Detachment 1 leads MEDCAP exercises, emphasizes disaster preparedness

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz
  • 154th Wing Public Affairs

Approximately 40 members of the Hawaii Air National Guard Detachment 1, 154th Medical Group travelled to Nevada to lead a Medical Capabilities [MEDCAP] exercise Jan. 26 to Feb. 2.

The exercise was conducted with counterparts from the Nevada Air National Guard and California Air National Guard and was designed to validate the capabilities of the respective medical units.

Hawaii, California, and Nevada are partners in Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] region nine. The exercise marked the first time the three region nine partners were able to train together at the same time.

“It’s very rare that we get these opportunities to work together and focus specifically on medical capabilities,” said Lt. Col. James Faumuina, commander, Det 1, 154 MDG. “This is an excellent opportunity for us to practice how we can respond in support of a civilian incident.”

One of the many objectives of the exercise was to evaluate the procedures that would be employed when assisting civilian authorities and organizations with domestic disaster response.

“The key with our capability is that our airmen are qualified to work within a civilian incident,” Faumuina said. “They can integrate with many parts of the civilian emergency response system.”

According to Faumuina, recent natural disasters brought a re-focus on military civilian support to authorities.

“If you look at what happened just recently in Puerto Rico, many of the resources coming into territory were coming in from far away. We can plug into the incident response to enhance the response capability,”  Faumuina said. “In Hawaii, we need to have these capabilities since we are so far away.”

Two primary locations were utilized during the training events. Search and Extraction Rescue training was facilitated at Federal Fire Department facilities in Nellis Air Force Base while classroom instruction and certification courses were held at the North Las Vegas Readiness Center.