145th Airlift Wing Conducts Plane Crash Exercise > Air National Guard > Article Display

CHARLOTTE, NC – The 145th Airlift Wing and Charlotte Fire Department executed a plane crash drill near the North Carolina Air National Guard Base on March 6, 2022.

The exercise simulated crashing a T-1 aircraft with four passengers onto the North Carolina Air National Guard landing pad.

“The fire department holds a drill every three years, but it’s been a very long time since the wing as a whole has come together to conduct a drill like this,” said Senior Staff Sgt. Thomas Lazaroski, 145th Civil Engineer Squadron fire chief.

Lt. Col. Patrick N. Cannon, 145th Operations Group, director of inspections, said it was the first time since the 1990s that the entire wing had come together to run such an exercise.

Many entities took part in the exercise. The 145th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department and the Charlotte Fire Department extinguished fires, mitigated hazards and searched for survivors. The 145th Security Forces Squadron set up a cordon to control access to the crash site.

Mortuary affairs are handled by the 145th Force Support Squadron, taking victims to the clinic or an off-base hospital depending on the severity of injuries.

The 145th Civil Engineer Squadron team of technical assistants trace the location of all aircraft wreckage before it is moved to a hangar for investigation.

The 145th Civil Engineer Squadron Emergency Management Team managed the command and control, emergency operations center and crisis action team.

“It’s basically command and control on wheels,” said Master Sgt. Mark Fow, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist, 145th Civil Engineer Squadron Emergency Management. “We’re here to provide a common operating picture so that command and control on the base can see exactly what’s going on here.”

The exercise allowed each agency to stay ready and the wing to see how the response would be in a real situation.

“I think it’s a great exercise. Obviously, we’re the Air Force, so our number one priority is planes,” Lazaroski said. “We need to practice if something catastrophic happens with an aircraft and know the steps needed to figure out what went wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“A lot of times we train and exercise in a bubble, so bringing all the disciplines together and training makes us all the more prepared if we ever have to respond to a real-world event,” Fow said.

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