Interagency cooperation fostered during Maryland Wing search and rescue training
5/7/2017–On Saturday March 18, 2017, 28 cadets and 16 senior members from the Maryland and National Capital wings of Civil Air Patrol gathered at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds in Maryland to support the local Spring 2017 Boy Scout Camporee. Civil Air Patrol members were joined by county, state, and national law enforcement, emergency response, and military organizations to host over 30 adventure stations for Boy Scouts and Venturers. In addition to providing support for this event, which was put on by the Four Rivers District of the Boy Scouts of America’s Baltimore Area Council, CAP members also had the opportunity to train for and be evaluated on tasks toward CAP mission qualifications.
Using one of Maryland Wing’s three mobile incident command post vehicles as a mission base, CAP members were able to train on urban direction finding, ground team member and leader, mission radio operator, and mission safety officer tasks. Those working on ground team tasks learned first-hand how to signal to and guide a helicopter in for landing as part of a demonstration put on by Anne Arundel County (AACO) Fire/Rescue and AACO Emergency Medical Services. CAP members also worked with search and rescue dogs and their handlers from Chesapeake Search Dogs. With manpower and equipment sometimes being an issue during emergencies, the event was a great opportunity for force-multiplying interagency relationships to be foraged. “This event was an excellent chance to practice working with these organizations in a training setting, which will help us work together much more effectively under actual emergency conditions should we need to in the future,” said Lt. Col. Wes LaPre, CAP’s incident commander for the activity.
During the exercise, staff evaluators focused on the integrated operations of both air and ground personnel. In particular, the ability for aircrews and ground teams to communicate without radios was practiced. Ground personnel followed the directions of an aircrew that detected a practice distress beacon, a difficult and important task when performing search and rescue missions. Later in the day, an aircrew followed directions communicated through ground team members’ use of non-radio communication methods such as signal panels and the creation of letters using the team members themselves. Cadet Senior Airman Aidan Hoerl, one of the cadets participating in this event, observed that the training will “help all of our cadets in learning how to serve our county and country, saving lives” and aiding those in need of assistance.
In addition to the training provided to CAP members, Boy Scouts and their parents visiting the CAP adventure station learned about Civil Air Patrol missions. They also had the opportunity to observe a ground team search and rescue demonstration as well as a ground-to-air signaling demonstration.
It was a busy day for the nearly 50 CAP members who participated in interagency demonstrations, ground team training, and recruiting activities, all while making new friends both inside and outside CAP. The organizational relationships that were built will allow each individual agency to better serve Maryland and Middle East Region communities. LaPre said, “The Boy Scouts of America are a great partner. We appreciate their invitations to support and train at their camporees and orienteering competitions, and we look forward to the next one (in November 2017)!”
Participating CAP members hailed from Maryland Wing’s Apollo Senior Squadron, Arundel Composite Squadron, Bowie Composite Squadron, Calvert Cadet Squadron, Col. Mary S. Feik Composite Squadron, College Park Composite Squadron, Esperanza Middle School Flight, St. Mary’s Composite Squadron, and Group 3 Headquarters, as well as the National Capital Wing’s Tuskegee Cadet Squadron.
Nearly 1,500 CAP members serve in Maryland. Last year wing members flew 13 search and rescue missions. The wing was credited with five finds and one life saved. Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland. Members flew 2,106 hours in all mission categories. Volunteers contributed services estimated at 4.6 million dollars. For more information, contact the Maryland Wing at www.mdcap.org or follow the wing on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarylandWingCivilAirPatrol.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.
2nd Lt. Jaime Loizzo, Tuskegee Cadet Squadron Public Affairs Officer
Maj. Jacob Gerstein, Public Information Officer