HONOLULU (KHON2) - For the first time, the Hawaii National Guard held a search and rescue exercise here on Oahu—involving several countries.
For the past week, more than 20 soldiers from the Philippines and Indonesia have been cross-training with the US National Guard in various search and rescue type trainings, to help provide emergency readiness within the Asian-Pacific region.
"It's the first combined task force here in Hawaii and—I believe for National Guard as a whole— to bring international partners here to Hawaii, and cross train with our US soldiers," said Capt. Valentine Roberts of the Hawaii National Guard. "It's the first of its kind, so it's very exciting."
In today's final scenario, a Category 4 hurricane has devastated East Oahu, leaving people trapped under concrete structures. A training exercise Capt. Roberts says is crucial for Hawaii.
"We are isolated from rest of mainland, so we are the first responders in a sense," he added. "It will take time for additional assets to come and assist us."
Soldiers like Sgt. Christopher Ancheta, squad leader of the Philippines Armed Forces, says he's learned a lot during training—like synchronized commands for an international rescue.
"In the Philippines, we have different victim marking then the US. We learned the marking like a mark of FEMA," Sgt. Ancheta said.
The National Guard adds that this type of training also helps international parties understand a universal code during certain situations.
"Providing real-time training here, along with our international partners, we are more capable of responding quicker and save lives faster because of these exercise," Capt. Roberts added.