Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point --
It’s the Friday night air show and everything is going as planned. All of the sudden a loud noise and smoke erupts from a static display of a KC-130J cargo aircraft.
This was the scenario that Cherry Point emergency personnel saw come to life during a mass casualty exercise, May 5.
By Marine Corps order, Cherry Point personnel must perform a mass casualty exercise each year within 30 days of an air show, according to Joseph Slappey, the air station’s mission assurance program manager.
This training helps prepare the air station’s emergency personnel for the upcoming air show and any potential mishaps, said Master Sgt. Daniel W. Sable, a crash chief with the station’s aircraft rescue firefighters.
“The scenario that we put into action this evening put our Marines and Sailors aboard the air station to the test,” said Sable. “We used actual Marines to act as the terrorist and injured victims.”
The exercise tested the abilities of the air station’s military police, fire department, medical hazardous material response, and emergency operations and command operations center personnel, to name a few.
After the simulated explosion occurred, AARF teams rushed to the scene and began putting out the fire that had erupted from the aircraft.
Once the fire was out, AARF Marines and members of the Cherry Point fire departments went to work moving the injured from the scene to a designated medical facility.
The scenario put the workers to the test, forcing them to determine the medical priority of the individual role players.
After the area was cleared, the Marines and Sailors reviewed their process and waited for the next radio call.
Explosive ordnance disposal personnel discovered a piece of unexploded ordnance placed near fuel tanks.
“We have found that 90 percent of the time terrorists will detonate a decoy in order to distract authorities, so they may set up a bigger, more dangerous explosion,” said Sable. “We wanted to really test our EOD technicians by doing that same kind of thing.”
Overall, the Marines and Sailors did their part to make sure everything was done to perfection, said Sable.
“All teams did great, and I feel that if something did ever happen aboard the air station that our men and women would execute their jobs perfectly,” said Sable.