DVIDS – News – Hawaii National Guard joins Philippine Armed Forces in Urban Search and Rescue Exchange for Pacific Partnership 2023
The Hawaii National Guard recently engaged in a significant Urban Search and Rescue(USAR) and Mountain Search and Rescue(MOSAR) Subject Matter Expert Exchange, collaborating with the 505th Search and Rescue Group, Philippine Air Force, and the 525th Engineer Combat Battalion, 51st Engineer Brigade, Philippine Army.
This event, held in San Fernando City, La Union, Philippines from August 15-31, 2023, supported the U.S. Pacific Fleet Pacific Partnership 2023 with the objective to enhance technical disaster response skills and promote interoperability for effective humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
The exchange included training on MOSAR technical skills with a focus on ropes rescue for three days, followed by three additional days dedicated to USAR technical skills.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to work side-by-side with the Hawaii Army National Guard Soldiers, the Armed Forces and partnerships in the Philippines,” said Tech. Sgt. Jane Cabusao, 154th Medical Group Detachment 1, urban search and rescue team member. “We were able to collaborate on our technical skills as well as gain an understanding of our cultures.”
These skills covered collapsed structure rescue, shoring, confined space rescue, USAR structure identification, and structure assessment signs and markings. The exchange culminated in a comprehensive earthquake simulation on August 29, 2023.
“We work with the host nation and our partners and try to find ways to increase capacity in the ways that they already have been training,” explains Capt. Aaron Hew Len, 93rd Civil Support Team chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high yield explosives officer-in-charge. “In this case, we worked on a medical line of effort, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief line of effort. We identify readiness capability gaps or limitations and continue to improve.”
Acknowledging strengths and weaknesses is pivotal when developing effective plans and processes. This multilateral exercise is designed to reinforce the Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief mission lines of effort and to foster effective decision making and continuous improvement.
“There’s not always going to be a perfect execution in a situation fraught with fear and disaster,” explains Hew Len. “But if we can think through the processes we were trained on in these scenarios, we can be successful.”
Participation in training exercises like PP23 offers Hawaii National Guardsmen valuable knowledge and skills, as well as opportunities for collaboration with services they don’t typically interact with. Yet, for 1st Sgt. Rodolfo Acosta, a Hawaii Army National Guard Soldier who left his home country at the age of four and returned as an adult, this experience allowed him to make a meaningful contribution to his community.
“Being born here and being Filipino is like helping the community that is so close to my hometown,” said Acosta. “Giving them my experience and knowledge in urban search and rescue is important because Filipinos live in a place that has so many natural disasters. At least I get to kind of help out and share my knowledge.”
Recognizing the participation of Filipino-American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen, Hew Len highlighted their substantial contribution to the exercise’s success, attributed to their cultural awareness and sensitivity nurtured by their Filipino upbringing.
“I am grateful for the positive impact of individuals with Filipino-American heritage, transforming the environment into a family-oriented one that significantly improved interactions with partners in the Indo-Pacific region,” expressed Hew Len.
The day-long event came to an end with a special expression of gratitude from U.S. Navy Capt. Claudine Calouri, PP23 mission commander.
“I just want to say thank you so much, watching you this morning was absolutely incredible,” said Calouri. “Thanks for the enthusiasm and for your contribution to make the exercise successful.”
Pacific Partnership is the longest-running multinational humanitarian assistance disaster relief mission in the Indo-Pacific. Each year, the mission team collaborates with host and partner nations to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, bolster security and stability in the region, and nurture new and enduring friendships within the Indo-Pacific. Presently in its 18th year, this initiative also marks 23 years of collaboration between the Hawaii National Guard and the Philippine Armed Forces.
|Date Posted:||09.06.2023 01:46|
|Location:||SAN FERNANDO, LA UNION, PH|
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