HomeMediaArticle Display

Arctic Guardian PJs partner with Army Guard for mass casualty exercise

Arctic Guardian PJs partner with Army Guard for mass casualty exercise

Alaska Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 212th Rescue Squadron, 176th Wing, gain access to a victim by flipping a vehicle during a full mission profile exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 13, 2021. The busiest rescue force in the Department of Defense, the 212th RQS provides elite pararescuemen and combat rescue officers that are uniquely skilled in integrating air and ground capabilities to carry out the 176th Wing’s wartime and peacetime personnel recovery missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Arctic Guardian PJs partner with Army Guard for mass casualty exercise

Alaska Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 212th Rescue Squadron, 176th Wing, assess a damaged vehicle while conducting a full mission profile exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 13, 2021. The busiest rescue force in the Department of Defense, the 212th RQS provides elite pararescuemen and combat rescue officers that are uniquely skilled in integrating air and ground capabilities to carry out the 176th Wing’s wartime and peacetime personnel recovery missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Arctic Guardian PJs partner with Army Guard for mass casualty exercise

An Alaska Air National Guard HC-130J Combat King II operated by aircrew assigned to the 211th Rescue Squadron, 176th Wing, take off from Bryant Army Airfield while supporting a full mission profile exercise conducted by the 212th RQS at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 13, 2021. The busiest rescue force in the Department of Defense, the 212th RQS provides elite pararescuemen and combat rescue officers that are uniquely skilled in integrating air and ground capabilities to carry out the 176th Wing’s wartime and peacetime personnel recovery missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Arctic Guardian PJs partner with Army Guard for mass casualty exercise

Alaska Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 212th Rescue Squadron, 176th Wing, make their way back to a staging area after loading patients onto an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter while conducting a full mission profile exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 13, 2021. The busiest rescue force in the Department of Defense, the 212th RQS provides elite pararescuemen and combat rescue officers that are uniquely skilled in integrating air and ground capabilities to carry out the 176th Wing’s wartime and peacetime personnel recovery missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Arctic Guardian PJs partner with Army Guard for mass casualty exercise

An Alaska Air National Guardsman assigned to the 212th Rescue Squadron, 176th Wing, utilizes a power saw while extricating a victim during a full mission profile exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 13, 2021. The busiest rescue force in the Department of Defense, the 212th RQS provides elite pararescuemen and combat rescue officers that are uniquely skilled in integrating air and ground capabilities to carry out the 176th Wing’s wartime and peacetime personnel recovery missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Arctic Guardian PJs partner with Army Guard for mass casualty exercise

An Alaska Air National Guardsman assigned to the 212th Rescue Squadron, 176th Wing, evacutates a victim while responding to a simulated mass-casualty incident during a full mission profile exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 13, 2021. The busiest rescue force in the Department of Defense, the 212th RQS provides elite pararescuemen and combat rescue officers that are uniquely skilled in integrating air and ground capabilities to carry out the 176th Wing’s wartime and peacetime personnel recovery missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Arctic Guardian PJs partner with Army Guard for mass casualty exercise

An Alaska Air National Guard combat rescue officer, left, assigned to the 212th Rescue Squadron, 176th Wing, throws a smoke grenade while engaging opposition forces during a full mission profile exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 13, 2021. The busiest rescue force in the Department of Defense, the 212th RQS provides elite pararescuemen and combat rescue officers that are uniquely skilled in integrating air and ground capabilities to carry out the 176th Wing’s wartime and peacetime personnel recovery missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Arctic Guardian PJs partner with Army Guard for mass casualty exercise

An Alaska Air National Guard combat rescue officer assigned to the 212th Rescue Squadron, 176th Wing, communicates with an assault element while engaging opposition forces during a full mission profile exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 13, 2021. The busiest rescue force in the Department of Defense, the 212th RQS provides elite pararescuemen and combat rescue officers that are uniquely skilled in integrating air and ground capabilities to carry out the 176th Wing’s wartime and peacetime personnel recovery missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Arctic Guardian PJs partner with Army Guard for mass casualty exercise

Alaska Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 212th Rescue Squadron, 176th Wing, take cover while engaging opposition forces during a full mission profile exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 13, 2021. The busiest rescue force in the Department of Defense, the 212th RQS provides elite pararescuemen and combat rescue officers that are uniquely skilled in integrating air and ground capabilities to carry out the 176th Wing’s wartime and peacetime personnel recovery missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Arctic Guardian PJs partner with Army Guard for mass casualty exercise
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 11

