CLARK FREEPORT—More than 500 military personnel led by Filipino and American teams participated in exercises simulating an air evacuation in a mass casualty scenario at a former United States Air Force base in Pampanga province.
Teams from the Philippine Air Force (PAF), United States Air Force (USAF), and contingents from other nations load people onto stretchers into a USAF C-130 aircraft during a mock medical evacuation during a volcanic eruption.
The rescue plane flew to Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu to simulate an in-flight medical response and casualty transfer.
The exercise was part of the week-long Pacific Airlift Rally, which the PAF co-hosted with the US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) for the first time. It aims to improve multilateral airlift training and interoperability among Indo-Pacific nations.
“Training in aeromedical evacuation response is very important as it is sometimes the only way to reach remote areas affected by disasters,” said Captain Julian Argillas of the PAF.
“The Philippines is the epicenter of many disasters,” he said.
“It is a reality we currently live in and it is something we practice every day and we are happy to share our best practices learned from dealing with real issues in disaster response with other nations,” Argillas said.
Major André Bostic, PACAF, said it was important to train with partners to better prepare them for future emergencies.
“Working and sharing our ideas makes us all better and prepares us as a team to respond in the event of a disaster. It is best to build relationships now for future disasters,” he said.
The exercises involved 578 participants from the armed forces of the Philippines, 109 from the USAF and 92 others from Japan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Timor -Light.
Major General Virgilio Villanueva, a PAF C-130 pilot, said the PAF could send 578 men to the exercise as it was in the Philippines.
“We have limited resources to send everyone to train overseas. But as it stood here, we were able to send more to learn from their counterparts,” Villanueva said.
Other activities in the week-long exercise involved flight training and other exercises.
Villanueva said they had practiced dropping cargo from altitudes as low as 500ft using “low-cost” disposable parachutes for disaster areas without landing sites.
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