GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE — A picturesque scene of Hoosier corn waving in a warm summer breeze was shattered with explosions of gunfire and shrill screams of pain as Grissom transformed into a battlefield where freedom and life hung in the balance.
While the small-arms reports were just blanks and the screams were just actors, that didn't take away from the realism as U.S. Airmen, Marines and Soldiers came together during the base's second annual joint, mass-casualty exercise Aug. 4.
During the exercise, named Operation Rudy Strong, 434th Air Refueling Wing medical, security forces and explosives ordnance disposal Airmen teamed up with Grissom's Marine reservists to support a democratic voting process in a simulated Middle Eastern country.
"This was built around an actual scenario I had to do on my last tour in Afghanistan," said Capt. Mark Trouerbach, Grissom's Detachment One, Communication Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 45, 4th Marine Logistics Group inspector instructor. "Voter registration is a big deal, but it's also a very big deal for the enemy because any way they can delegitimize the government the better it is for them to build the propaganda."
"You want to be able to establish a safe environment for people to vote," Trouerbach added.Helping create that safe haven for democracy, a Marine CH-46 Sea Knight, flown by Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 774 at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., as well as a handful of Grissom Army reservists, Indiana Army National guardsmen, and Marines from other units around the country also participated in the exercise.
The cooperative endeavor further added to the percussions and performances to bring about a realistic environment as many real-world military operations are conducted jointly, said Lt. Col. Peter G. Weber III, the 434th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometrist who spearheaded the exercise planning.