911th MXS train in fuel tank extraction exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman James Fritz
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

“Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!” the radio chattered. Senior Airman Jonas Jason, 911th Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuel systems maintainer, picked up his radio and declared, "I have an Airman who has fallen unconscious!" And thus the extraction exercise began.

Reserve Citizen Airmen with the 911th MXS exercised response procedures in the event a maintainer needs to be rescued from inside the wing of a C-17 Globemaster III at the Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, Nov. 7, 2020.

The annual exercise helps Airmen remember their roles when an emergency extraction situation arises and provides practice in performing these roles in an efficient and timely manner.

“The exercise helps us identify procedures for removing individuals incapable of self-rescue from fuel tanks on the C-17 weapons system,” said Master Sgt. Richard Scott, 911th MXS aircraft fuel systems repair section supervisor.

Exercise participants practiced extracting a simulated unconscious Airman from the aircraft, moving them to a safe location and applying self-aid buddy care procedures until an ambulance and firefighters arrived.

“I believe some individuals may get nervous, which could cause them to forget what they need to do or say,” said Scott. “It’s a different feel performing the motions in front of spectators as opposed to if it were a real-world emergency when adrenaline kicks in.”

The exercise not only tests the response of individual Airmen, but also tests the response times for emergency vehicles.

 “We have to get ahold of the fire department and see what their response time would be so that if we did have this happen in real life, we would have an idea of how long we would have to be waiting,” said Senior Airman Mahlon Kester, 911th MXS aircraft fuel systems maintainer.

The 911th Airlift Wing does not have a stand-alone fire department on the installation and therefore relies on the assistance of the neighboring Allegheny County Airport Authority Fire Department. Exercises like this familiarize Airmen not only with their own responsibilities but also the roles of the 911th AW’s partner agencies.

“I think it helped everyone see what their roles would be in an emergency situation and how they would react,” said Kester. “So this just reinforces what we should be doing, when we should be doing it and how quickly we should be doing it.”