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Japanese emergency response team members wheel a U.S. pilot who ejected into the ocean over to a helicopter in a simulated exercise Wednesday involving U.S. military and Japanese emergency response teams. This is the sixth year that the exercise has taken place with each year getting more elaborate as more elements are added.
Japanese emergency response team members wheel a U.S. pilot who ejected into the ocean over to a helicopter in a simulated exercise Wednesday involving U.S. military and Japanese emergency response teams. This is the sixth year that the exercise has taken place with each year getting more elaborate as more elements are added. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
Japanese emergency response team members wheel a U.S. pilot who ejected into the ocean over to a helicopter in a simulated exercise Wednesday involving U.S. military and Japanese emergency response teams. This is the sixth year that the exercise has taken place with each year getting more elaborate as more elements are added.
Japanese emergency response team members wheel a U.S. pilot who ejected into the ocean over to a helicopter in a simulated exercise Wednesday involving U.S. military and Japanese emergency response teams. This is the sixth year that the exercise has taken place with each year getting more elaborate as more elements are added. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
Japanese emergency responders tend a simulated casualty during a bilateral training exercise between the U.S. military and Japanese emergency response organizations. Approximatey 180 people participated in the annual exercise which is designed to test and strengthen U.S. and Japanese understanding and cooperation in real world scenarios.
Japanese emergency responders tend a simulated casualty during a bilateral training exercise between the U.S. military and Japanese emergency response organizations. Approximatey 180 people participated in the annual exercise which is designed to test and strengthen U.S. and Japanese understanding and cooperation in real world scenarios. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
A Japanese coast guard member relays information to members of his response team. Many different elements of Japanese emergency response teams participated in this year?s bilateral training exercise which involved a simulated aircraft crash into an urban area after the pilots ejected into the ocean.
A Japanese coast guard member relays information to members of his response team. Many different elements of Japanese emergency response teams participated in this year?s bilateral training exercise which involved a simulated aircraft crash into an urban area after the pilots ejected into the ocean. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
A Japanese emergency response team member relays information from a temporary command center to members of his team.  Many different elements of Japanese emergency response teams participated in this year?s bilateral training exercise, which involved approximately 120 Japanese and 60 U.S. servicemembers.
A Japanese emergency response team member relays information from a temporary command center to members of his team. Many different elements of Japanese emergency response teams participated in this year?s bilateral training exercise, which involved approximately 120 Japanese and 60 U.S. servicemembers. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
Japanese emergency responders tend to a simulated casualty during an annual bilateral training exercise between the U.S. military and Japanese Emergency Response Teams. The exercise involved approximately 120 Japanese and 60 U.S. service members.
Japanese emergency responders tend to a simulated casualty during an annual bilateral training exercise between the U.S. military and Japanese Emergency Response Teams. The exercise involved approximately 120 Japanese and 60 U.S. service members. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
A temporary command post was set up to facilitate communication and information between the U.S. military and the Japanese Emergency Response Teams during an annual bilateral training exercise that involved a scenario in which an aircraft crashed into an urban environment.
A temporary command post was set up to facilitate communication and information between the U.S. military and the Japanese Emergency Response Teams during an annual bilateral training exercise that involved a scenario in which an aircraft crashed into an urban environment. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
A firefighter readies his hose in preparation for dousing a simulated helicopter fire  during an annual bilateral training exercise between the U.S. military and Japanese Emergency Response Teams. This is the sixth year of the exercise with each year getting more elaborate as more elements are added.
A firefighter readies his hose in preparation for dousing a simulated helicopter fire during an annual bilateral training exercise between the U.S. military and Japanese Emergency Response Teams. This is the sixth year of the exercise with each year getting more elaborate as more elements are added. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
Firefighters grab hoses in preparation for dousing the flames on a simulated aircraft crash. The scenario was enacted as part of an annual bilateral training exercise between Japanese Emergency Response Teams and all branches of the U.S. military.
Firefighters grab hoses in preparation for dousing the flames on a simulated aircraft crash. The scenario was enacted as part of an annual bilateral training exercise between Japanese Emergency Response Teams and all branches of the U.S. military. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
A Japanese police officer who was one of the first on the scene of the simulated aircraft crash relays information to other branches of the Japanese Emergency Response Teams during an annual bilateral training exercise between Japanese Emergency Response Teams and all branches of the U.S. military.
A Japanese police officer who was one of the first on the scene of the simulated aircraft crash relays information to other branches of the Japanese Emergency Response Teams during an annual bilateral training exercise between Japanese Emergency Response Teams and all branches of the U.S. military. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)
A Japanese fire truck pulls up alongside a simulated aircraft crash during Wednesday's annual bilateral training exercise between Japanese Emergency Response Teams and the U.S. military. This is the sixth year of the exercise, which is designed to improve and reinforce emergency response procedures.
A Japanese fire truck pulls up alongside a simulated aircraft crash during Wednesday's annual bilateral training exercise between Japanese Emergency Response Teams and the U.S. military. This is the sixth year of the exercise, which is designed to improve and reinforce emergency response procedures. (Matt Orr/Stars and Stripes)

TORII BEACH, Okinawa — Sirens wailed in the distance, gradually getting louder as they closed in on the impact area.

Bodies littered the ground. Some moved. Others remained still.

Off in the distance, a rescue helicopter hovered over the ocean, whipping up sea spray while lowering a rescue swimmer to assist a pilot who ejected into the ocean only moments before his helicopter came crashing to the ground hundreds of yards away.

Such was the scenario for Wednesday’s drill involving U.S. military and Japanese emergency response teams and police.

The annual Off-Base Aircraft Accident Response Field Training Exercise first took place in 2005, a year after a Marine helicopter crashed into the Okinawa International University campus in 2004. No one was killed in the crash, but an administration building was seriously damaged.

“This is a great way to show the coordination between the Japanese and the U.S. military,” said Army spokesman Charles Steitz.

As local officials looked on during the hour-long exercise, simulated casualties were attended to — three were airlifted and three were driven by ambulance to U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa on Camp Lester — and a mock aircraft was set ablaze, which was put out by firefighters on scene.

“We train each year and hope that we never have to respond to [an aircraft crash],” said Col. Kevin Bishop, chief of the Okinawa Area Field Office. “But if we have to, we will know what we need to do.”

orrm@pstripes.osd.mil

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