An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S., RAF forces climb ‘Atlas Mountain’

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nathan Allen
  • 379 Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force service members teamed up here to exercise their combined emergency response capability during exercise “Atlas Mountain,” Oct. 15.

To begin the exercise, a RAF A400M Atlas transport aircraft “crashed.” This prompted U.S. Air Force fire and medical first responders to react accordingly, putting out simulated fires while evacuating and treating patients in the proximity of the crash.

RAF Flying Officer Sam Kerfoot-Roberts, the project officer, said his main goal centered around what happened after first responders cleared the scene.

“Because we don’t investigate aircraft crashes at the local level, we wanted to practice our ability to preserve evidence, maintain health and safety, and contain the incident,” he said. “This annual exercise helped us practice all of our procedures, analyze areas for improvement, and practice the coalition piece – working with the Americans to save lives and preserve the investigation.”

To more acutely assess these abilities, Kerfoot-Roberts reached out to USAF medical and fire first responders not only to provide realism, but to seize an opportunity for mutual learning.

“In a real world situation, we would rely heavily on emergency responders from the U.S. (Air Force), so we asked them to help us make the exercise as realistic as possible,” he said. “The (fire and medical) teams were methodical, driven, and focused…it was really quick and very impressive to watch”

USAF Master Sgt. Zack Fontaine, 379th Expeditionary Medical Support Squadron en-route patient staging facility day shift NCO in charge, said he was grateful for the opportunity to enable RAF members to complete their training objectives.

“They utilized us to control the initial incident and deem the scene safe so they could start their main exercise portion which was the recovery, the paperwork, and how to report it,” he said. “The fact that they asked us to be involved in Atlas Mountain was really awesome.”

Kerfoot-Roberts added that, while coalition interoperability can be challenging, exercises like AM prove the effort is well worth it.

“Getting separate teams to work together is the hardest part, but bringing in multiple procedures and marrying them together works. Atlas Mountain validated that,” he said. “Our partnership stood up when tested.”