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VAFB takes part in 5-day training exercise for natural disasters

Posted at 9:31 AM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-18 21:39:54-04

A training exercise designed around the potential response of the military in a natural disaster wrapped up this week at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc.

Loading vehicle into C-17 during Patriot Hook 2019. Courtesy: Airman 1st Class Aubree Milks

The 5-day annual training called Exercise Patriot Hook 2019 ended on Monday. According to a news release from VAFB, the joint service exercise was designed to integrate different branches of the military with local, regional and state agencies in the event of a regional emergency or natural disaster.

“This is the third exercise that our unit has participated in this year, and the difference of our capabilities, from when we started to now, is substantial,” said U.S. Army Capt. Ricardo Tolentino, 314th Military Intelligence Battalion officer in charge.

“The old way of thinking was, waiting until we’re tagged to deploy and at that time no one is prepared. By proactively doing exercises, such as Patriot Hook 2019, when the time comes for my unit to deploy, we will be ready,” Tolentino added.

Flying C-17 during exercise Patriot Hook 2019 at VAFB. Courtesy: Airman 1st Class Aubree Milks

Officials say the exercise was for military under the Air Force Reserve Command. It brought in Air Force members from our the country to participate. However, VAFB played an important part in the training.

“Vandenberg is a large base with a lot of facilities, so if something were to go on such as a natural disaster, the Air Force would definitely want to utilize this base,” said Lt. Col. Rodney Furr, 439th Force Support Squadron commander. “In terms of a contingency response location, the significance of Vandenberg can’t be overstated.”

Medical tech prepares for flight on C-17 during exercise Patriot Hook 2019. Courtesy: Airman 1st Class Aubree Milks