MARE Tests Readiness at Selfridge

  • Published
  • By SSgt. Samara Taylor
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
What would happen if there was a crisis at Selfridge Air National Guard Base? How would the various departments handle two explosive devices detonated in the midst of civilians and military personnel?

Selfridge first responders exhibited their skills during the recent Major Accident Response Exercise to determine the proper procedures to handle various real-world crisis situations. Lt. Col. Ross Dickinson ,127th Chief of Plans and the Wing Exercise Evaluation Team, held several meetings to plan for the exercise.

The first responders included efforts from all levels of government, as well as nongovernmental and private sector organizations. They convened during the MARE at Selfridge to determine vulnerabilities and identify required resources necessary to handle emergencies.

MARE is a way for organizations to determine their preparedness for a real- world crisis. The exercise included participants from the 127th Wing, FBI, MedStar and the Michigan State Police.

Tom Mix, a 127th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter said, "We are bringing agencies together we normally wouldn't work with to see how well the departments interact."

In this MARE, two simulated explosions had taken place and the crowd was also exposed to radiation. The exercises are realistic scenarios to evaluate the installation's procedures to improve the capability to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from domestic incidents involving military personnel and equipment. Volunteers who played the role of casualties were made to appear for a realistic effect.

Shavon Render, a civilian office automation clerk with the 127th CES Fire Department. was a staged casualty victim during the MARE. "It was very interesting and eye opening," Render said, adding that she realized the importance of paying attention to detail. "It was very insightful on how each department plays a role in emergency situations."

Ken Hardin, 127th CES Fire Department, was in charge of the rescue effort. He said that the exercise allows first responders a chance to sharpen their skills. He said the MARE showed how an incident can get complex  quickly and their need to prioritize the patients according to severity.

"The MARE allows us to adapt to various scenarios and react to the situation.  Every deployment is unique," said Marti Kerstens, an FBI Special Agent, who was a part of the simulated decontamination station.

Dickinson said Selfridge holds annual MARE scenarios annually to test and enhance the readiness capabilities of the unit.

Comprised of approximately 1,600 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operation Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marked its 95th year of continuous military air operations in 2012.