Amateur Radio Emergency Service
Washington Dulles International Airport
Emergency Exercise May 8, 2004

This is the story of what we saw and did during
our detail at the Emergency Helo Med Evac Operation

By Tom Garasic, NA4MA of Haymarket, and Norm Styer, AI2C of Clarks Gap, VA.
Members of the Loudoun County Amateur Radio Emergency Service.


      This Emergency Communications Exercise had been briefed by Tom Dawson, WB3AKD, our Loudoun County Amateur Radio Emergency Service's Emergency Coordinator at several Loudoun Amateur Radio Group monthly meetings. We all knew this was a special event and most began preparing. In April, Tom Dawson and the other area County EC's briefed us at the Leesburg Public Safety Center on the concept of operations, our duties and the communications plan. In early May we all received our orders.

      Tom Garasic and I had drawn the Helo Med Evac assignment; and we both talked about what we should be bringing, what would be expected of us and what we should do. Going in with a light set of radio gear was a good idea. We each had dual-band 2-Meter/440 MHz handhelds, spare batteries though I left mine in the front seat of the F-150, fold-up chairs, plenty of water and food, and raincoats if necessary. Goggles would also be nice.

      On the morning of May 8th, Tom and I left our homes around 0545 hours and made contact on the 145.310 MHz N4SFC Repeater near Dulles. I closed first about 0605 hours, Tom missed the turn into the southern gate and arrived about 0615 hours. There were many folks already there and it was clear that the Red Cross, and other exercise facilities had been previously set up. They were busy registering potential victims and making them look very bad. Gary Quinn, NC4S, the Assistant EC for Loudoun County arrived by 0630 hours and, per radio instructions from Tom Dawson who was en route, began checking in the 100 plus amateur radio operators signed on for this operation. We would sorta hang around the assembly area for an hour-plus before being escorted to the crash site. It was good to meet everyone and have some good coffee and donuts provided by the Red Cross. We listened to the talk-in operation chaired by Evan Alford, KQ4CI as he walked around the assembly area with his handheld radio.

       This is the story of what Tom Garasic, NA4MA and Norm Styer, AI2C saw and did during the Dulles Emergency Exercise 2004.


The Early Morning Assembly     

Dave Putman, KG4KZZ of Woods Road, Leesburg, arrives at the Assembly Area at 0630 hours with WB3AKD's Trailer-Mounted 10-KW Generator for the Loudoun ARES Communications Shelter.


By 0710 hours, Tom Dawson, WB3AKD joins Dave with the Comm Shelter, an US Army S-280 Shelter.


       Denny Boehler, KF4TJI of Leesburg and Pam Bozzi, N4OPN of Round Hill wait to accompany the comm shelter escort into the crash site.



Buddy Brewer, K4CJB of Round Hill checks
into the Assembly Area By 0715 hours.
       Acting ARRL Virginia Section PIO, Larry Hughes, K3HE of Leesburg with Chester Kmak, WA9LAZ of Ashburn, and Carol Boehler, KF4TJJ of Leesburg.



American Red Cross and Airport Officials provide an
Orientation and Safety Briefing at 0800 hours prior to
departing the Assembly Area for the Crash Site.


On To The Crash Site

       Airport Authority provided buses transport all victim players and volunteer support personnel to the Crash Site. Security and safety were important through out the exercise. We all tried to listen to the Airport Authority's instructions.




We arrived just in time to see the end
of the test firing of the exercise plane.


A Few Hot Spots Remain At 0830 hours


VIPs and Red Cross and POI Official start to assemble at the Crash Site.
Our Acting ARRL Virginia Section PIO, Larry Hughes, K3HE, arrives from the right.


Helo Med Evac Operations


Tom Garasic, NA4MA and Norm Styer, AI2C arrive at assigned Helo Pad Site by 0850 hours. Local Police Forces also assemble and prepare for search for terrorists.








At 0900 hours, just a lonely
Fairfax County Police Chopper sits on the Helo Pad.


Garasic and Styer Set Up Post Upwind Of The Helo Pad  And Check Into Nets.



By 0915 Hours All Is Ready

The first "Red - Critical" patient arrives around 1000 hours

The Fairfax Police take the first Med Evac victim to Loudoun Hospital

More Red Condition Patients Arrive By 1030 Hours



By 1100 hours, Two Med-Star and a Air-Care Med Evac Arrive and
Helo Pad Operations Is Controlled Locally By Airport Operations Official
Who Is Operating With Radios From White Sedan On Right

Ready To Load

Two Patients Are Evac'd

Last Red Patient Arrives By 1110 hours.
By 1130 Hours All Were Gone And We Were Escorted Back To The Crash Site.



Meanwhile, Back At The Crash Site

The Crash Site at 1135 Hours Was Rapping Up

Most Folks Had Departed By 12 Noon

We Visited The Crash Site Mobile Amateur Radio Facilities (On Right)


"Home Plate"

ComCen For ARES Operations

Tom Dawson, WB3AKD and Dave Putman, KG4KZZ
Had Set Up Right Outside The Crash Site.

At 1230 Hours, Things Were Still Going On.
From Top, Paul Dluehosh, N4PD, Gary Quinn, NC4S and Dave Putman, KG4KZZ.

Dave Putman, KG4KZZ's APRS Was Working Great. He Was Tracking Each Bus To and From Local Hospitals.

By 1300  Hours, The Official Operation Was Closed But The Amateur Radio Comm's Remained In Operation
Until 1500 Hours When The Last Bus Returning Hospital Patients Arrived Back At The Assemble Area.