An Alaska Air National Guard pararescueman assigned to the 212th Rescue Squadron, 176th Wing, saws a car door to extricate a victim during a full mission profile exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 13, 2021. The busiest rescue force in the Department of Defense, the 212th RQS provides elite pararescuemen and combat rescue officers that are uniquely skilled in integrating air and ground capabilities to carry out the 176th Wing’s wartime and peacetime personnel recovery missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Arctic Guardian PJs partner with Army Guard for mass casualty exercise
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 11

Alaska Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 212th Rescue Squadron, 176th Wing, pull an equipment sled while conducting a full mission profile exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 13, 2021. The busiest rescue force in the Department of Defense, the 212th RQS provides elite pararescuemen and combat rescue officers that are uniquely skilled in integrating air and ground capabilities to carry out the 176th Wing’s wartime and peacetime personnel recovery missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --

Alaska Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Matt Steible, a 212th Rescue Squadron pararescueman (PJ), knew that in order to get to the victim of a roadside bomb trapped under a subcompact sedan, he would have to lift the stricken vehicle.

Steible grasped the underside chassis rail and, with superhuman strength, lifted the vehicle and flipped it over like a CrossFit tire.

The superhuman powers necessary to lift the 2,500-pound vehicle didn’t come from a radioactive spider bite or exposure to gamma radiation. They were granted to Steible through teamwork and the combined strength of three of his fellow PJs.

The effort was part of an Oct. 13, 2021, mass casualty exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s Bryant Army Airfield. 

Senior Master Sgt. Jeff Hamilton, a 212th RQS senior PJ, said the exercise was designed to validate new team leaders and to further sharpen skills taught during the rigorous two-year training pipeline that every PJ passes through.

Hamilton said the field near Bryant Army Airfield was the perfect training venue because it offered rapid access to the PJs following their infiltration on a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II.

Once the HC-130 landed, the aircraft disgorged two Search and Rescue Tactical Vehicles allowing the team to tactically maneuver to the site of the notional attack where two wrecked, donated vehicles were waiting with simulated casualties complete with “moulage” makeup wounds.

The two SRTVs set up a blocking position at the perimeter of the site, and the PJs secured the area before going to work providing first aid to the simulated victims.

A few of the victims were “trapped” in a large, overturned, two-ton SUV. Before the exercise, the role players had crawled in the good side’s functioning doors, which the grading cadre members placed off limits to the responding PJs forcing them to figure out how to breach the mess of twisted metal.

The technical rescue required the use of extrication heavy artillery: electric saws and the aptly named Jaws of Life in an effort to crack open the vehicle like a can of spaghetti. 

“The plan of attack is to get at the hinges and keep on breaking it, but because the SUV was crumpled to a certain degree, it really necessitated removing every piece of metal to get the leverage to work the door free,” Steible said.

Pretty soon, a trying operation assessing, treating and evacuating victims with shrapnel wounds turned into a dicey bid for survival owing to the arrival of role-playing insurgents firing automatic weapons joined in their chorus of destruction by simulated mortar fire.

The PJs sprang into action, diving into the wood line to maneuver to the flank of the enemy position before closing in and finishing them.

“Security is the No. 1 priority,” Steible said. “We dropped the extrication duties, suppressed the threat, and then it’s a matter of getting accountability of troops in contact, reassess security, and then you can go back to extrication.”

Trapped under the subcompact sedan was a dummy simulating another victim. Devising the brute, but elegant, solution of flipping over the vehicle was obvious, Steible said.

“The simplest system is usually the best system,” he said. “It just takes a little bit of manpower to make it happen. It wasn’t hard at all once we got momentum.”

Once the PJs had loaded the victims on the SRTVs, they maneuvered to Brant Army Airfield where a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk combat search and rescue helicopter, and an 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment Alaska Army National Guard UH-60M Black Hawk medevac helicopter were waiting to evacuate them.

Steible likened the tactical exercise to physical exercise. As opposed to deadlift reps firming muscles leg and shoulder muscles, the simulated operation reinforced fundamentals and further built the team.

“A repetition is a repetition,” he said. “It’s always good to refresh those skills you have practiced before and get another look at things. Perhaps the most important thing is to decide upon what kind of ground you’re going to fight on to defend or attack. Terrain is key, and after that is communication and teamwork, which win the day.”
 

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.