (July magazine) and with the US Marine Corps in Senegal (December magazine.) So, I've been trying to lock down the other services as well. Looks like I am headed to the arctic with the Coast Guard out of Kodiak, AK this summer, but this came down a few weeks ago giving me an opportunity to spend time with the Air Force:
The largest search and rescue exercise in the world is about to kick off, with the Air Force leading scenarios based on real-life problems the military and civilian agencies are likely to experience.
Exercise Angel Thunder, kicking off April 8 in the Arizona desert, features more than 2,000 personnel from the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, civilian agencies and international partners, with 23 ships and 87 aircraft. The Air Force is flying its Pave Hawks, A-10s, tankers and intelligence aircraft for the two-week exercise, which will range from the Grand Canyon to San Clemente Island in California.
“The rescue exercise is crafted and executed by rescue professionals for rescue personnel,” said Col. Jason Hanover, exercise director and the 563rd Rescue Group commander at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. “Each year we take a look at the operating environment, craft scenarios that are relevant to what’s going on in the world.”
I'm going to be running around with a PJ unit (Pararescue Jumpers) from Nevada during the exercice. Should be pretty awesome. Will be there for about 2 weeks, so posts might be every-other-day instead of every day, but a lot will depend on the OP Tempo. I'm somewhat ignorant on PJs in general, so have to do a lot of research between now and Sunday morning when I head out!