Group 5 of the California Wing of Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the Auxiliary of the United States Air Force, is hosting a two day air and ground search and rescue exercise (SAREX) out of the Sacramento Executive Airport in Sacramento, CA.
Saturday’s focus was on training for 67 attending CAP members, consisting of both cadets and senior officers, attending from Group 5 in Northern California. Most of the training was in air and ground electronic search for Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs). ELTs are on most aircraft and some boats, as well as being carried by hikers. In an emergency they send an electronic alert signal that may be tracked by air and ground units.
A total of five scenarios are placed around the Sacramento Valley and the goal is for ten teams to go out in simulated searches called sorties. One scenario is in Lincoln, CA and it involves a visual for the air crew to locate. Other scenarios in the area do not have the aircraft visual but they have a practice beacon that simulates an active ELT.
With the cooperation of the weather and only a 36-50 percent chance of afternoon showers, the days training was able to extend later into the day. Many of the participants trained in multiple positions which allowed them to go out in the field as well as stay local at the base.
Nancy Maas from Squadron 126 in Redding, CA is participating in the SAREX to re-qualify as a Mission Radio Operator (MRO). Maas has been a member of CAP for five years and has participated in 10 SAREX’s throughout California. When asked about her role as MRO, Maas stated, “I like being able to keep track of everyone. It is very exciting yet also stressful. Pilots and ground team members do not always know what all goes on in the Communications Center”. Her goal this weekend is to re-qualify as MRO and to participate in an air sortie if possible. She is a licensed pilot and would like to qualify as a CAP Mission Pilot one day.
The training will continue on Sunday with similar scenarios and further qualification completions for many of the participants. Many of those attending have been working on their qualifications through classroom training and this is the final part to become fully qualified. Others have been qualified for many years and are participating to stay current. The weekend is scheduled with long hours and hard work but everyone will walk away with one accomplishment or another.
1st Lt. Brandy Ahearn, PIO firstname.lastname@example.org 530-863-8924