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31st FW conducts Operation Porcupine 2020

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Declan Ward, 31st Security Force Squadron monitoring facility operator hides in the grass during Operation Porcupine, June 30, 2020 at Osoppo, Italy. The 31st SFS maintains installation force protection during peacetime and wartime operations within eight separate base areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Declan Ward, 31st Security Force Squadron monitoring facility operator hides in the grass during Operation Porcupine, June 30, 2020 at Osoppo, Italy. The 31st SFS maintains installation force protection during peacetime and wartime operations within eight separate base areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Benjamin Howard, 31st Security Force Squadron military working dog handler and his K-9 counterpart, Kay, surveils the landscape during Operation Porcupine, June 30, 2020 at Osoppo, Italy. The 31st SFS maintains installation force protection during peacetime and wartime operations within eight separate base areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Benjamin Howard, 31st Security Force Squadron military working dog handler and his K-9 counterpart, Kay, surveils the landscape during Operation Porcupine, June 30, 2020 at Osoppo, Italy. The 31st SFS maintains installation force protection during peacetime and wartime operations within eight separate base areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Benjamin Howard, 31st Security Force Squadron military working dog handler and his K-9 counterpart, Kay, search for a simulated downed pilot during Operation Porcupine, June 30, 2020 at Osoppo, Italy. Operation Porcupine is an exercise demonstrating the interoperability of all units in the 31st Operations Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Benjamin Howard, 31st Security Force Squadron military working dog handler and his K-9 counterpart, Kay, search for a simulated downed pilot during Operation Porcupine, June 30, 2020 at Osoppo, Italy. Operation Porcupine is an exercise demonstrating the interoperability of all units in the 31st Operations Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew McCarty, 31st Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler searched for a simulated downed pilot during Operation Porcupine, June 30, 2020 at Osoppo, Italy. McCarty acted as the opposing force during Operation Porcupine which is a unique exercise that tests the diverse capabilities of the 31st Operations Group, combining efforts from the 56th and 57th Rescue Squadron, the 510th Fighter Squadron, the 606th Air Control Squadron, and the 31st Security Forces Squadron for the rescue of a simulated downed pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew McCarty, 31st Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler searched for a simulated downed pilot during Operation Porcupine, June 30, 2020 at Osoppo, Italy. McCarty acted as the opposing force during Operation Porcupine which is a unique exercise that tests the diverse capabilities of the 31st Operations Group, combining efforts from the 56th and 57th Rescue Squadron, the 510th Fighter Squadron, the 606th Air Control Squadron, and the 31st Security Forces Squadron for the rescue of a simulated downed pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)

An Airman from the 56th Rescue Squadron looks out of an HH-60G Pave Hawk during Operation Porcupine over a military training area in Osoppo, Italy, June 30, 2020. Operation Porcupine is a combat search and rescue exercise requiring Aviano’s 510th Fighter Squadron, 56th and 57th Rescue Squadron, and 606th Air Control Squadron to work together to accomplish the mission.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Caleb House)

An Airman from the 56th Rescue Squadron looks out of an HH-60G Pave Hawk during Operation Porcupine over a military training area in Osoppo, Italy, June 30, 2020. Operation Porcupine is a combat search and rescue exercise requiring Aviano’s 510th Fighter Squadron, 56th and 57th Rescue Squadron, and 606th Air Control Squadron to work together to accomplish the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Caleb House)

A pararescueman from the 57th Rescue Squadron looks out of an HH-60G Pave Hawk during Operation Porcupine over a military training area in Osoppo, Italy, June 30, 2020. Operation Porcupine demonstrated the unique capabilities of the 31st Operations Group which host all assets needed to conduct a combat search and rescue mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Caleb House)

A pararescueman from the 57th Rescue Squadron looks out of an HH-60G Pave Hawk during Operation Porcupine over a military training area in Osoppo, Italy, June 30, 2020. Operation Porcupine demonstrated the unique capabilities of the 31st Operations Group which host all assets needed to conduct a combat search and rescue mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Caleb House)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 510th Fighter Squadron takes flight in support of Operation Porcupine at Aviano Air Base, Italy, June 30, 2020. Operation Porcupine is an annual exercise to train on inoperability within the 31st Fighter Wing units.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Heidi Goodsell)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 510th Fighter Squadron takes flight in support of Operation Porcupine at Aviano Air Base, Italy, June 30, 2020. Operation Porcupine is an annual exercise to train on inoperability within the 31st Fighter Wing units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Heidi Goodsell)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --

Multiple squadrons from the 31st Fighter Wing worked closely during Exercise Operation Porcupine, June 30, 2020, at Aviano Air Base.

Operation Porcupine is an annual exercise created to promote interoperability among 31st FW units.

“Aviano has a very diverse amount of assets,” said Col. Leslie Hauck, 31st Operations Group commander. “With all those diverse missions being at one base, we are able to plan together, train together, and debrief together. It is the most realistic training I have received in my military career.”

The exercise simulated a downed pilot scenario. The 56th and 57th Rescue Squadrons, 31st Operations Support Squadron, 510th Fighter Squadron, 606th Air Control Squadron worked together to rescue the pilot in a simulated contested environment.

“This is where the rubber meets the road,” said Tech. Sgt. Dylan Sedillo, 31st OSS noncommissioned officer in charge of Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training. “That is what we’re really here to do, to help people be successful when things get dangerous.”

Members from the 31st Security Forces Squadron acted as enemy forces simultaneously searching for the pilot. The team used whistles to create simulated gun fire making the crash landing zone more realistic.

The 56th and 57th RQS deployed in a little under an hour to retrieve the pilot. The 606th ACS provided Command and Control from the ground while the 510th and 555th FS provided air support. SERE specialist from the 31st OSS helped the downed pilot evade enemy forces.

The 56th RQS team landed their HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter as close to the pilot as possible.

Not long after, 57th RQS pararescuemen found the pilot. For this scenario, the pilot was badly injured and needed to be stabilized before being moved. The team worked effectively and efficiently to stabilize the pilot before moving him. Finally, they were able to get the pilot on a stretcher and to the helicopter, successfully completing the scenario.

Exercises like Operation Porcupine test the swift mobility and capabilities of the wing to ensure the 31st FW is always rapidly ready to respond to any situation at a moment’s notice.