Air Force, FEMA, DLA collaborate in Exercise Eagle Rising 3.0

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cameryn Bugman
  • 301st Fighter Wing

As hurricane season approaches, Reservists and Air Force Emergency Management personnel partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to enhance natural disaster preparedness efforts in Exercise Eagle Rising 3.0 at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida, April 8 to April 12, 2024.

The exercise aimed to establish a National Incident Support Base (NISB) to serve as a staging location for hurricane relief. The staging location prepositions necessities, such as food, water, cots, and generators, before a hurricane arrives to ensure quick humanitarian response after the storm.

The exercise served as a great opportunity for Air Force Emergency Managers to gain experience and knowledge about civilian disaster preparedness operations. The 482d Fighter Wing Emergency Management, the 301st Civil Engineer Squadron, and the 319th Training Squadron gained valuable information about the logistical operations of staging and how different government entities can work together to ensure the success of hurricane relief efforts.

Col. Scott Nichols, Florida’s Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer (EPLO), serves as the intermediary between FEMA and Air Force installations in Florida.

“The exercise provides insight for FEMA and the Air Force on the limiting factors for hosting a staging area at Homestead ARB,” Nichols said. “The exercise helps us understand the challenges and bottlenecks for moving a large quantity of personnel, equipment, and other resources into a location.”

FEMA conducts annual training exercises to help ensure proficiency in preparedness operations. This is the first time that Homestead ARB served as the host for the exercise. FEMA wanted to explore the opportunities that the Reserve base provided for a staging location.

“We assist people when people are having the worst day of their lives” said Shelia Thomas, Current Operations Branch Chief for FEMA Staging.

This exercise also allowed FEMA personnel to gain relevant training in logistical operations while learning how to integrate with other federal, state and local teams.

"The Eagle Rising exercise is most important to make sure when called on, the whole of government can provide resources where needed in a time of a crisis," David Epstein, 482d Fighter Wing Emergency Management Director, said. "This is the first exercise at HARB that allows all of us to practice and make sure when called on we can all be ready.”

Air Force EM personnel also gained important interagency insight through the experience.

“The exercise helped inform what FEMA’s capabilities are and how the Air Force can help support FEMA during a major disaster like a hurricane,” Staff Sgt. Teddy Warren, 319th Training Group Emergency Management journeyman, said.

Col. Craig Simmons, 482d Fighter Wing Deputy Commander, provided welcome remarks to kick-off the exercise.

“The exercise this week has been instrumental for our team to understand the emergency management and FEMA missions," Simmons said. "This interagency collaboration helps us work together more effectively to provide support for the base and the local community before and after a natural disaster.”