“Pacific Endeavor-14” Exercise Stresses International Cooperation
Military Auxiliary Radio Service (MARS) stations from Okinawa and the US West Coast joined members of the Canadian Forces Auxiliary Radio Service (CFARS) to participate in the first phase of the US Pacific Command’s multinational “Pacific Endeavor-14” communication exercise that concluded on August 11. The disaster scenario was a massive earthquake in Nepal that caused a large number of casualties and crippled the country’s infrastructure.
MARS and CFARS members scanned “emergency center of activity” frequencies on the Amateur Radio HF bands, listening for information on the simulated disaster from Nepalese amateur operators. Unfortunately, poor propagation prevented Nepalese Amateur Radio operators from being heard by any other participants. The Army MARS gateway station at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and the 311th MARS gateway in Okinawa then simulated on-scene traffic, allowing the other participants to complete the exercise. Details of the exercise will be reported during the Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (GAREC) conference August 12-15. GAREC-2014 is being held in conjunction with the Huntsville (Alabama) Hamfest.
Because MARS and C-FARS may operate on both Amateur Radio and military frequencies, they can provide a bridge for radio amateurs outside the US and Canada to communicate with military units responding under the 24-nation Multinational Communications Interoperability Program in the disaster-prone Asia-Pacific region.
Part 2 of the Pacific Endeavor exercise is set for August 19. During the second phase, traffic from Nepalese amateurs reporting on earthquake aftershocks will be relayed to the US Pacific Command. — Thanks to Bill Sexton, N1IN, Army MARS Public Affairs Officer