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Marines with Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting work to extract Cpl. Patrick G. Poe, a team leader with station ordnance, from the cockpit of a F/A-18 "Hornet" aboard the flight line of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar during the mass casualty drill portion of Operation Nightmare, Sept. 4. Operation Nightmare is a week-long training event that helps station personnel practice incident response and fulfill annual training requirements with local and federal agencies. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher O'Quin) (Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher O'Quin

'Operation Nightmare' trains station for worst-case scenarios

4 Sep 2008 | Lance Cpl. Christopher O'Quin

Station, local and federal agencies participated in a week-long training exercise here Sept. 8-12, called Operation Nightmare.

The “Nightmare” consisted of several simulated scenarios designed to test incident response and teamwork between Marines, sailors and local rescue agencies while fulfilling annual training requirements.

Throughout the week, Marines and sailors with Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and other units operated together to identify an unknown chemical threat, evacuate injured personnel and activate a command operation center.

“It’s very good training for everyone and it has a positive impact on the station personnel,” said Kevin Kelley, the station Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection Officer and exercise coordinator. “It is the same procedures that have been used in real mass casualty situations.”

During the mass casualty drill, Marines laid sprawled out across the flight line with fake injuries, applied by corpsmen. Marines with ARFF rushed to the scene. They extinguished a simulated fire on an F/A-18 and carried the injured out of the hazard area for medical treatment.

“They dressed me up like a casualty and ARFF pulled me out of the F/A-18,” said Cpl. Patrick G. Poe, a team leader with station ordnance. “If it was a real situation I can say they are more than prepared to do their job.”

After evacuating the wounded to a safe distance from the hazard area, emergency response units from the San Diego Fire Department with other local responders checked each person’s injury and spoke words of encouragement before they loaded them aboard ambulances.

“The training helped us learn to work better with other agencies on and off base,” said Staff Sgt. Jeron A. Martinez, a section leader with ARFF. “It also gave the newer guys, fresh of school, a chance to train for a real event.”

The station will host similar training in the future to prepare the station for the unexpected challenges that arise.

“All the participants did very well,” said Kelley. “During the next few weeks we’ll be going through the after action reports looking for things that can be improved upon for future training events.”


3rd Marine Aircraft Wing