MARS, MEMA Conduct Hurricane Exercise

W1MPN and N1CPE operate 2008 MARS joint hurricane drillAll three branches of the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) were involved in a four-hour, time-compressed hurricane drill affecting the eastern United States.

Army MARS was the lead branch with assistance from Air Force and Navy-Marine Corps MARS. The large drill focused on the recovery phase of a Category Four hurricane. The drill encompassed fifteen states, with most of the infrastructure damage, evacuations and flooding situated in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey.

Tom Kinahan, N1CPE, the MA State RACES Officer and Mike Neilsen, W1MPN manned the Massachusetts State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and participated in the exercise. Situation reports were sent via Winlink to the Air Force Incident Command post at Hancock Air National Guard Base in New York.

Neilsen and Kinahan also used Echolink to communicate with Air Force MARS member Phil McNamara, N1XTB, of Middleboro, MA. Winlink messages were also exchanged with N1XTB, who monitored the progress of the exercise on the MARS HF command and control frequency and passed along notable drill occurrences; for example, the C-130 damage assessment overflight.

Also participating in the drill was Ed Barlow, K1ZIK, the MA Air Force MARS Director and Wilmington RACES officer.

Pictured here: Mike Neilsen, W1MPN (l) and Tom Kinahan, N1CPE at the Massachusetts SEOC

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