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Diamond Dragon enhances US, UK crisis response

Suffolk Fire Department firefighters extinguish flames on aircraft debris during exercise Diamond Dragon at Royal Air Force Honington, England, June 30, 2015. Diamond Dragon is a three-day, joint forces response exercise that readies members of the U.K. Ministry of Defence, emergency response agencies and the U.S. Air Force for incidents that require help from both nations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nigel Sandridge)

Suffolk Fire Department firefighters extinguish flames on aircraft debris during exercise Diamond Dragon at Royal Air Force Honington, England, June 30, 2015. Diamond Dragon is a three-day, joint forces response exercise that readies members of the U.K. Ministry of Defence, emergency response agencies and the U.S. Air Force for incidents that require help from both nations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nigel Sandridge)

Fiery debris and a simulated aircraft crash cover the flightline during exercise Diamond Dragon at Royal Air Force Honington, England, June 30, 2015. Diamond Dragon is a three-day joint forces response exercise that readies members of the U.K. Ministry of Defence, emergency response agencies and the U.S. Air Force for incidents that require help from both nations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nigel Sandridge)

Fiery debris and a simulated aircraft crash cover the flightline during exercise Diamond Dragon at Royal Air Force Honington, England, June 30, 2015. Diamond Dragon is a three-day joint forces response exercise that readies members of the U.K. Ministry of Defence, emergency response agencies and the U.S. Air Force for incidents that require help from both nations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nigel Sandridge)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England (AFNS) -- Airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing paired with fellow U.K. military and civilian agencies to participate in exercise Diamond Dragon June 30-July 2.

Diamond Dragon is a three-day, joint forces response exercise that readies members of the U.K. Ministry of Defence and the U.S. Air Force for incidents that require a crisis response from both nations.

"The aim of the training was to make sure that we have interoperability with our U.K. counterparts," said Tech. Sgt. Misty Guevara, the 48th Civil Engineer Squadron NCO in charge of emergency management. "It's very important to have these good working relationships to increase our response time in accidents."

During the exercise, agencies combatted a crashed aircraft scenario.

"Ensuring that everyone understands their jobs, the rules and what they bring to the situation at hand were the main challenges," said Sgt. Tom Price, the 26th Royal Air Force Regiment commander. "A huge amount of people need to be controlled, and we do this by face-to-face communication to help people understand their roles."

Participating in his fourth joint forces exercise with the U.S. Air Force, Price said he feels that Diamond Dragon gives all contributing agencies a chance to update newer personnel in procedures to support military and civilian alike, downrange and in residential settings.

"It's important for the (U.S. Air Force) and British government to work together because we have the same environment and use the same capabilities if an incident does occur," Price said. "It's vital that we work together."

The exercise tested more than just the first responders on the ground. Subject matter experts at both the tactical and strategic levels were challenged from a communication perspective, expediting the flow of critical, up-to-date information up and down the chain of command to link all participating U.S. and U.K. agencies in the region.

"My biggest takeaway from the exercise was the comradery," Price said. "We know that we can come up and ask a favor, or if there's a problem, together we can work on a solution."

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