176th Wing hosts multinational humanitarian exercise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Edward Eagerton
  • 176th Wing Public Affairs
The Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing began hosting the week-long Pacific Airlift Rally here today, working with forces from 14 Pacific Rim nations to sharpen coordination for future humanitarian airlifts. It marks the first time that the bi-annual event has been hosted in North America, and the first time it has been hosted by an Air National Guard unit.

Sponsored by Pacific Air Forces, the PAR is a multinational military-airlift symposium for nations in the Indo-Pacific region. The symposium includes informational seminars, a command-post exercise that focuses on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and a field training exercise that builds upon the command-post scenario.

"It is an honor to co-host this training with the Pacific Air Forces," said Lt. Col. Tom Bolin, commander of the 176th Operations Group, in an opening statement. "These opportunities are few and far between and are important for us and our partners in the region, because it allows us to build on the capabilities to better assist in humanitarian efforts around the Pacific region."

This year's PAR is scheduled to last until Friday, Aug. 28, and is the first time that it has been hosted in one of the 50 U.S. states.

Participants of the exercise include Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, United States and Vietnam.

"By practicing various humanitarian assistance and disaster relief responses in a multilateral environment," said Bolin, "the U.S. and the Indo-Pacific nations will be better prepared to effectively deal with future natural disasters in the region."

In the command-post portion of the exercise, participants focus on the logistical and planning portion of hypothetical disaster and humanitarian assistance scenarios. This planning portion also further enhances the participants' abilities to coordinate and communicate with one another in a multinational, joint environment.

The field portion of the exercise consists of airborne operations, supply and equipment drops, search and rescue missions, hoist operations, and high-altitude air refueling operations. Aircraft utilized in the field exercise include C-130 Hercules, C-130J Super Hercules, HC-130 Kings, C-17 Globemaster III's, and HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters. Along with the Alaska Air National Guard and active duty Air Force participants, the Royal Australian Air Force will also be flying missions during the FTX.

"We're proud to be a part of this," said Bolin. "We look forward to the good lessons that will be learned together in this exercise, and partnerships it will build."