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Civil engineer Airmen learn disaster skills at Global Dragon

By Staff Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez | 188th Wing, Arkansas Air National Guard | June 7, 2019

PERRY, Ga. – Civil engineer operations students from the 147th Attack Wing learned route-clearing skills during Exercise Global Dragon 2019, held at the Guardian Centers of Georgia, May 29.

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, clearing transportation routes in a reasonable amount of time can save lives and prevent further destruction.

“These skillsets could be used, for instance, during Hurricane Harvey, when emergency services could not get into communities,” said Senior Master Sgt. Nathan Sullivan, a Global Dragon instructor from the 147th Attack Wing, a component of the Texas Air National Guard. “Storms blow down powerlines, trees and cars. We can come in and clear the route for responders to get through.”

Students put their skills to the test at a scenario called Tornado Alley, a road made to simulate the after-effects of a tornado as close to real life as possible. Students are challenged with overturned cars, buses, downed power lines, steel beams, and trees thrown across in an unstable manner. Every piece of debris needs to be pushed and cut meticulously to ensure responders stay safe.

Sullivan said that training and expert instruction his Airmen receive here at Global Dragon is unlike anything else.

“There is no way we could set up a scenario that this exercise could do; they have been amazing,” he said. “We get to come here and have the experts with us.”

Global Dragon is a biannual, Air National Guard led exercise providing training for career fields across the mission support enterprise in as close to real-world conditions as possible.