Angel Thunder 2015 - High Angle Rescue

Angel Thunder is a very large, multinational, military/federal agency training exercise hosted every year by Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. Law enforcement agencies train alongside US / foreign military special operations and combat rescue forces throughout the southwestern US to share and learn new techniques as well as strengthen inter-agency operations. The exercise lasts two weeks, with multiple complex and dynamic scenarios as well as specific types of training.

I'll be posting a few short blog posts after some of the exercises I shoot of Angel Thunder 2015 beginning with this week's High Angle Rescue training.

On Wednesday I met up with Pararescuemen from the 304th Rescue Squadron, based in Portland, Recon Marines from the 1st Force Reconnaissance Battalion, based in San Diego, USMC Special Operations Training Group - Assault Climbing Instructors, also based in San Diego, and USAF SERE specialists. We met at the Prison Camp climbing area on Mount Lemmon, in Tucson. Prison Camp is a popular climbing area for recreational climbers, and where the Marines teach assault climbing.

The PJs from the 304th and the SERE/Assault Climbing Instructors were teaching the Marines new techniques in high angle rescues, particularly hands-free backups to use while they rappel, that may save their lives if they are shot or injured while mid-rappel and let go of the rope with their hands.

It was a hot day in Tucson, though, slightly cooler at about 4,500' up on Mt. Lemmon, we hiked to the training area with our gear and I spent the day photographing the PJs and Marines practicing their descents and ascents. I love climbing and rappelling myself, so I had a blast hanging out with the some of the best climbers in the world.

On a side note, and as somebody noted on the Instagram photo I posted, you can clearly see just how effective the Marine and Air Force camouflage patterns are in this desert/mountain environment.



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