414th Personnel Recovery Division Excels in Bamboo Eagle Deployment Exercise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Sean Hetz
  • 57th Wing Public Affairs

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --  Airmen from the 414th Combat Training Squadron personnel recovery division showcased their real-world monitoring and personnel recovery capabilities during the first iteration of Bamboo Eagle from Jan. 26-Feb. 2.

Bamboo Eagle 24-1 is a U.S. Air Force Warfare Center exercise designed to provide an environment where an expeditionary airbase can train and certify force elements. Bamboo Eagle demonstrated sustainable mission-centric command, distributed control, and decentralized execution with dynamic battle management of fielded forces. The mission generation provided the capability to achieve superiority against adversary aircraft, long-range bombers, and cruise missiles.

As the adage goes, we don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training..''
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Zach Purcell, 414th CTS survival evasion resistance and escape specialist

The physical environment of Bamboo Eagle in various disaggregated locations along the coast of California brought real-world risks the 414th CTS personnel recovery division was tasked with mitigating.

“Our challenges within Bamboo Eagle are very similar to what we would face in a future conflict in the Pacific. Finding, fixing, and tracking survivors in small life rafts in the vast Pacific Ocean is no easy task,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Zach Purcell, 414th CTS survival evasion resistance and escape specialist. “There are growing pains associated with all of these problem sets, but Bamboo Eagle is forcing these to the forefront of the personnel recovery community and therefore preparing us to overcome these challenges.”

The exercise is designed to simulate challenges arising from the tyranny of distance during operations in the INDOPACOM theater. This placed the 414th personnel recovery division in a dynamic and unpredictable environment. SERE specialists monitored the area of operations along the eastern Pacific Coast during sorties and missions.

The focus on real-world monitoring and personnel recovery added a crucial dimension to training, ensuring readiness for any contingencies that may occur in the field and mitigating risks associated with flying over water.

During Bamboo Eagle, the 414th CTS personnel recovery division demonstrated their expertise in responding to potential mishaps. The capability to locate and recover downed aircrew members in any condition is an important aspect of modern military operations. This exercise provided an opportunity to refine their procedures and enhance coordination. The emphasis on monitoring aligns with the evolution of military operations, where situational awareness and intelligence play pivotal roles in mission success.

“The first iteration of Bamboo Eagle was a stepping-stone to further scenario development for the next iteration,” Purcell explained. “There will absolutely be risks associated with putting personnel in the water hundreds of miles off the coast but that is what we will work towards.”

Training exercises like Bamboo Eagle play a crucial role in maintaining the Air Force’s competitive edge. The 414th CTS Personnel Recovery Division’s involvement in this cutting-edge exercise underscores their dedication to excellence and their pivotal role in shaping the future of air combat readiness.