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Kadena tests on non-combatant evacuations

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Rey Ramon
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
Hundreds of volunteers and workers tested the wing's emergency evacuation plan here Jan. 18-20 to ensure non-mission essential civilians can be moved off island should the need arise. 

This exercise was part of the Pacific Air Force Operational Readiness Inspection to test Kadena's plans to evacuate non-combatants in the area. 

A Non-combatant Evacuation Operation applies to U.S. citizens, Department of Defense civilians and designated host-nation and third-country nationals who may be in danger if tensions were to arise in the region. 

More than 100 families and augmentees registered into the NEO tracking system during the exercise. 

"We must be ready at a moment's notice, to carry out the operation if and when called upon," said Senior Master Sgt. Grant Embrey, 18th Mission Support Squadron, superintendent of the evacuation control center. "With the favorable outcome of the recent local operational readiness exercise, PACAF Inspector General evaluators have ensured Kadena's non-combatant evacuation operations team is primed and ready to carry out its responsibility." 

The Kadena NEO team, comprised of more than 300 unit wardens and numerous support agencies, has taken several measures to make sure accurate information is recorded for those evacuating, he said. 

"We received chalks with U.S. citizens and Category II, host nation and third country nationals," said Airman 1st Class Joshua Williams, 18th Mission Support Squadron, Military Personnel Flight. "They signed in and were given a card to be able to process for accountability purposes in transit." 

The NEO tracking system will include the evacuees information, emergency contact and final destination contact, said Staff Sgt. Keorka Wilder, 18th Wing command post information manager.

Before departing, a manifest document is sent to the destination for accountability of each person leaving the island. 

Senior Master Sgt. Embrey said, the team has learned how to conduct its operation more efficiently and has a better understanding of the effectiveness of each agency during the process. 

"The Kadena manager and staff have worked extremely hard the past two years building a solid and reliable evacuation program," he said. "I consider it an honor to be able to serve with so many professionals who put so much into what they do for others." 

The evaluation was a success and the IG inspection team praised the NEO team's sense of urgency.