Cope Angel strengthens alliances on mainland Japan

Cope Angel wings soar across mainland Japan

Two Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASF) pararescuemen from Akita Air Base, Japan, respond to a simulated downed pilot as a UH-60J Black Hawk flies overhead during exercise Cope Angel 17 at Draughon Range near Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 9, 2017. All pilots are equipped with survival equipment for situations in which they would have to eject from their aircraft and wait to be rescued. During the exercise, the downed U.S. pilot utilized these resources and skills learned in survival training while waiting for rescue by a JASDF Black Hawk. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Cope Angel wings soar across mainland Japan

A Japan Air Self-Defense Force rescue team member gives a thumbs up to a UH-60J Black Hawk rescue team pilot from Akita Air Base, Japan, during the start of exercise Cope Angel 17 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 9, 2017. The exercise simulated the search and rescue of a downed pilot. The rescue team flew to Draughon Range to recover the pilot and returned the patient to Misawa for examination at the 35th Medical Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto)

Cope Angel wings soar across mainland Japan

A Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) rescue team member from Akita Air Base, Japan, places a “remove before flight” tag on a UH-60J Black Hawk after landing at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 9, 2017. U.S. Air Force and JASDF service members collaborated to conduct a joint search and rescue exercise called Cope Angel 17. JASDF personnel brought a simulated injured pilot back to Misawa for treatment at the 35th Medical Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto)

Cope Angel wings soar across mainland Japan

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jason Allchin, a 35th Operations Support Squaron survival, evasion, resistance, and escape specialist, lights a flare during exercise Cope Angel 17 at Draughon Range near Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 9, 2017. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force held Cope Angel 17 for the first time on mainland Japan in order to strengthen interoperability between the Akita Prefecture Rescue Squadron and the 35th Fighter Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Cope Angel wings soar across mainland Japan

U.S. Air Force Capt. Phil McCoy, a 13th Fighter Squadron pilot, waits for Japan Air Self-Defense Force Akita Prefecture Rescue Team pararescuemen out of Akita Air Base, Japan, during exercise Cope Angel 17, at Draughon Range near Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 9, 2017. Cope Angel 17 focused on bilateral integration of Japanese rescue assets and Misawa F-16 Fighting Falcons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Cope Angel wings soar across mainland Japan

A Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Akita Prefecture Rescue Team pararescueman, stationed at Akita Air Base, Japan, checks the airway, breathing and compressions of a simulated downed pilot during exercise Cope Angel 17 at Draughon Range near Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 9, 2017. The exercise tested bilateral coordination skills between the JASDF and U.S. service members with their target goal being a one-hour response time. This was the first time JASDF conducted the exercise on mainland Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Cope Angel wings soar across mainland Japan

Members of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force rescue team from Akita Air Base, Japan, prepare a UH-60J Black Hawk for take-off at Misawa Air Base, Japan, during Cope Angel 17, Aug. 9, 2017. Cope Angel is a bilateral search and rescue exercise between the U.S. Air Force and Japan service members. This was the first time an exercise of this nature occured on mainland Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto)

Cope Angel wings soar across mainland Japan

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Dylan Gorr, a 35th Medical Support Squadron emergency medical technician, and Japan Air Self-Defense Force Akita Prefecture Rescue Squadron (APRS) pararescuemen transport a simulated injured pilot during exercise Cope Angel 17 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 9, 2017. Cope Angel 17 kicked off once an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot simulated ejection near Draughon Range. Once the exercise began, APRS pararescuemen and their UH-60J Black Hawk located the pilot and transported him back to Misawa AB for medical treatment. This was the first time this type of exercise occured on mainland Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Deana Heitzman)

Cope Angel wings soar across mainland Japan

Personnel from the 35th Medical Group and 35th Operations Group work with Akita Prefecture Rescue Squadron pararescuemen and aircrew to lift a simulated injured pilot during exercise Cope Angel 17 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 9, 2017. This exercise showcased the interoperable strengths of the U.S. and Japan during rescue and triage operations. This was the first time this type of exercise occured on mainland Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Deana Heitzman)

