First-responder team trains in reclamation exercise

WARREN GROVE GUNNERY RANGE, N.J. --


More than 20 Airmen from the 177th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group participated in a training Nov. 8 here, which refined skills used in the reclamation of an aircraft.

The Crashed, Damaged, or Disabled Aircraft Recovery team trained in a number of requirements that supports their mission as a first-response unit in the event an aircraft goes down, is damaged, or disabled.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman James Dzierwinski from the 177th Fighter Wing uses a rescue saw on a truck at Warren Grove Gunnery Range, N.J., Nov. 8, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Shane Karp/Released)

"In a real-world scenario, if there was an aircraft we couldn't bag lift or crane lift out, we would have to cut the aircraft into pieces, and transport it piece by piece back to the base," said Maj. Brian Cooper, the officer in charge of the CDDAR training exercise.

The exercise involved the use of K12 rescue saws to simulate the reclamation of a downed aircraft, and for many team members, was their first opportunity to get hands-on training in this type of scenario.

"We have some seasoned members here, and we also have some that are new," said Cooper. "Using a saw is one thing, but actually walking a drill through metal is different."

U.S. Air Force Airmen use a rescue saw on a truck at Warren Grove Gunnery Range, N.J., Nov. 8, 2014. The Airmen are part of the Crashed Damaged Disabled Aircraft Recovery (CDDAR) team, and were getting familiarization training on new equipment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht/Released)border=

Membership on the CDDAR team is a supplemental duty as a member of the 177FW.

"We have Airmen from many different Air Force specialties including aerospace ground equipment, crew chiefs, fabrications, and the engine shop," Cooper said. "These guys all have their daily jobs to do, and this is an additional duty that the whole team takes very serious."

Since the CDDAR team is one which is only called upon after a rare event, Cooper said the group may not get the recognition it deserves.

"The team doesn't get a lot of focus," Cooper said. "We're a first-responding unit that nobody knows about until you need them."

Although Cooper acknowledges he hopes the 177FW CDDAR team is never used in a real-life scenario, he ensures that if needed, they will be ready.