Airmen demonstrate evacuation capabilities
published: February 23, 2013
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 374th Airlift Wing continued training during a readiness week Feb. 22, 2013, with a simulated U.S. Noncombatant Evacuation Operation in the Taiyo Community Center at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
The exercise scenario required Yokota to provide a temporary in-transit staging area for simulated evacuees until flights were made available to safely deliver them from the Pacific theater to the U.S.
"This facility (Taiyo Community Center) is designed to be our reception center should the Department of State to issue an order for people to evacuate," said Steven Mayfield, NEO reception center director. "People come in and our job is to receive them, safe guard them and make them as comfortable as possible while they are awaiting follow-on transportation to a destination (typically the States)"
Upon arriving at Yokota, simulated evacuees were transported to the Taiyo where they were welcomed and briefed by Mayfield. He told them about the exercise situation, informed them of the accommodations provided and answered any questions or concerns.
Airman & Family Readiness center staff, along with members throughout the 374th Force Support Squadron and base augmentees, ensured people were comfortable during their stay.
"We have a NEO augmentation team of 24 dedicated individuals from squadrons throughout the wing. Some of them who are new to the process were trained last week and this exercise gave them a great opportunity to put that training to the test while familiarizing themselves with the process," Mayfield added.
All simulated evacuees filed through a registration line that offered hands-on assistance from base organizations such as finance, personnel and the Red Cross. Food, water and shelter were also provided.
Staff Sgt. Alicia Davis, an evacuee role player, was part of the simulated NEO and processed through the registration line.
"Everyone was friendly and effective," Davis said. "It was fast and they got us from point A to point B in a timely manner. If a real-world situation ever required the same response, I feel like Yokota would handle the situation well."