US, Seychelles militaries partner to hone search, rescue procedures
Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa service members assigned to the 81st and 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadrons recently completed a week-long joint military training engagement alongside the Seychelles Air Force and Coast Guard where best medical and search and rescue operations practices were shared.
The event was divided into several classroom learning sessions and culminated with a joint training exercise that offered all attendees an opportunity to use the skills they'd learned.
"The training focused on a variety of subjects," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Desautels, CJTF-HOA Personnel Recovery Coordination Center director. "We covered everything from basic medical procedures like CPR and improvised splinting techniques, to detailed search and rescue procedures, fundamentals of air and rescue drops, and water survival."
According to U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Owens, 82 ERQS survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist, this exercise was intended to expand their knowledge of search and rescue, planning, and command and control operations.
"We're constantly training; and as a result, we've become very proficient at these operations," Owens said. "By sharing this information with our partner nations, we can help improve their general knowledge of the subject matter and enhance their ability to conduct these operations efficiently."
Another key aspect of the exercise was the partnership built between the SAF and the SCG.
"The Seychelles Air Force is still a relatively new addition to the Seychelles military," said Owens. "This exercise demonstrated the value of working with the coast guard and working as a team." The final evolution of the week simulated an aircraft crash and required the SAF and SCG to work together to locate the survivors and successfully complete the mission.
"Once the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center received notification of the crash, they contacted the SAF," Desautels said. "The SAF then had to locate the survivors from the air and relay that position to an SCG vessel, which would ultimately arrive to rescue the survivors."
"You can never have too many resources," Owens said. "This is especially true during a search-and-rescue operation where someone is depending on you to find them. By collaborating with one another, the SAF and the SCG will significantly improve their ability to locate missing personnel."
Joint operations like these enhance regional stability and strengthen the relationships between CJTF-HOA and its partner nations.
"The SAF and the SCG were very appreciative of the assistance we provided them during this exercise," Desautels said. "There is definitely potential for future operations."