192nd Intelligence Squadron trains to support state emergency operations

Airmen from the Virginia Air National Guard’s 192nd Intelligence Squadron, 192nd Fighter Wing, from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, team up with Virginia Army National Guard aviators, crew chiefs and mechanics to establish an air operations cell Sept. 9, 2014, at Chesapeake Regional Airport in Chesapeake, Va., during a domestic operations exercise. Sentinel Phoenix II, which ran from Sept. 7-12, simulated a large fire in the Great Dismal Swamp and tested the ability of the 192nd IS to provide imagery collection and analysis in support of first responders during a state emergency. Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers flew a UH-72 Lakota helicopter over the swamp, sending live video back to the air operations cell at the airport and from there back to Camp Pendleton, where the 192nd IS established a base of operations for the exercise. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Airmen from the Virginia Air National Guard’s 192nd Intelligence Squadron, 192nd Fighter Wing, from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, team up with Virginia Army National Guard aviators, crew chiefs and mechanics to establish an air operations cell Sept. 9, 2014, at Chesapeake Regional Airport in Chesapeake, Va., during a domestic operations exercise. Sentinel Phoenix II, which ran from Sept. 7-12, simulated a large fire in the Great Dismal Swamp and tested the ability of the 192nd IS to provide imagery collection and analysis in support of first responders during a state emergency. Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers flew a UH-72 Lakota helicopter over the swamp, sending live video back to the air operations cell at the airport and from there back to Camp Pendleton, where the 192nd IS established a base of operations for the exercise. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

CAMP PENDLETON, Va. – Virginia National Guard Airmen and Army aviators conducted Sentinel Phoenix II, an Incident Awareness and Assessment exercise Sept. 7-12, 2014, at Camp Pendleton, Va. Members of the Air Guard’s 192nd Intelligence Squadron and the Army Guard’s Detachment 1, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 151st Aviation Regiment worked jointly to provide live full-motion video during a simulated wildfire at the Great Dismal Swamp. The exercise was a test of the 192nd IS’ ability to capture the full motion video from the UH-72 Lakota’s sensor ball, analyze it and support first responders during a state emergency.

The scenario was based on a 2011 fire which burned for more than three months. Rapid response was a critical theme of the exercise. When the notional “go order” was given by Lt. Col. Bryan Salmon, 192nd IS commander, on Sunday, Sept. 7, a quick reaction team of 12 Airmen was alerted. In 45 minutes time, Salmon had full accountability of the teams’ members, who deployed from Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton to Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. At Camp Pendleton, they set up a tactical operations center within four hours. Twenty-four more Airmen followed to provide additional communications and analytic support.

 A UH-72 Lakota from the Virginia Army National Guard prepares to fly a sortie over the Great Dismal Swamp Sept. 9, 2014. The exercise was a test of the 192d IS’ ability to capture the full motion video from the UH-72 Lakota’s sensor ball, analyze it and support first responders during a state emergency. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

A UH-72 Lakota from the Virginia Army National Guard prepares to fly a sortie over the Great Dismal Swamp Sept. 9, 2014. The exercise was a test of the 192d IS’ ability to capture the full motion video from the UH-72 Lakota’s sensor ball, analyze it and support first responders during a state emergency. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“One of the key functions in our federal mission is to look at images and video,” said 1st Lt. Dennis Perreault, the exercise’s detachment commander. “Those same skill sets translate to this IAA mission. We’re looking at video from air platforms. We can look at satellite imagery. We applied those same skills to this disaster response scenario.”

The first phase of Sentinel Phoenix was a table top exercise conducted June 2-6 at Fort Pickett.
“Sentinel Phoenix I gave us the opportunity to refine our tactics, record them and right-size our response team,” said Capt. Billy Giannetti, the 192nd IS domestic operations project manager. “We also met with Fort Pickett firefighters, who helped us understand what geospatial information services products they might need during a wildfire.”

On Monday, Sept. 8, 192d IS Airmen planned the 2-151st’s flying mission over the Dismal Swamp. They also applied templates for IAA mission planning from National Guard Bureau and tailored them to the wildfire scenario.

On Tuesday, six airmen established an air operations cell at Chesapeake Regional Airport. Army Guard aviators in a UH-72 Lakota flew a sortie over the notional wildfire area. They used the helicopter’s on-board camera to feed live video back to the airport. The AOC coordinated directly with the aviators and used the Geospatial Information Interoperability Exploitation Portable system to capture the live images. An analyst at Camp Pendleton received the video feed and created products both during and after the sortie.

Virginia Air National Guard 1st Lt. Dennis Perreault speaks with Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen Sept. 9, 2014, at Chesapeake Regional Airport during Sentinel Phoenix II, an incident awareness and assessment exercise.  The exercise tested the 192d IS’ ability to capture full motion video from the UH-72 Lakota, analyze it and support first responders during a state emergency. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia Air National Guard 1st Lt. Dennis Perreault speaks with Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen Sept. 9, 2014, at Chesapeake Regional Airport during Sentinel Phoenix II, an incident awareness and assessment exercise. The exercise tested the 192d IS’ ability to capture full motion video from the UH-72 Lakota, analyze it and support first responders during a state emergency. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“We simulated as though we were mid-event so we could use and reference information already produced during the 2011 fire,” Perreault said. “Our skills allow us to quickly adapt to a situation like this. It’s a seamless transition from our federal mission to our domestic mission. We can produce very similar products because the execution of both is very familiar.”

In a real situation, they would use the footage from the Lakota to monitor the status of the wildfire, track hotspots, and help the incident management team determine the extent of the fire and its direction.

“We would look at the full-motion video from the Lakota and identify locations of personnel or infrastructure that might be at risk and then report that back to the incident management team near the fire area,” Perreault said. “On the ground they would take our data and combine it with data from other sources to determine their next course of action for battling the wildfire.”

Perreault explained that during the one hour and a half sortie, they were able to identify significant improvements to their process from start to finish.

“We integrated with our Army partners on the ground, with their system and established great communications,” Perrault said. “The partnership between the Air and Army Guard in the Commonwealth of Virginia, when it comes to domestic response, continues to grow. We get to train to support the commonwealth in the best way we know how and the 2-151st gets to fly and maintain pilot proficiency. It’s a win-win situation all around.”


Photos: 192nd IS tests ability to support first responders – Sept. 9, 2014

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