The San Xavier Underground Mining Laboratory, 20 miles south of Tucson, saw some surprising military training — but it's a fitting location. Air Force Pararescuemen are trained to rescue people everywhere from deserts to the open ocean. And because of this, they need to be trained in a wide variety of locations. The 414th Combat Training Squadron practiced their work at the San Xavier mine, training specific exercises and getting used to confined space.
“It’s sensory deprivation, which is what we’re trying to go for at the training site because that is the biggest lesson the team walks away with: figuring out different ways to handle those types of scenarios," Master Sgt. Sean Sylvia told Air & Space Forces Magazine.
In the exercise, airmen responded to a "simulated explosion that trapped and injured a handful of patients." Their work involved breaching in, checking on the patients, treating their injuries, and then helping them escape. All of this was conducted in the dark.
“Having an area to do these things is key,” said Tech Sgt. August O’Niell. “Maintaining proficiency over currency is something that is highly sought after and rarely happens with certain skill sets. It’s important that our guys are able to go after some things like this.”