La Crosse to host statewide Civil Air Patrol search and rescue evaluation
LA CROSSE, Wis. – Civil Air Patrol aircrews and ground teams will set out early Saturday morning to prove their search and rescue skills as Wisconsin Wing launches a United States Air Force evaluated search and rescue mission from the La Crosse CAP Facility.
The evaluated mission will involve more than 30 members from several different sites throughout the State of Wisconsin and involve multiple scenarios designed to test the wing’s ability in response to a variety of emergency situations.La Crosse will serve as the primary mission base from which mission staff will control the statewide activity.
CAP volunteers will search for targets including a replicated downed aircraft and a missing person ground search.Aircrews and ground teams do not have prior knowledge of where the targets are located or what the circumstances are.“You train like you perform, and this type of exercise allows us to measure our training and capacity,” offered Captain Linda Zimmerman, the La Crosse Squadron’s Emergency Services Officer.
Aircrews are made up of CAP mission pilots who fly assigned search routes with observes and scanners who operate communications equipment, take aerial photographs and scan the ground for crash sites or missing persons.The aircrews and ground teams will coordinate their searches using both radio communications as well as air to ground signals.
CAP ground teams are comprised of trained volunteers including adults, who lead the teams and cadet team members who must meet the same rigorous training and performance requirements as the adults.“It’s about preparing yourself for the call,” said Cadet Second Lieutenant Michael Cunningham, a three-year veteran of CAP ground search operations.