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By Stephen Brady
/ Published March 29, 2023
About 30 firefighters, Guardians and Department of Defense civilians gathered March 22, 2023, at New Boston Space Force Station for ice rescue training. (U.S. Space Force photo)
Rescuers haul the victim, Lt. Col. David Zesinger, New Boston Space Force Station commander, to safety during ice rescue training March 22, 2023. (U.S. Space Force photo)
Guardians at the 23rd Space Operations Squadron used cold weather to their advantage recently, as part of its joint emergency readiness training.
The New Boston Space Force Station, located in New Hampshire, hosted ice rescue training in conjunction with the local New Boston civilian fire department.
About 30 firefighters, Guardians and Department of Defense civilians gathered March 22, 2023, at a pond on the space force station. Following weeks of cold, snowy weather, the pond was covered with about six inches of ice. The victim: Lt. Col. David Zesinger, NBSFS and 23rd SOPS commander.
“As a small Installation we rely heavily on our local first responders for both real world emergencies and exercise. We’re fortunate to have built such a strong working relationship and will continue to cultivate that relationship into the future,” said Jeff Oja, NBSFS emergency manager and unit safety representative. NBSFS has also held evacuation management and tabletop active shooter exercises in conjunction with local first responders.
“The importance of collaborative efforts between our squadron and the local fire department could mean the difference between life and death in a real-world response,” Oja said.
After falling through the ice -- multiple times -- the fire department practiced rescue techniques to retrieve Zesinger, clad in a cold-water survival suit.
“It actually wasn’t too bad, my fingers got cold after a while, but my body stayed warm,” said Zesinger, who was in the frigid water for about an hour.
“First and foremost, actively engaging with the local civilian fire department familiarizes them with the installation, and we get the chance to work in the real-world with our counterparts,” he said. “That way, when a real emergency happens, regardless of the type, it’s not the first time we’ve dealt with each other. Second, we are happy to support our community in providing a safe and controlled training environment on base, so they can practice unique rescue tactics, like in the ice pond. It’s a win-win.”
New Boston SFS is operated by the 23rd Space Operations Squadron, a geographically-separated unit of Space Delta 6, headquartered at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado. The 23rd SOPS provides U.S. Space Command with critical satellite command and control capability to more than 190 Department of Defense, national and civilian satellites performing intelligence, weather, navigation, early-warning and communications operations.