Viking Squadron Holds Ground Operations Class
Left Above: Lt. Fabrizio teaching safety in the field
Cadet Master Sergeant Matthew Johnson
21 February 2010
On the thirteenth of February, cadet and senior members of Viking Squadron spent the day learning and practicing ground search and rescue tasks. A big part of Civil Air Patrol is search and rescue (or SAR). By completing various requirements, members are able to expand their qualifications and participate in more advanced roles in search and rescue missions. The course that was given taught the majority of the skills necessary to be the most basic class of ground team member.
The class was divided into three main groups: Preparatory Training, Survival Training, and SAR Training. Preparatory Training consists of the things members must know before going out into the field. This included having the proper equipment, how to avoid natural hazards, and how to prevent and treat hot and cold weather injuries. The cadets were also shown the contents of a 24-hour pack, which contains all the items necessary for one day’s worth of search and rescue.
During the Survival Training part of the course, participants were given training on what to do if they become lost in the field. They learned things from starting and putting out fires, to trying to attract help, to building shelters. They also learned that the most important thing to do in a survival situation is to maintain a positive mental attitude.
The majority of the afternoon was spent on SAR training. Typical SAR missions consist of searching for missing persons or missing aircraft. During the course, members learned what to look for when searching for a person or an aircraft. After the classroom learning session was over, participants practiced many skills outside. The trainees were taught how to properly use a compass, as well as how to perform line searches, which are used on missions when teams are searching for clues. They also learned how to operate direction-finding equipment to find Emergency Locator Transmitters (or ELTs). An ELT is a device on an aircraft that sends out a signal on emergency frequencies when the aircraft crashes. The direction-finding equipment that the Civil Air Patrol uses, tracks those signals making it easier to find the aircraft.
The class concluded with an introduction to SAR exercises, and how to get the most out of them. After completing the ground operations class, the participants must take a first aid class, a radio operator’s class, and participate in two SAR exercises to get their ground team rating.
Civil Air Patrol, (CAP), is the official Auxiliary of the United States Air Force. It provides search and rescue support throughout the country, in addition to providing aerospace education to members and the general public, and providing leadership training and life skills to youth members. For further information, contact Viking Squadron’s Recruiting Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Barney Uhlig at 952-937-2924, or visit the national Civil Air Patrol website at www.gocivilairpatrol.com and Viking Squadron's website at www.mncap.org/viking.
Civil Air Patrol - Minnesota Wing Headquarters
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