Civil Air Patrol

Stevens Point Composite Squadron Hosts Field Training Exercise

Photo by Capt. Terese Barta

Stevens Point, Wis –Thirty seven members from the Stevens Point and La Crosse Composite Squadrons teamed up for a winter field training exercise on March 10-11.

With day temperatures in the 60s, it could hardly be called winter.  Participants still learned and applied the skills they would need to survive overnight in the wilderness.

Private property located north of Wisconsin Rapids and owned by a relative of Major Virginia Suarino, Northcentral Group Commander, was the training site for this event.

Members of the Wood County Sheriff Department dropped by to watch the training this year.

Team members constructed improvised shelters, practiced map reading and compass navigation, exercised their knowledge of first aid, and did a make-shift litter carry.  They also had the tried their skill at several fire building methods.

Former Navy Seal Major Jim Johnson could not resist the chance to don his dry suit and take the plunge into the frozen pond in order to instruct ice water survival techniques.

Cadets from the two squadrons finished off their evening with a round of “capture the flag” while senior members relaxed around a fire.

The winter field training exercise has become a tradition with the Stevens Point squadron.  This was their third year of the event and the first year that the La Crosse squadron has joined them.

The exercise took months of planning by Major Jim Johnson, the squadron’s Emergency Services Officer, together with Major Suarino.  Lieutenant Mona Griffiths, a registered nurse, was on site for the weekend to monitor possible injuries.

The planning paid off.  Everyone learned something, made new friends, and there were no injuries, not even a blister.

At the end of the two-day experience, everyone was presented with a black uniform appropriate t-shirt specially designed for the exercise.

Plans are already underway for next year’s exercise, which may include a helicopter landing.

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