Civil Air Patrol

Squadrons team up to practice search and rescue techniques near Jackson Marsh

Photo by Maj Les Wright: Two Sheboygan cadets as they finish their emergency shelter.

West Bend – Squadrons from Civil Air Patrol (CAP) hosted a camp out, search and rescue training, and shelter building training exercise recently.  Members from the West Bend and Sheboygan Composite Squadrons participated in the two-day training exercise held near the Jackson marsh in Washington County.

Arriving at the base camp, personnel constructed improvised shelters using materials from the immediate surrounding area.  Some emergency shelters were constructed entirely of material available at the campsite such as wood, branches, trees, dry grass and other natural materials.  Most of the emergency shelters used both natural surroundings and the shelter material that is required to be carried by each search and rescue person such as tarps.

Each group learned to use three different electronic direction finders.  Direction finders are used to detect and determine the direction of the emergency locator transmitter (ELT) beacons which are located in all aircraft.  Teams were formed and conducted electronic searches to find practice beacons.  Each had the opportunity to work with the three electronic direction finder technologies.

At the last location of the ELT, four simulated injured persons were found.  Each was given simulated triage, first aid and temporary medical assistance.  Two were able to walk out of the heavily forested and dense underbrush with assistance from rescue personnel.

The remaining injured was unable to walk and was carried to an open field on improvised stretchers.  Having to walk an additional one-half mile, various techniques for transporting a person were tried and evaluated.

One of the most difficult search and rescue operations is to conduct a night search and rescue activity.  Ground teams conducted an open field line search in which they form a straight line and proceed in a set direction.

Clear skies gave way to an astronomy class highlighting the North Star and other constellations that are useful in determining direction.  Learning about field sanitation and adequate hydration were also part of the weekend’s lessons

The tow-day event ended with an aerospace education activity in which cadets launched over 10 model rockets.

Through its cadet program, the CAP builds strong citizens for the future by providing leadership training, technical education, scholarships, and career education to young men and women ages 12 to 20.  Cadets grow to excel in their jobs and in their careers.  The West Bend Composite Squadron has more than 30 cadets and 14 senior members devoted to leadership and community service.

The unit meets every Thursday at 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. at the West Bend National Guard Armory; near the West Bend Airport.  For more information about Civil Air Patrol and the activities in West Bend and Washington County, call: Les Wright at 414-704-3900.

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