Marines join Kadena Airmen for contingency exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
Civil engineer Airmen and combat engineer Marines participated in a joint airfield damage and repair contingency exercise Feb. 26, at Kadena Air Base, Japan.

Joint forces from the 172nd and 171st Engineering Companies and 18th Civil Engineer Squadron worked together to repair a damaged runway in response to a simulated air attack.

"Our mission is to reestablish an operational runway so that we can get planes in and out," said 2nd Lt. David Brown-Dawson, the 18th CES Airfield Damage and Repair officer in charge. "If an attack were to actually happen, we need to utilize all of our assets, and that's military wide. Not just Air Force, not just Navy, Army and the Marines; we all need come together because we're all fighting the same fight."

The exercise gave members from both services the opportunity to showcase their runway repair capabilities and helped them establish more effective ways to communicate and react in a crisis situation.

"It's been really helpful to come out and see how the Air Force does it because this is their bread and butter," said Marine Corps 1st Lt. John Mutton, the 172nd Marine Wing Support Squadron combat engineer officer, "They are also able to see how we operate as well, which allows us to establish relations that are really helpful for the future."

Marines and Airmen donned personal protective gear in response to a simulated chemical attack. Other responses were conducted side-by-side, including airfield damage assessment, establishing a mobile aircraft arresting system, leveling a 50-foot crater and securing a folded fiber glass mat.

Reestablishing an operational runway is vital in order to maintain offensive and defensive capabilities. Electrician Airmen set up a threshold of runway lights across the airfield, marking the boundaries of a minimum operating strip. This allowed for aircraft to take off and land in a safe to use section of an otherwise damaged runway.

"I always look forward to see what the Marines have to offer," said Master Sgt. Matthew Novack, the 18th CES ADR horizontal repair NCO in charge. "More than one set of eyes is always better because they can see something totally different than the way we do. They can help us improve a simple step and that alone can make our lives a lot easier and we show them a few tricks along the way as well."

While each service follows different response procedures, the exercise helped them to understand how one another operate and combine assets improving their ability to work together.