Cope Angel wings soar across mainland Japan
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U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jason Allchin, a 35th Operations Support Squadron survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist, and Japan Air Self-Defense Force Akita Prefecture Rescue Squadron pararescuemen and aircrew transport a simulated injured pilot during exercise Cope Angel 17 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 9, 2017. Once sending his location, rescue crews retrieved and transported the simulated injured pilot by a UH-60J Black Hawk back to Misawa. The purpose of this exercise showcased the bilateral alliance between the U.S. and Japan during possible rescue and triage operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Deana Heitzman)

Cope Angel wings soar across mainland Japan
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Personnel assigned to the 35th Medical Group and 35th Operations Group work with Akita Prefecture Rescue Squadron pararescuemen and aircrew to lift a simulated injured pilot during exercise Cope Angel 17 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 9, 2017. This exercise showcased the interoperable strengths of the U.S. and Japan during rescue and triage operations. This was the first time this type of exercise occured on mainland Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Deana Heitzman)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

Team Misawa and Japan Air Self-Defense Force members executed exercise Cope Angel 17 side-by-side at Draughon Range and Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 9, for the first time on the country's mainland.

CA17 is an annual bilateral event between the JASDF, known as the Koku-Jieitai, and U.S. Air Force in order to fortify interoperability between Team Misawa and the Koku-Jieitai pararescuemen. This allows for the development of exceptional Koku-Jieitai and USAF unit leaders to head the world’s most powerful teams in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

“It’s really important we perform trainings like Cope Angel 17 to assess our capabilities to work with the JASDF,” said Capt. Phillip McCoy, a 13th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot. “It’s very possible they could be the rescue asset for our pilots because if something were to happen and there is a life-threatening situation, time is critical, especially with the extreme weather we can get here in Misawa.”

In the past, the Koku-Jieitai Okinawa Prefecture Rescue Squadron and members from Kadena Air Base, Japan, conducted the exercise on the island of Okinawa. This year, Team Misawa worked with the Koku-Jieitai Akita Prefecture Rescue Squadron pararescuemen and their UH-60J Black Hawk to train contingencies.

“This training allows us to strengthen alliances and give CA17 a better exercise environment while enhancing our unit-to-unit coordination with Koku-Jieitai,” said Master Sgt. Reid Beveridge, the 35th Operations Support Squadron superintendent and CA17 overlord.

With the exercise held on mainland Japan, it gave the APRS the opportunity to heighten their rescue procedures and overcome language barriers with U.S. personnel so they can respond to situations fluidly in the future.

“The language barrier was the biggest issue, but it will continually improve during exercises like this,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Dylan Gorr, a 35th Medical Support Squadron emergency medical technician. “The opportunity to execute search and rescue exercises is rare in Misawa and it is a great opportunity to hone our skills alongside Koku-Jieitai.”

The scenario started out when an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot simulated ejection at Draughon Range. The downed pilot used his survival training, ensuring his safety and stabilizing the situation. Once the scene cleared, he initiated rescue efforts by sending coordinates and waited for a recovery team.

“The coordination was a big piece we wanted to focus on in this exercise,” Beveridge said. “How we get the right people, like the military decision makers and tasking authorities, to approve the rescue before it takes off.”

Beveridge added the goal of the exercise was to initiate, retrieve and transport the individual to the 35th Medical Group where they would simulate treatment.

After working with the APRS, the Koku-Jieitai pararescue team said they want to make the CA17 exercise an annual event for mainland Japan in addition to Okinawa.

“Our pilots are the tip of the spear,” Beveridge said “Our whole wing exists so our pilots can take off, ‘fight tonight’ and defend the U.S. and its allies. Our personnel recovery mission gives them the confidence to go out there and fight even if an incident like this were to happen.”