MacDill supports Patriot Sands

The Florida Advanced Surgical and Transportation (FAST) team simulates first aid care to patients at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 28, 2018.

The Florida Advanced Surgical and Transportation (FAST) team simulates first aid care to patients at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 28, 2018. This is the first time a mobile trauma center and mobile operating room was used in Patriot Sands by FAST and the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron from Joint Base Charleston, S.C., to take care of patients on the ground and in-flight upon a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Coban Goertz, a team chief assigned to the 46th Aerial Port Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Del., anchors down a vehicle to a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft for transportation at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 28, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Coban Goertz, a team chief assigned to the 46th Aerial Port Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Del., anchors down a vehicle to a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft for transportation at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 28, 2018. The U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard collaborated together to load two transportable port security boats into a C-17. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 46th Aerial Port Squadron (APS) at Dover Air Force Base, Del., test out their equipment at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 28, 2018

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 46th Aerial Port Squadron (APS) at Dover Air Force Base, Del., test out their equipment at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 28, 2018. These protective masks were used as part of a readiness training exercise called Patriot Sands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

A U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy aircraft left Dover Air Force Base, Del., and arrives at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 1, 2018.

A U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy aircraft left Dover Air Force Base, Del., and arrives at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 1, 2018. The C-5 was used to load an in-flight mobile trauma center and personnel from the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and the Florida Advanced Surgical and Transportation team for the first time during the Patriot Sands training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 46th Aerial Port Squadron (APS) at Dover Air Force Base, Del., marshal in a U.S. Coast Guard transportable port security boat (TPSB) at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 28, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 46th Aerial Port Squadron (APS) at Dover Air Force Base, Del., marshal in a U.S. Coast Guard transportable port security boat (TPSB) at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 28, 2018. The 46th APS worked with the U.S Coast Guard to load two TPSBs into a C-17 Globemaster III during the Patriot Sands training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel Miller, a loadmaster and ramp coordinator assigned to the 512th Contingency Response Squadron (CRS) at Dover Air Force Base, Del., communicates via radio to a hardside expandable light air mobility shelter (HELAMS) at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 28, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel Miller, a loadmaster and ramp coordinator assigned to the 512th Contingency Response Squadron (CRS) at Dover Air Force Base, Del., communicates via radio to a hardside expandable light air mobility shelter (HELAMS) at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 28, 2018. The 512th CRS used a HELAMS to communicate to ground and in-flight personnel for the Patriot Sands training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 46th Aerial Port Squadron, 512th Contingency Response Squadron and 712th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Del., pause for a photo at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 2, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 46th Aerial Port Squadron, 512th Contingency Response Squadron and 712th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Del., pause for a photo at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., March 2, 2018. These squadrons worked together with the U.S. Coast Guard, 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron from Joint Base Charleston, S.C., the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Florida Advanced Surgical and Transportation team during the Patriot Sands training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott Warner)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — Between Feb. 27 and March 3, 2018, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida hosted Patriot Sands, a joint-force exercise to train contingency response personnel and maintain operational proficiency.

Patriot Sands is an annual, five-day training exercise that the Air Force Reserve Command and other affiliations use to improve operational readiness through joint cooperation.

Among the forces involved were the AFRC, Air Mobility Command, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Coast Guard, the Florida Advanced Surgical and Transportation team, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We use the exercise Patriot Sands to maximize efficiency by identifying limiting factors in our training process,” said Lt. Col. Anita West-Werner, the commander of the 512th Contingency Response Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. “Throughout Patriot Sands, we develop and maintain unit readiness and evaluate our capability to rapidly deploy by air, as well as operate in austere conditions.”

During the exercise, the 512th CRS operated as the lead unit at MacDill.

In addition to the 512th CRS, the 46th Aerial Port Squadron and 712th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from Dover AFB sent personnel, four C-17 Globemaster III and a C-5 Galaxy to MacDill.

“We are training to increase our rapid air mobility efficiency,” said Tech. Sgt. Kurtis Crawford, an aerial ramp coordinator assigned to the 512th CRS. “We validate load plans, perform joint inspections on all cargo, and process passengers.”

Crawford said one of the initial items hauled and unloaded as cargo was a hardside expandable light air mobility shelter, also referred to as HELAMS.

A HELAMS is able to unload into a fully-functional mobile command center. This is where the 512th CRS conducted their operations for the entirety of the training exercise, and is needed for operational success.

“A great part of this exercise is that we are able to work with our local partners, sister services, and affiliates to be able to handle national threats, such as a natural disaster,” said West-Werner.

After MacDill evacuated last year due to Hurricane Irma, maintaining mission preparedness and readiness is crucial for the AFRC and its partners for future emergency situations.

“Any emergency situation can’t be handled by just one unit or one branch of service,” said Crawford. “It’s the collaboration and communication of multiple units through training exercises like this that is required to get the job done.”