COASTS OF DELAWARE AND MARYLAND – The U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force and Marines conducted a routine search and rescue exercise off the coasts of Delaware and Maryland this week.
The exercise, which took place on Tuesday, simulated an aircraft incident, the need to search and rescue crew and respond to debris in the water.
The purpose of the exercise was primarily to improve interoperability and the ability to communicate quickly, coordinate resources and collaborate to respond to emergencies. Second, to test and provide realistic feedback on existing policies, plans, procedures, and agreements with the Coast Guard and Department of Defense partner units in the U.S. Coast Guard Fifth District area of responsibility.
“Any opportunity to train with our DOD counterparts will always be invaluable,” said Coast Guard senior planner and exercise controller Lt. Andrew Hallock. “In this case, we were able to pool our resources and expertise in this simulated search and rescue case to achieve a successful outcome. We learn so much by seeing how each operates and we really get a sense of our service partner’s culture in these situations, but one thing we universally share is our dedication to the preservation of life.
“This annual search and rescue exercise allows us to join our DOD and Coast Guard counterparts in evaluating our ability to work together and respond to a real incident requiring a joint service response,” said the Lt. Geoffrey Fries, a search and rescue officer assigned to the US Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 2. “In today’s environment, situations like this with increasing levels of complexity, having a partner like the Coast Guard, with such specialized search and rescue knowledge and experience, can save lives. The coordination demonstrated between these agencies gives us all confidence in the event of a real emergency. I was deeply impressed by the professionalism and competence of the Coast Guard. We look forward to future operations between services.
Some of the participating units included:
- United States Fleet Forces Command
- Seymour Johnson Air Force Base
- Patuxent River Naval Air Station
- 2nd Fleet Battle Surveillance
- Marine Aircraft Group 14
- Air Force Rescue Coordination Center
Some of the participating assets included:
- Coast Guard Cutter Rollin Fritch, a 154ft fast response cutter
- Coast Guard Cutter Bonito, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat
- A 47-foot motor lifeboat from Indian River Inlet Coast Guard Station
- An MH-65 Dolphin from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City
- An MH-60 Jayhawk from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City
- An HC-130J Hercules from Elizabeth City Air Station
- A Navy H-60 Seahawk
- An FA-18 Super Hornet
The previous year’s exercise took place off Cape Lookout, North Carolina, testing the satellite notification system, emphasizing internal and external communications plans and safely recovering two simulated airmen shot down using Coast Guard and Navy aircraft.