(Source: U.S Air Force)
12:00 AM, December 3, 2008
NEW AL MUTHANA AIR BASE, Iraq --- As the Iraqi parliament works out the details of the new status of forces agreement that calls for American forces to withdraw from the country in 2011, Iraqi air force emergency responders from New al Muthana Air Base took the lead for the first time in a mass casualty response exercise Nov. 21 as they learn how to operate independent of their American counterparts.>> The exercise was the largest and most difficult to date for the fledgling air force that brought together firefighters, medics, security forces, command and control, emergency management and safety elements for the first time in order to test their response abilities, as well as to develop an independent training and exercise capability.>> "There have been several medical courses arranged and conducted by U.S. advisers," said Capt. Sunny Holden, a 321st Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron medical adviser. "The challenge and purpose of this exercise was to continue developing the Iraqi air forces' ability to plan and to conduct their own training and exercise program.">> American emergency responders from the 447th Air Expeditionary Group at Sather Air Base, Iraq, and training personnel from the 321st AEAS worked with Iraqi leaders to teach them how to develop exercise scenarios.>> This mass casualty exercise was the first of its size and scope, adding a training element the Iraqis have not experienced thus far -- real people playing the role of the wounded.>> "The exercise scenario was to simulate an Iraqi C-130 aircraft that made a rough landing because a cockpit fire had caused an in-flight emergency," said Master Sgt. Jim Brody, the 447th AEG firefighter and NCO in charge of exercise planning. "We had 20 American and Iraqi volunteers who played the passengers on the aircraft with simulated injuries ranging from minor to critical.