Civil Air Patrol’s Peachtree City-Falcon Field Composite Squadron, along with West Georgia and Columbus Composite squadrons, recently joined forces with Fayette County EMS and the Georgia Army National Guard
to conduct a multi-disciplined Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX).
The exercise scenario involved a simulated airplane crash (with occupant injuries) which necessitated an interagency emergency response.
The SAREX included Civil Air Patrol (CAP) aircrews, ground teams and a fully staffed incident command post.
The incident commander, Lieutenant Colonel Dave Austin, tasked CAP aircrews to conduct an electronic search for the downed aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter (ELT).
CAP air operations quickly detected the ELT, and located the crash site, situated on the property of Mr. Kenneth Spaller, off Morgan Mill Road in Brooks.
The aircrew notified mission base of the downed aircraft’s position and immediately commenced a radio lead-in of CAP ground search teams.
CAP ground operations arrived on the scene and performed an initial ground assessment of the crash site. They promptly rendered first aid to the crash victims and alerted Fayette County EMS via a 911 phone call.
Fayette County EMS responded to the scene, implemented a triage, and prepared victims for transport.
“This is a great experience for our participating crewmembers,” Lieutenant Donnie Davis of Fayette County EMA said. “It gives us a chance to see how Fayette County EMS and Civil Air Patrol can work hand and hand in recovery operations within Fayette County.”
Civil Air Patrol personnel solicited air support from the Georgia Army National Guards 832 MED CO.
A UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter was dispatched to the scene for medical evacuation. Upon landing, the Army National Guard aircrew conducted on-site training with EMS and Civil Air Patrol personnel.
CAP cadets were trained to safely load patients aboard tactical rotary wing aircraft.
Following training, the Army National Guard airlifted CAP cadets (with simulated injuries) to Peachtree City Falcon Field Airport.
The Georgia Army National Guard made use of the CAP SAREX as an opportunity to execute its communication capabilities with other government agencies.
“Training with Civil Air Patrol and other first responders is a tremendous benefit to the Georgia National Guard,” noted Capt Will Cox of the Georgia Army National Guard. “It affords us the opportunity to deepen our relationship with local communities, and train all involved personnel in proper procedures that maximize the effectiveness of our equipment.”
CAP ground teams were composed mostly of cadets (under the supervision and guidance of qualified adult CAP ground team leaders). Cadet Dale Shavers, a freshman at Whitewater High School, was one of many cadets who participated in the training exercise.
“While many kids are at home playing video games, I’m out here flying aboard a Blackhawk helicopter, and obtaining real-world training from the Army National Guard, EMS and Civil Air Patrol,” commented Shavers. “I look forward to someday serving my community with the training I have received.”
Lieutenant Colonel Ike Algaze, a representative of the Air Force Reserve, attended and monitored the exercise.
“I was overall very impressed with the level of cooperation and communication between Civil Air Patrol, Fayette County EMS and the Army National Guard,” said Lt. Col. Algaze. “These exercises ensure that all CAP personnel involved are able to maintain the highest level of expertise and qualifications that are crucial to the success of Civil Air Patrols actual search and rescue missions.”
Captain Duane Romey of Civil Air Patrol coordinated the interagency SAREX. All agencies worked well together during the training exercise. The event allowed all agencies to better understand Civil Air Patrols capabilities in responding to local emergency situations, noted Romey.
The Peachtree City—Falcon Field Composite Squadron extended thanks to the Georgia Army National Guard and all Blackhawk crewmembers; the Fayette County EMS and all responding medical personnel; Capt. Will Cox, USA NGGA 832 MED CO; Lt. Donnie Davis, Fayette County EMA, and Cheryl Rogers, Fayette County 911 Call Center, for their efforts in coordination of this exercise.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 58,000 members nationwide.
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 was credited by AFRCC with saving 72 lives in fiscal year 2009.
Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counter-drug 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 23,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 68 years.