48th RQS trains for the real deal

A 48th Rescue Squadron team gears up for a pre-deployment training exercise mission at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015.  The 48th RQS is a Guardian Angel squadron consisting of Pararescuemen, Combat Rescue Officers, survival specialists and combat support personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

A 48th Rescue Squadron team gears up for a pre-deployment training exercise mission at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The 48th RQS is a Guardian Angel squadron consisting of Pararescuemen, Combat Rescue Officers, survival specialists and combat support personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

A 48th Rescue Squadron team discusses how to accomplish a mission during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. Rescue Teams are capable of staging and evacuation, surface and subsurface maritime, confined space and collapsed structure extrication, high altitude and technical rescue. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

A 48th Rescue Squadron team discusses how to accomplish a mission during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. Rescue Teams are capable of staging and evacuation, surface and subsurface maritime, confined space and collapsed structure extrication, high altitude and technical rescue. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

A U.S. Air Force Pararescueman, 48th Rescue Squadron, prepares to access a simulated crashed helicopter during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The exercise focused on mass casualty treatment, evacuation, extrication, confined space and collapsed structure rescue.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

A U.S. Air Force Pararescueman, 48th Rescue Squadron, prepares to access a simulated crashed helicopter during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The exercise focused on mass casualty treatment, evacuation, extrication, confined space and collapsed structure rescue. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron use a grinder to gain access to a helicopter during a simulated crash at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The crash was part of pre-deployment training that focused on mass casualty treatment, evacuation, extrication and confined space/collapsed structure rescue.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron use a grinder to gain access to a helicopter during a simulated crash at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The crash was part of pre-deployment training that focused on mass casualty treatment, evacuation, extrication and confined space/collapsed structure rescue. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen, 48th Rescue Squadron, enter a simulated downed helicopter during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The Airmen were evaluated on how their response to mass casualty situations, including their ability to call in air support for casualty evacuation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen, 48th Rescue Squadron, enter a simulated downed helicopter during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The Airmen were evaluated on how their response to mass casualty situations, including their ability to call in air support for casualty evacuation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

A U.S. Air Force Pararescueman, 48th Rescue Squadron, communicates with his team on the condition of a simulated patient inside a training helicopter during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The exercise provided training in a controlled environment allowing Airmen to safely work through the elements of stress and complexity that are realistic with real world situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

A U.S. Air Force Pararescueman, 48th Rescue Squadron, communicates with his team on the condition of a simulated patient inside a training helicopter during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The exercise provided training in a controlled environment allowing Airmen to safely work through the elements of stress and complexity that are realistic with real world situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron wait for a HH-60G Pavehawk to arrive during a mass casualty exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. During the exercise, the Airmen were evaluated on how they respond to several mass casualty situations to include their ability calling in air support for patient extrication. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron wait for a HH-60G Pavehawk to arrive during a mass casualty exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. During the exercise, the Airmen were evaluated on how they respond to several mass casualty situations to include their ability calling in air support for patient extrication. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

An HH-60 Pavehawk assigned to the 55th Rescue Squadron prepares to land in an open field to assist a 48th Rescue Squadron team exfiltrate patients during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The 55th RQS transported the simulated patients out of the objective area while communicating with the Rescue Team.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

An HH-60 Pavehawk assigned to the 55th Rescue Squadron prepares to land in an open field to assist a 48th Rescue Squadron team exfiltrate patients during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The 55th RQS transported the simulated patients out of the objective area while communicating with the Rescue Team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Allan Sain, 55th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pavehawk pilot, waits for a 48th Rescue Squadron team, to load simulate patients on the HH-60G  for casualty evacuation a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The 55th RQS and 48th RQS worked together to exfiltrate patients during a simulated helicopter crash. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Allan Sain, 55th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pavehawk pilot, waits for a 48th Rescue Squadron team, to load simulate patients on the HH-60G for casualty evacuation a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The 55th RQS and 48th RQS worked together to exfiltrate patients during a simulated helicopter crash. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron walk away from a HH-60G Pavehawk after loading simulated patients for extraction during a mass casualty exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. During the exercise, the Airmen were evaluated on how they respond to several mass casualty situations to include their ability calling in air support for patient extrication. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)
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U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron walk away from a HH-60G Pavehawk after loading simulated patients for extraction during a mass casualty exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. During the exercise, the Airmen were evaluated on how they respond to several mass casualty situations to include their ability calling in air support for patient extrication. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

A U.S. Air Force Senior Airman from the 48th Rescue Squadron prepares to initiate an IV fluid resuscitation on a simulated patient during a mass casualty exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015.  For this exercise, several Airmen volunteered to play victims. This element added realism to the training, allowing the pararescuemen to work through the stress that each mission can bring. Due to security concerns, the last name is withheld. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)
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A U.S. Air Force Senior Airman from the 48th Rescue Squadron prepares to initiate an IV fluid resuscitation on a simulated patient during a mass casualty exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. For this exercise, several Airmen volunteered to play victims. This element added realism to the training, allowing the pararescuemen to work through the stress that each mission can bring. Due to security concerns, the last name is withheld. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

