Civil Air Patrol
  • Aircrew returing to base

Maryland Wing conducts state-wide training exercise in Cumberland

August 24, 2019 — CUMBERLAND, Md. — More than 125 Civil Air Patrol members from around the state of Maryland are participating in a statewide search-and-rescue training exercise based in Cumberland, Md., during the weekend of August 23-25. Maryland Wing members regularly train in both air and ground operations in order to perfect their emergency response skills in addition to training with unmanned aircraft systems. The operations are based at the Greater Cumberland Regional Airport in Wiley Ford, W.Va., with ground teams training near Rocky Gap, Md.

Members began arriving for the weekend event on Friday afternoon with approximately 15 bivouacking overnight at the airport. Additional teams arrived early Saturday morning by CAP vehicle and aircraft.

By mid-morning, 7 Civil Air Patrol aircraft, including Cessna 182, Cessna 172, and a Gippsland GA-8 Airvan are being used to continue the training of pilots, mission observers, and mission scanners. Additionally, airborne photographers perfect their skills of taking aerial photos of specific requested targets. In a real-world situation, these targets would be identified by the customer, whether local, state, or national agencies.

Additionally more than 25 Civil Air Patrol vehicles were in the area to aid ground team members to train in search procedures in both urban and rural areas. Ground teams include many CAP cadet members who, aged 12-20, train side-by-side adult volunteers to serve their communities.

Lt. Col. John Henderson, incident commander for the training exercise, stated, “Our members train year-round but there are only a couple opportunities when the entire wing comes together to perfect their skills and train as a team in a real-world test. Cumberland provides a unique environment with not only the urban area, but the vast woods and mountainous terrain.” Henderson is also the vice commander for operations for Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol.

Civil Air Patrol will be in the Cumberland area for this exercise through Sunday. The local Cumberland squadron is the local host of the exercise, ensuring all needs are being met.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, 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 80 lives annually. CAP’s 63,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 26,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit or for more information.

More than 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


Photos (left to right):

A Civil Air Patrol aircrew conducts a pre-flight briefing before departing on its first sortie of the day. (Photo by Lt. Col. Brenda Reed, CAP)

Civil Air Patrol members receive the Saturday morning briefing on the day’s state-wide search-and-rescue exercise in Cumberland, Md. (Photo by Lt. Col. Bob Midkiff, CAP)

Lt. Col. Brenda Reed, CAP
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