Civil Air Patrol
  • Aircrew returing to base

Maryland Civil Air Patrol conducts tabletop training exercise to prepare for emergency response

February 8, 2020 — BALTIMORE — Twenty-two Civil Air Patrol members of Maryland Wing gathered at Martin State Airport to conduct a tabletop training exercise for search-and-rescue and disaster relief operations. A tabletop exercise differs from a full-scale exercise in that all aircraft and search teams are simulated, allowing for the search management team to focus on procedures, strategies, and tactics without the expense of deploying actual resources.

Maj. Robert Thompson of the College Park Composite Squadron, a participant in the exercise, remarked, “Tabletop exercises offer a lot of potential for CAP members to concentrate on incident management tasks and learn how to accomplish the mission.” 

“The training is eye-opening. I am learning things I never thought I would be doing before. Until you have been in an incident command post, you never truly appreciate all that goes on in the background,” Capt. Christophe Marchand, also of the College Park Composite Squadron, offered.

Today’s training scenario offered the CAP team the opportunity to learn how to plan the execution of a search for a simulated missing aircraft.  The exercise tasks involved tasks centered on gathering resources, planning the search, and allocating search aircraft and ground teams to conduct the mission.   Afterwards the CAP team gathered to critique their performance and develop best practices for conducting these types of operations in the future.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 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. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 26,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 71 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit 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


Photo: Members of Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol gather for an initial briefing at the beginning of the day. (Photo by Lt. Col. Bob Midkiff, CAP)

Lt Col Bob Midkiff, CAP
Public Information Officer, 20-T-4551

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