BLADEN LAKES, N.C. --
U.S. Marines with Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 26, local first responders and emergency management teams partnered with Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River Emergency Management to conduct an aviation mishap drill at Bladen Lakes Tactical Landing Zone on Dec. 1. The exercise was an opportunity for aviation squadrons from MCAS New River to provide our civilian partners with critical training in the case of an aviation mishap.
Even though this was an internal MAG-26 exercise, personnel from the MCAS New River Emergency Management team provided local first responders and emergency agencies additional instruction, guidance and coordination on what to do if there was an aviation incident hours away from MCAS New River.
“It’s important for the local community, those who will actually be there if a mishap happens, to be familiar with the aircraft, understand extraction protocols while also considering hazards when dealing with a downed aircraft,” said Kert Lang, MCAS New River Emergency Manager.
The downed aircraft exercise gave emergency personnel a realistic idea of what to expect in the event of a downed MV-22B Osprey. Along with the MAG-26 safety leadership, MCAS New River Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting, Provost Marshal Office and Communication Strategy and Operations Marines participated and partnered with their local counterparts to discuss the pertinent information when it comes to firefighting, law enforcement assets and informing the public.
“We thank you for this training. We’re going to update our internal protocol for an incident like this,” said Carrie McCullen, education forest supervisor with the North Carolina Forest Service.
In a situation where a crash is outside of the air station, local emergency units will be the first to respond. It is important that the partnership and communication between the Marine Corps crash crew and local responders are established now to ensure a quick response and immediate treatment in case of an actual incident. The Bladen Lakes Tactical Landing Zone was selected for this exercise as it is frequently used by squadrons from MCAS New River for training.
“We appreciate [the local community responders] time and the value that [they] provide us. It gives us a peace of mind that [they] will help us if we get in a jam,” said Maj. Zachary Lamar, director of safety and standardization, MAG-26.
The following local agencies took part in the drill:
- NC Emergency Management Area 5
- NC State Parks
- NC Forest Services
- NC Wildlife Resources Commission
- Bladen County Emergency Management
- Elizabethtown Fire Department
- White Lake Fire Department
- New Hanover County/Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue