Third Air Force has developed a new, quick-response humanitarian assistance capability to support the European theater, and on Monday, they launched a 36-hour Humanitarian Relief Operation 9-1-1 exercise to test it.
The exercise scenario challenged 3rd Air Force’s and Team Ramstein’s ability to immediately respond to a natural disaster within the U.S. European Command area of responsibility with vital assistance.
The exercise scenario simulated an 8.7 Richter scale earthquake with mass casualties and damage to critical support infrastructure.
Over the past six months, 3rd Air Force has worked to develop an agile, tailorable capability to respond to and assess emergency relief requirements anywhere within the USEUCOM area of responsibility.
“The goal of the exercise was to validate the operations planning and the actual load configuration of the six C-130 aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Ron Lueb, the 3rd Air Force lead planner for the exercise.
At 10 a.m. Monday, the call came for 3rd Air Force to test its new capability.
Within 16 hours, the first C-130 aircraft was packed and ready to depart Ramstein for the simulated disaster area. The last of six C-130 aircraft was prepared to deploy 20 hours later.
“Team Ramstein processed deployers − comprised primarily of airlift controllers, civil engineers, emergency medical and communication personnel − and approximately 101 short tons of cargo in a very short time and surpassed all the mission objectives,” Colonel Lueb said.
The 100-person response team was largely comprised of medical personnel from the 435th Air Base Wing and contingency response and communications personnel from the 86th Airlift Wing, as well as key experts from the U.S Air Forces in Europe staff.
“We share a commitment with all of our regional allies of promoting peace, stability and opportunity in the European region, and maintaining a quick response humanitarian team will further promote this common goal,” said Lt. Gen. Rod Bishop, 3rd Air Force commander.
“With this capability, we are poised to do a great deal of good for a lot of people during the critical early aftermath of a natural disaster. It also sends a strong message to our allies that we care about them.”
“This test of a very complex system makes it so much easier to respond when, and I do say ‘when,’ the next humanitarian crisis occurs,” General Bishop added.