Air Force, Coast Guard partner for rescue exercise

US Air Force | Nov. 21, 2023

By Senior Airman Courtney Sebastianelli

U.S. Coast Guardsman greet U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 347th Operations Support Squadron during Mosaic Tiger 24-1 off the coast of Jacksonville on Nov. 17, 2023. Joint team training exercises ensure both branches are prepared for global maritime personnel recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Courtney Sebastianelli)
Coast Guardsmen greet Airmen assigned to the 347th Operations Support Squadron during Mosaic Tiger 24-1 off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 17, 2023. Joint team training exercises ensure both branches are prepared for global maritime personnel recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Courtney Sebastianelli)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, GA.: The 347th Operations Support Squadron at Moody Air Force Base partnered with U.S. Coast Guard Station Mayport, Florida, Nov. 17, for a simulated water rescue of a downed pilot during exercise Mosaic Tiger 24-1.

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 347th Operations Support Squadron smile with a U.S. Coast Guardsman assigned to the Coast Guard Station Mayport during a joint team exercise off the coast of Jacksonville on Nov. 17, 2023. Airmen worked alongside Coast Guardsmen to practice seamless integration for maritime rescue. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Courtney Sebastianelli)
Airmen assigned to the 347th Operations Support Squadron smile with a Coast Guardsman assigned to Coast Guard Station Mayport during a joint team exercise off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 17, 2023. Airmen worked alongside Coast Guardsmen to practice seamless integration for maritime rescue. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Courtney Sebastianelli)

Bad weather off the coast of Jacksonville and Saint Johns River stopped the actual exercise rescue from happening, but the relationship built during the planning process will help future joint operations between the two services.

“As we train, we can’t be singular in our approach,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Mendes, 347th OSS group weapons and tactics load master. “We have to work together to seamlessly merge, and since our HH-60Ws [Jolly Green II] don’t get maritime training as often, it was a valuable experience for our Airmen to integrate with another branch.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Tim Mathis, USCG STA Mayport unit supervisor, gives a safety brief before a simulated joint team rescue with U.S. Air Force Airmen during Mosaic Tiger 24-1 off the coast of Jacksonville on Nov. 17, 2023. Joint training exercises ensure preparedness for global personnel recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Courtney Sebastianelli)
Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Tim Mathis, USCG Station Mayport unit supervisor, gives a safety brief before a simulated joint team rescue with Airmen during Mosaic Tiger 24-1 off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 17, 2023. Joint training exercises ensure preparedness for global personnel recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Courtney Sebastianelli)
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Mendes, 347th Operations Support Squadron group weapons and tactics load master, listens to U.S. Coast Guardsmen during a simulated joint team exercise in the Saint Johns River in Jacksonville on Nov. 17, 2023. The Air Force rescue community's mission objective of conducting search and rescue, combined with the Coast Guard's commitment to ensuring maritime safety, merged in an effort to assess how joint team concepts can merge during water rescues. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Courtney Sebastianelli)
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Mendes, 347th Operations Support Squadron group weapons and tactics load master, center, listens to Coast Guardsmen during a simulated joint team exercise in the Saint Johns River in Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 17, 2023. The Air Force rescue community's mission objective of conducting search and rescue, combined with the Coast Guard's commitment to ensuring maritime safety, merged to assess how joint team concepts can interplay during water rescues. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Courtney Sebastianelli)
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Mendes, 347th Operations Support Squadron group weapons and tactics load master, listens to a radio during a simulated joint team exercise with the U.S. Coast Guard station Mayport in Jacksonville on Nov. 17, 2023. The Joint training exercise was part of Mosaic Tiger 24- 1, which was designed to highlight the ability to generate airpower at dispersed locations while combating degraded communications. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Courtney Sebastianelli)
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Mendes, 347th Operations Support Squadron group weapons and tactics load master, listens to a radio during a simulated joint team exercise with Coast Guard station Mayport in Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 17, 2023. The joint training exercise was part of Mosaic Tiger 24-1, which was designed to highlight the ability to generate airpower at dispersed locations while combating degraded communications. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Courtney Sebastianelli)

Training with the Coast Guard allowed us to test and improve our proficiency in how we communicate and respond to maritime rescues.”



Moody AFB rescue Airmen used the Mosaic Tiger readiness exercise as a way to get ready for future real-world deployment cycles. During the week, they worked with three different Coast Guard Stations: Mayport, St. Petersburg and Cape Canaveral each provided safety boats, simulated hoist operations and the personnel in the water.



When life or death is at stake, especially for an over-water rescue, understanding joint team concepts ensures service members at every level can seamlessly integrate to move quickly and efficiently. Joint commanders can then leverage the unique capabilities of each branch to choose the right rescue package and save lives.



According to the Air Force guide titled The Joint Team, or the Purple Book, joint integration requires effective coordination among the military branches. The guide outlines how U.S. forces are required by national command authorities to respond on short notice to unpredictable crises in a joint force capacity.



Despite weather interference, the Air Force and Coast Guard were able to train for just that purpose.

“This training opportunity benefits both sides by giving our respective crews new encounters with environments and capabilities,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Tim Mathis, USCG STA Mayport unit supervisor. “Complacency can be the divider between failure and success, and exposing search-and-rescue resources to fresh scenarios deepens the well to draw from when the call comes in real-time.”



The search-and-rescue community is a tight-knit group of professionals, regardless of their branch of service. During the remainder of the day, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen worked to establish effective communication practices and demonstrate joint team integration when faced with real-time situations.



Mendes said mission success depends on how well-integrated forces can merge to streamline communication and overcome differences in execution methods. There is overlap between the Air Force’s search and rescue mission and the Coast Guard's commitment to ensuring maritime safety—both of which came together to produce an effective outcome during a rescue need.



“We benefit from working with the Air Force by working through a different set of scenarios that we may not usually see or expect,” Mathis said. “This promotes real-time risk assessment and evaluation that is essential to growing as first responders. The opportunity to develop a universal standard or response cannot be understated as more resources are available to respond in any given situation.”