Coast Guard partners with Canadian Forces, National Guard to train for maritime emergency

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod flies above a Coast Guard 45-foot response boat off the Rhode Island coast during Operation Orange Flag, Thursday, May 12, 2016. Operation Orange Flag is an international and interagency search and rescue exercise. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Barresi)

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter flies above a Coast Guard 45-foot response boat off the Rhode Island coast during Operation Orange Flag, Thursday, May 12, 2016.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Barresi)

BOSTON — The Coast Guard hosted a search and rescue exercise with the Royal Canadian Forces and New York Air National Guard in Rhode Island Sound May 9-13 to train for a maritime rescue operation in the Northeast.

Operation Orange Flag, an international and interagency search and rescue exercise, showcases the capabilities of the participating services.

Participants included crews from:

  • Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod: HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft/MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter
  • Coast Guard Cutters: 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter Forward and 87-foot patrol boat Albacore
  • Coast Guard small boats from stations Castle Hill and Point Judith
  • Canadian Defense Force 413th Rescue Squadron: C-130 and CH-149
  • NY ANG 101st Rescue Squadron: 2 HH-60
  • NY ANG 102nd Rescue Squadron: 1 C-130
  • NY ANG 103rd Rescue Squadron: 3 Zodiacs

Orange Flag spanned five days with the first focusing on command and control operations, learning the capabilities of the other agencies, and safety briefings. The following days consisted of Coast Guard aircraft drops of Air National Guard parajumpers (Guardian Angels), Canadian aircraft drops of search and rescue technicians, and the recovery of personnel by Coast Guard small boats to the cutters. Coast Guard and Canadian Forces helicopter crews practiced hoisting rescue swimmers and other personnel to cutters, patrol boats, and cutter small boats.

The final day included a mass rescue operation simulation. A Coast Guard HC-144 dropped an aviation search and rescue kit followed by five Guardian Angels. The recovery of personnel in the water simulated what would happen if an airplane went down or crew members from a boat were in the water and needed rescue.

“We are all mission focused,” said Lt. Mark Joseloff, a New York Air National Guard combat rescue officer. “At the end of the day we all care about the survivor and getting them the care they need.”

The Canadian Defense Force 413th Transport & Rescue Squadron is based out of Greenwood, Canada. The New York Air National Guard (NY ANG) 101st, 102nd, and 103rd Rescue Squadrons are based out of Westhampton, New York.

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