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Alamo Wing Conducts Fuel Extraction Exercise

| 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs | Jan. 8, 2016

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —

Three members from the 433rd Airlift Wing's Maintenance Squadron took part in an annual fuel extraction exercise Dec. 17 here.

  

 Airmen are graded on extraction protocol, execution time, and safety.  The scenario begins when a bull horn simulates an Airman has been rendered incapacitated due to jet fuel inhalation while inside the wing of C-5A Galaxy aircraft. Once the alarm is sounded, a call is immediately placed to the dispatch office of the 502nd Air Base Wing emergency services.  As the call goes out, the remaining two Airmen begin the extraction.

 

 Senior Airman Joseph Hargrave, 433rd MXS aircraft fuel systems technician, is hoisted through a small hole beneath the aircraft's wing. Once inside, Hargrave makes contact with the downed Airman - a manikin.

 

 "Using an actual person is not realistic because they will help themselves out of the tank so it's not actually dead weight," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Rachwitz, 433rd MXS aircraft fuel systems technician. " It's totally different with a dummy because we have to actually maneuver the body around to get it out."

 

 Waiting beneath the wing is Senior Airmen Eric Garcia, 433rd MXS aircraft fuel systems technician, it is his job to take hold of the patient and secure him to the gurney. Once the patient is secured, both Airmen bring the awaiting hydraulic scissor lift down to the ground to a waiting Rachwitz. From there, Garcia and Rachwitz carry the litter outside the hanger door to wait for emergency services to arrive.

 

 The Airmen completed the exercise in a record time, of 3 minutes and 15 seconds. In a real-world scenario, every second counts. All Aircraft Maintenance personnel are trained to provide CPR and other basic life saving techniques.

 

 "The importance of this training is life and death; people don't realize how dangerous this job can be," said Master Sgt. Sandra Flores, 433rd MXS aircraft fuel systems technician. "If somebody happens to go down in one of these tanks, we are the first responders for each other, so there is a lot of training involved. We do this training because we want our people to become proficient, and know what to do in a real-world situation."