By Penny Randall / Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
In order to evaluate the readiness and response time of base personnel at Naval Air Station Meridian, the installation conducted a training exercise on Wednesday.
Participants dealt with a mock scenario of a T-45C Goshawk crashing south of the east runway. Two pilots ejected from the jet before impact and were injured.
Departments that played a key role in the exercise included emergency management, fire and emergency services, safety, security and air operations.
Tenant commands that also provided key support to this exercise included Training Air Wing One and Naval Facilities Command Detachment, Meridian.
"This was an opportunity to exercise command response in a scenario that could easily occur at NAS Meridian," said Capt. Charles C. Moore II, NAS Meridian commanding officer. "The last aircraft mishap on board NAS Meridian was in 2008. Vigilance and updated emergency response training is the best way to ensure the air station is ready for similar events in the future."
NAS Meridian Fire and Emergency Services responded to the scene of the jet which was simulated to be on fire. Firefighters arrived with three T1500 crash trucks that would extinguish the fire and a ground SAR unit used to assist firefighters in search and rescue of the two pilots. Two ambulances were used to transport the injured pilots.
"The exercise was a perfect opportunity for firefighters to train on terrain that they are not used to," said Fire Chief Andrew Clayton. "We also had the opportunity to put into use some of our equipment that needed to be tested. The more hands-on training our firefighters and EMTs can get, the better."
The crash exercise was the culmination of several months of planning by NAS Meridian's Installation Training Team.
"The exercise was an opportunity for firefighters, medical personnel, security, air operations and emergency crews to practice working together more efficiently," said Chuck Martin, NAS Meridian's Installation Training Program Manager.
About 40 personnel, including 15 firefighters, participated in the exercise, which was evaluated by a team of experts from the Navy Region Southeast Training Team.
Naval Installation Command requires that drills such as these be conducted at least four times a year.