McEntire Airmen crash into training
By Amn Megan Floyd, 169 Fighter Wing
/ Published May 15, 2015
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Consider this scenario, an aircraft coming in for a routine landing has been damaged, leaving a trail of aircraft parts and debris in its wake. The F-16 Fighting Falcon came to a slow, grinding halt in the middle of the runway.
This is the scenario that personnel from various base maintenance shops and support agencies participated in as a simulated Major Aircraft Recovery Exercise (MARE), May 6 here.
"We exercise all elements of the scenario so that if we have a real-world incident we know how to execute our procedures and guidelines as well as maintain our proficiency," said Maj. Alvin McConkey, the Director of Inspections for the 169th Fighter Wing. "We like to exercise the base as a whole to ensure we get the flow correct."
This was part of a routine inspection to observe how the base would follow set procedures and mitigate any obstacles that can be caused by the uncertainty and unpredictability of a real world scenario. Using a static F-16 Fighting Falcon with a simulated nose gear collapse, personnel and first responders received an opportunity to get hands-on experience and learn what it may feel like to actually be on scene.
"It helps people wrap their head around what we're actually doing," said Master Sgt. Bronson Priebe, the Crash Damaged Disabled Aircraft Recovery (CDDAR) team chief with the 169th Maintenance Squadron. "It gives our team situational awareness, hands-on experience and it builds their confidence level."
The CDDAR team's responsibility is to move the damaged aircraft from the scene with as little secondary damage as possible.
"We don't want to cause any more damage to the airplane," said Priebe. "That aircraft can easily be repaired and returned to service, but if we were to do something wrong, the aircraft may never be flyable again, and then we've lost an asset."
McEntire firefighters were on scene as well. Wearing full proximity suits, they made sure that the aircraft was secure and safe enough to transport.
"Training is always good," said civilian firefighter Capt. Anthony Downs, the station captain with the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron. "We fight the way we practice, we save lives the way we practice. If we can do it right here, we can do it right in the real world."
Another MARE has been scheduled for July.