U-Tapao, Thailand – A TRAP, or Tactical Recovery of Aircraft Personnel, mission is when a team of service members assigned to be a reaction force to every flight, flies in to tactically remove isolated personnel and bring them back to safety.
“The scenario we took part in today, started with an F-18…down,” said GySgt Patrick Ray, an explosive ordinance detector with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “While examining the area for survivors, Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 found two good parachutes, announcing that they’re believed to be survivors.”
Pfc. Silvia Munozgarcia makes a radio call during the Cobra Gold 16 scenario-based training of the tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel at U-Tapao, February 15. Practicing TRAP missions allows the TRAP force to have the experience to respond quickly and accurately if an evacuation is needed. Munozgarcia, from San Francisco, California, is a radio operator with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
Two UH-1Y Hueys escorted an MV-22B Osprey carrying the trained assault force of nine Marines and one Sailor to recover the isolated Marines.
“While on stand-by in the air, we received a radio call with the go ahead to land and proceed to scout for the survivors,” said Ray.
The TRAP force bounded from the Osprey and began their search in the direction the isolated Marines were last known.
“When we found the casualty we authenticated her identity and began giving her medical attention,” said Ray.
The service members then loaded back into Osprey and waited in the air until the second survivor was authenticated.
“After the second survivor was confirmed, we landed again and brought him back the same way we did the first survivor,” said Ray.
The Corpsman on board the aircraft also demonstrated to the Marines the medical aid to give to the casualties.
“In the unfortunate event that an aircraft goes down, our pilots inside need to be assured that someone is coming for them,” said Ray. “We don’t leave Marines behind.”
Sgt. Eric M. Ekelund prepares an MV-22B Osprey to land the tactical recovery of aircraft and personal force during a Cobra Gold 16 demonstration at U-Tapao, February 15. During the scenario-based training the MV-22B Osprey unloads the TRAP force personnel so they can continue on foot to rescue the simulated casualty. Ekelund, from Bay Shore, New York is with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.