Hancock Field Air National Guard Base Participates in MARE Exercise

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Catherine Hutson
  • 174th Fighter Wing
It is early Saturday morning. As you approach Syracuse Hancock International Airport you see smoke coming from the shell of an aircraft. Next you notice fire trucks and emergency response vehicles of all shapes and sizes. You wonder what happened and hope everyone is safe.

Fortunately, everyone is safe because this response, on an old unused runway, is part of a large scale Tri-County Major Accident Response Exercise (MARE). This exercise involved two simultaneous exercise events, a building collapse, simulated chemical spill and bomb search in downtown Syracuse and a simulated plane crash and fire at the airport.

For many members of Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, located adjacent to the commercial airport, it was another chance to support our community and further develop the partnerships that could be critical during an emergency. The New York Air National Guard unit joined 49 agencies and over 500 emergency workers to support the two locations.

Members of Hancock Field supported the County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the airport EOC, and stood up the 174th Fighter Wing's EOC. Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Scanlin was called to County Emergency Operations Center. He commented that, "this is great opportunity to see how the county EOC is run so when Hancock Field is supporting an incident in the county for real we know what to expect."

In addition, unit personnel provided Emergency Management and Safety guidance and assisted with support to family members. As part of the mutual response agreement, members of Hancock Field's fire department were quick to respond to the simulated airplane crash. They helped put out the fire and respond to the simulated victims ensuring proper treatment and movement to a medical facility.

Many of the pretend victims were members of the 174th Fighter Wing's student flight. They had the opportunity to have moulage paint applied to provide a more realistic experience for the first responders. Many also acted as friends and family members of potential victims. As they start their military journey they gained insight to how we would respond to a major accident.

The two-years of planning for Madison, Oswego and Onondaga counties including several key personnel from Hancock Field, paid off with a realistic exercise that tasked the community's resources. Both scenes were properly controlled and valuable training was provided for hundreds of personnel.