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Nellis Airmen clean-up F-15 crash site

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Richard Buchalski
  • 820th RED HORSE Squadron
Nellis Air Force Base Airmen worked alongside the Army National Guardsmen Aviation unit stationed in Stockton, Calif., to conduct recovery and clean-up efforts for the F-15C Eagle aircraft crash site in the Nevada Test and Training Range recently.

The operation was the 820th RED HORSE Squadron airborne flight's first real-world sling load operation.

The F-15 crashed Oct. 24, 2011, northwest of Alamo, Nev., and the Safety Investigation Board had been examining the scene since the incident occurred. Once the SIB concluded its initial stage of gathering information from the site, Nellis AFB Airmen from the 820th RHS, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron, 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 99th Security Forces Squadron were permitted to begin cleaning up the crash site.

In addition to gathering and boxing the aircraft debris, the Airmen of the 820th RHS tore down the on-scene base camp, which was erected the day after the crash for the SIB members and security forces personnel to use in day-to-day operations.

With the assistance of the Army National Guardsmen and their CH-47 helicopter, the Airmen were able to sling load a total of six connex boxes containing 47,000 pounds of aircraft parts from the crash site to the Alamo airport five miles away.

After redistributing four connex boxes worth of wreckage materials into four tractor trailers at the Alamo airport, the Airmen transported the last two 20-foot connex boxes and the tractor trailers back to the Nellis AFB flightline for the SIB to continue examining.

"Despite the austere environment, remote location and logistics, Team Nellis was able to utilize the sling load capability provided by the 820th RHS, along with the 99th CES, 99th LRS and 99th SFS to recover an F-15 in four days," said Senior Master Sgt. Lee Smith, the Nellis AFB emergency manager. "(Four days is) half the time of a normal aircraft recovery operation in perfect conditions. This is a true testament of the attitude and expertise of our Airmen today."