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Biannual Angel Thunder Exercises Test Combat Search, Rescue Capabilities

TUCSON, Ariz. --

Angel Thunder, a series of biannual exercises focused on testing combat search and rescue capabilities, began operations for this year's second iteration at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base here Nov. 4.

This year's previous Angel Thunder exercise was held here May 6-19.

The latest two-week-long exercise features Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps participants, along with service members from Canada, France, Italy and Poland, to conduct training to prepare to support survivors, referred to as isolated personnel, in a deployed environment.


"We want to create scenarios where these different Department of Defense entities have to come together to solve a problem," said Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Rosebrough, director of operations for Detachment 1, 414th Combat Training Squadron. "We want them to play to each other's strengths and mitigate each other's weaknesses."

The Air Combat Command-sponsored exercise will use a variety of scenarios to simulate deployed conditions and contingencies, he said.

"The main point of these exercises is to give the participants as much practice as possible before going downrange," Rosebrough said. "They can use the experience they gain from these simulations to make knowledgeable decisions while in a deployed environment."

Biannual Exercises

Angel Thunder is held twice a year to ensure units throughout the DoD have the opportunity to participate in training events focused on combat search and rescue. The exercise provides training to U.S. and foreign-partner personnel recovery forces and helps to prepare them for future deployments.

Due to the dynamic range of the tactics used by U.S. adversaries, officials said, the exercise continually evolves to combat those alterations to better equip participants to deal with them downrange.