LIELVARDE AIR BASE, Latvia - With NATO Allies constantly working together to ensure safety across Europe, there are many scenarios that local forces need to be ready to handle. Soldiers from 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, helped stage one such scenario for Latvian firefighters at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia on Aug. 29, 2017.
During the afternoon participants from the Lielvarde Air Base Fire Department, Ogre City Fire Department, and US Army personnel simulated a downed UH-60 Black Hawk in a field. The event is held quarterly and helps medics and firefighters train for unexpected scenarios, like responding to a burning aircraft.
The participants in the exercise were an American aircrew along with Latvian military and civilian emergency services. Tending to the injured in the immediate area of the Black Hawk was the primary responsibility of both the civilian and military fire departments upon arriving to the staged crash site. This included getting them clear of the aircraft and notifying medics of casualty status.
US Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Wohlford, of the Alpena Readiness Training Center, Michigan Air National Guard sheds some light on the training objective for the day.
"The main focus of this exercise was to get the Lielvarde Fire Department with the Ogre Fire Department to work at extinguishing a downed aircraft," he said.
American soldiers of the 3-10 GSAB are in Latvia as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a NATO mission involving the US and its Allies and partners in promoting peace and regional stability across Eastern Europe.
Latvian firefighters found their objective and moved on it without hesitation, spraying water in the direction of the Black Hawk. From the moment they arrived they moved with haste, addressing a faux fire as though it was really a burning helicopter. They carved a path and fearlessly set out to assess the exercise casualties. While firefighters dragged the soldiers to a safe area established by medical personnel, they were also quick to lend aid to their would-be patients.
US Army Spc. Dylan Alameda, a medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3-10 GSAB spoke on how his work alongside his Latvian Allies turned out.
"It's been an eye opening experience with the language barrier and the differences in medical procedures on the Latvian side. Overall, I've learned a lot of new things and that's been a great experience," he said.
The exercise was successfully completed in a short amount of time, showcasing the readiness of each department to respond to unfamiliar demands. In the event of a future emergency, these teams of NATO Allies walked away knowing they were ready for anything.