A U.S. Air Force Senior Airman, 48th Rescue Squadron, prepares to initiate an IV fluid resuscitation on a simulated patient during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015.  Several Airmen from D-M participated in the exercise as simulated victims to create a realistic training environment. Due to security concerns, the Airman’s name is withheld. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)
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A U.S. Air Force Senior Airman, 48th Rescue Squadron, prepares to initiate an IV fluid resuscitation on a simulated patient during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. Several Airmen from D-M participated in the exercise as simulated victims to create a realistic training environment. Due to security concerns, the Airman’s name is withheld. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

A U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant, 48th Rescue Squadron, carries a simulated patient during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015.  Several Airmen from D-M participated as simulated victims to create a realistic training environment. Due to security concerns, the Airman’s name is withheld. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)
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A U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant, 48th Rescue Squadron, carries a simulated patient during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. Several Airmen from D-M participated as simulated victims to create a realistic training environment. Due to security concerns, the Airman’s name is withheld. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron prepare to retrieve a simulated patient during a mass casualty exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. For this exercise, several D-M Airmen volunteered to play victims. This element added realism to the training, allowing the pararescuemen to work through the stress that each mission can bring.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)
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U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron prepare to retrieve a simulated patient during a mass casualty exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. For this exercise, several D-M Airmen volunteered to play victims. This element added realism to the training, allowing the pararescuemen to work through the stress that each mission can bring. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen, 48th Rescue Squadron, position a simulated patient on a gurney while the patient is lowered from the top of a conex during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The exercise focused on mass casualty treatment, evacuation, extrication, confined space and collapsed structure rescue.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)
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U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen, 48th Rescue Squadron, position a simulated patient on a gurney while the patient is lowered from the top of a conex during a pre-deployment training exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 14, 2015. The exercise focused on mass casualty treatment, evacuation, extrication, confined space and collapsed structure rescue. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- While many Airmen from D-M were finishing up their day, some Pararescuemen were beginning theirs, on the evening of April 14.

The 48th Rescue Squadron conducted a pre-deployment training exercise to teach, train and test Airmen on mass casualty treatment, evacuation, extrication, confined space and collapsed structure rescue.

"This mass casualty (exercise) was different simply because of the complexity of each scenario and the total number of patients," said Staff Sgt. Blake, 48th RQS Pararescueman and a team element leader.

This type of exercise was not one the unit usually practices. The unit combined two rescue teams who were tasked with two missions back-to-back, instead of a single mission. The unit also incorporated the use of realistic helicopters and conex, used as buildings, which gave them the ability to create the effect of a collapsed building.

The initial challenge the Airmen faced during this exercise was to respond to two downed helicopters with casualties. Upon arriving on the crash site, the team came under brief enemy fire. After eliminating the enemy, the Airmen split into two groups to provide attention and care to both downed aircraft. Once the team was able to remove the patients from the crash sites, they then provided initial medical treatment and radioed in two HH-60 Pavehawks from the 55th RQS to provide casualty extrication.

"This was a unique training mission," Blake said. "I haven't experienced anything this complex since becoming a PJ."

The team then shifted to a follow-on mission where they separated again.  The first group focused on a 6-story collapsed structure where the PJs gained access through the roof. The few team members who entered the structure had to remove all their gear due to the confined space,. Once inside, they searched, located and removed casualties through small windows and lowered them off the roof. 

Simultaneously, the second group handled a 5-vehicle site that was the result of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices. The Airmen had to work through the vehicles, collecting the patients. They also had to dismember a vehicle to recuse four casualties from a mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicle. By the end of the 6-hour exercise, the team had successfully recovered 42 patients.

"Everyone received experience working as a team in a mass casualty (scenario by) performing a number of (Pararescue) skills that are crucial to be able to execute downrange," Blake said.

The rescue team ranged from Airmen who have never see combat to Airmen who have deployed multiple times.

"The younger guys gain knowledge of their capabilities, limitations and their role within the team," Blake said. "The older guys learn how to become more effective leaders and how to deal with unique situations."

Some of the benefits from this training included communication development, equipment familiarization and adapting as a team to an ever changing environment, Blake said.

This exercise gave the team a glimpse at what challenges may lie ahead in their careers.

"This exercise provided realistic training in a controlled environment allowing the team to work through the elements of stress and complexity that come with the aforementioned types of missions," said Capt. Ben, 48th RQS Combat Rescue Officer. "It was an overall display of the multitude of mission sets Pararescue could be tasked with performing in any given theater. "

(Due to security concerns, the Airmen's last names are withheld.)