VIDEO: 3 Nations Practice Response to Natural Disasters in Exercise Cope North


Guam – More than a thousand personnel from the U.S. Air Force are participating in Exercise Cope North on Andersen Air Force Base this week and next, along with 450 personnel from The Japan Air Self Defense Force and 300 from the Royal Australian Air Force. Cope North allows the allied countries to practice their interoperability.

Today PNC got to take a peak at what the countries are doing to prepare for disaster relief assistance in the event of a natural disaster.

“A lot of this was built off what happened in 2011 in Japan with Operation Tomodachi and the earthquake in eastern Japan and the resulting Tsunami,” U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Officer Captain Christopher Hoyler explained. “This exercise today and for tomorrow and Thursday gives these three countries an opportunity to get together and practice what they would do in a disaster relief scenario.”

In this scenario Hoyler says Northwest Field on Guam is being used as the hub of relief operations with cargo and personnel being flown to Tinian.

“All of the countries work together especially with what you see going on behind you with aircraft operations loading cargo, loading aircraft, loading people, loading supplies, they all have the same role” Hoyler told PNC. “Same thing with the command of control that’s been going on over here. The countries work together interoperability because you never know what role you’re gonna play in this type of scenario.”

Cope North has been a long standing tradition between the U.S. and Japan and Australia took an active role for the first time last year. The humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training is just a small part of the Cope North which is designed to enhance the air operations of each participating country.

“With the traditional Cope North Large Force Employment is what we call it where you have aircraft of all types, fire aircraft, bomber, tanker refueling aircraft all working together to work on air tactical operations and command and control in the sky and learning how to work together and talk to each other,” Hoyler said.

The humanitarian relief aspect of Cope North continues through Thursday with the Large Force Employment training continuing through February 15th.