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NEWS | May 19, 2011

JBSA exercise near Seguin tests Randolph's response to T-38 crash

By Robert Goetz 502nd Air Base Wing OL-B Public Affairs

The crash of an Air Force trainer jet is an uncommon event, but preparing for such an incident is an integral part of the service's overall mission.

An off-base major accident response exercise carried out Tuesday on the east side of Seguin, Texas, tested 502nd Air Base Wing and Randolph Air Force Base personnel's ability to respond to the crash of a T-38 Talon.

Col. Scott Peel, 902nd Mission Support Group commander, said participants in Exercise Joint Base San Antonio 11-04 successfully met their objectives.

"Today's exercise tested our ability to relocate and operate during an aircraft accident and the base's team meshed together to meet the challenge expertly," said Colonel Peel, who directed and monitored the exercise from the Emergency Operations Center at Randolph. "Each emergency exercise provides us with necessary training to ensure that we are ready in case of a real-world emergency. Every member from contracting to safety to environmental and casualty affairs responded and delivered on time every time. I am proud of our team here and confident that the consistent training is invaluable to our successes."

The scenario involved the collision of a T-38 with a large flock of birds on the aircraft's approach to a runway at Randolph's Seguin Auxiliary Field and its subsequent crash on the airfield. The pilot successfully ejects prior to the crash and suffers minor injuries while performing his parachute-landing fall, but the passenger, who was taking an incentive flight, ejects and is severely injured.

"The idea of this exercise was to stress the 502nd Air Base Wing and Randolph's capability to support a major accident off base involving an aircraft mishap," said Chris Kelly, 502nd Air Base Wing Operating Location-B chief of plans, programs and exercises. "With an exercise like this, there are a whole lot of objectives."

Some two dozen participants from Randolph, including the incident commander, emergency first responders and Mobile EOC team members, converged on the area to extinguish the fire at the crash site, treat the pilot and passenger and transport them for further medical evaluation, ensure the safety of people in the affected area and perform other tasks.

Other participants were Randolph Exercise Evaluation Team leaders at the EOC, the 502nd ABW crisis action team at JBSA headquarters, Fort Sam Houston, and a host of active-duty and civilian personnel from all over Randolph representing the 12th Flying Training Wing, the 902nd MSG and other organizations.

The exercise also required coordination with city of Seguin and Guadalupe County law enforcement officers and emergency responders, Mr. Kelly said.

A "hot wash" - a meeting to discuss lessons learned from the exercise - was conducted the next day.

"During a hot wash, we go over the things we noted during the exercise," Mr. Kelly said. "We can always make improvements. The hot wash allows us to make corrections and build better processes."