Team Ramstein completes fully integrated evacuation exercise

by Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

More than 70 Airmen were on hand May 3 to test Team Ramstein’s ability to evacuate noncombatants from a mock conflicted area.

Service members from the 86th and 786th Force Support Squadron, 435th Contingency Response Group and the 1st Combat Communications Squadron all played a part in processing, screening and providing security and transport for the members role-playing as evacuees in a non-combatant evacuation operation exercise.

The exercise helped base agencies prepare in the event that U.S. citizens need to be evacuated from foreign countries.

“We went from a bare base to fully operational in six hours,” said Capt. Chris Price, 435th CRG Contingency Response Element director of operations.

The exercise allows Team Ramstein to practice the Air Force’s role in evacuating personnel in a controlled environment.

“The last time Ramstein participated in a NEO exercise was in 2006,” said Price. “With this exercise, we are revalidating the (NEO) concept and learning what the process looks like. We do this while learning the fundamental elements involved in the transfer of personnel in a country that may not speak English.”

The evacuees started as a large gaggle in front of a transient tent with different forms of identification and scenarios. They finished on the other side, tagged, screened and ready to board the mock aircraft (bus) destined for a safe haven away from the “conflict.”

“Amidst all the different scenarios, the Airmen of all the units pulled together to make it possible,” said Price. The Airmen were brainstorming on the spot and using critical thinking to find solutions to the challenges presented. The scenarios challenged Airmen by providing real-world contingencies like injuries, intoxications and other unexpected human factors.

“(The processing line) handled everything great and the setup was well organized for the time they had to put it together,” said Senior Airman Richard Spurgeon, who played an intoxicated evacuee.

Another piece of the movement of personnel was the non-combatant evacuation operation electronic tracking system. The NEO tracking system provides accountability for personnel evacuating and allows for quick identification throughout the entire process.