7/21/2006–Baltimore, MD–Members of the Maryland Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) conducted a recent series of training operations designed to test and exercise the ability of members to respond to search and rescue, disaster relief, and other mission areas. Most recently, training was conduced at a Group II exercise on July 8 in Middle River, Md., and before that a wing-wide exercise on June 10 in Hagerstown, Md.
At this month's search and rescue exercise, held at the wing's mission base at Glenn L. Martin Airport, 62 members received training in various specialties, including:
According to Maj. John Henderson, who served as incident commander for the exercise, two aircraft flew four sorties, including ferry flights, for a total of 4.8 hours airborne. In addition to members from wing and group headquarters, CAP members came from the following squadrons: Carroll, College Park, Easton, Fort McHenry, Glenn L. Martin, Harford, Osprey, Towson, and Wicomico.
At last month's exercise, the U.S. Air Force, in its oversight function of CAP, observed and evaluated the conduct of the 133 members of the wing who participated, by sending a highly qualified staff from the USAF Middle East Liaison Region, based at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County, Md.
The Maryland Wing was placed on alert for the exercise due to the effects of a simulated hurricane. Wing aircraft were secured from the storm and following the passage of the severe weather, the wing was requested to provide disaster relief support to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). This support involved flying aircraft and providing aerial reconnaissance of vital points within the state. CAP aircrews provide aerial photographs of dams, roads, bridges and other critical transportation and public infrastructure areas using the Satellite Digital Information System. The digital photographs of these locations are sent from the cockpit of the airborne aircraft via tablet computer and relayed through a satellite phone, sent through normal email and received by decision makers. In this case, CAP provides the pictures to the MEMA Emergency Operations Center for use in disaster planning and decision making.
Another task involved air and ground search teams from Civil Air Patrol squadrons. The exercise scenario caused a real response to a simulated missing Cessna 172, which departed from Salisbury, Md. enroute to Hancock Field on June 9. Search crews from the wing's Arundel, Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Frederick, Glenn L. Martin, Howard, Prince Frederick, and St. Mary’s squadrons responded to various tasking. They reported on the discovery of clues, operational status of the search team, and upon locating the source of a practice emergency locator transmitter.
In addition, aircraft and aircrews performed emergency locator transmitter (ELT) searches and systematic “parallel track” searches of nearby areas. Planners at the Hagerstown mission base plotted and analyzed data from the National Track Analysis Program, provided by the Federal Aviation Administration. This information indicates radar contact on aircraft. Successful location of the practice ELT signal indicated success of this portion of the exercise.
To further complicate the exercise, aircrew and ground teams searched for a simulated missing military F-15 aircraft that was unaccounted for in the central Maryland area. The initial search area for the missing aircraft included Central Maryland, around the U.S. Capitol. Tasking for search teams from the Virginia Wing were planned, simulating the liaison and support required in a large area search that might stretch the capabilities of the Maryland Wing.
The public was advised to use extreme caution when approaching this aircraft, because it was likely that several hazards existed in the vicinity of the F-15. Some of the likely hazards included, jet fuel, other flammables and hazardous materials, pyrotechnics associated with the ejection seat, and possible munitions.
A lost person search was also conducted in the vicinity of Greenbriar State Park. The simulated lost person was found by a combined search team from Howard and Martin squadrons.
Mission Base staff was observed throughout these real responses to simulated conditions.
Cadets, under the supervision of senior members, assisted with sign-in and credentialing of members, operated radios, kept logs, escorted senior staff, and performed flight line marshalling. Members from the wing's Hyde Field Senior Squadron provided airfield and mission base security.
CAP, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 60,000 members nationwide. CAP volunteers perform 95 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counterdrug missions at the request of federal, state, and local agencies.
Members take a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the almost 25,000 young people currently participating in the CAP Cadet Program. CAP's cadet programs provide young men and women with a safe and motivating environment in which to grow and explore opportunities in the military and aviation industries. CAP has been performing missions for America for more than 63 years.
There are approximately 1,300 members of CAP in Maryland. Last fiscal year wing members flew 34 search and rescue missions and were credited with 23 finds.
For information about the Maryland Wing of CAP, visit http://mdcap.org/ or listen to weekly episodes of "Civil Air Patrol Today" broadcast every Sunday morning on the following radio stations:
In addition, programs may be listened to at the Maryland Wing web site at http://mdcap.org/radio/ and can also be subscribed to as a podcast.
Maryland Wing Public Affairs also offers an e-mail alert system for news releases. When news breaks, a subscriber receives an automatic e-mail with a summary of the news release and a link back to the story on the MDWG web site. Signing up for e-mail news alerts is easy. Just go to: http://mdcap.org/?fuseaction=newsalert.form and fill in your e-mail address.