11/20/2007–River Hill, MD–Members of the Howard Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol Maryland Wing participated in a field training exercise in early November. The weekend event trained members for future emergency services missions.
The field training exercise began on a very chilly Saturday morning. Members of the Howard Composite Squadron along with a cadet from the Fort McHenry Composite Squadron were instructed on how to pick a camp site location and on camp site setup. The trainees then divided into hasty search teams: 5 to 7 man search teams.
The teams went to the new Howard County Public Safety Training Center where the teams were greeted by Capt. John McKissick, commander of Howard County Police special operations bureau. While at the center they received a briefing from members of the Howard County Police Aviation Unit on the helicopter’s capabilities, landing site preparation and landing procedures. They also received a briefing by members of the Howard County Police K-9 Unit on how to work with police K-9 units during searches, setup of search perimeters, and the capabilities of the dogs. The teams also received a tour of Howard County's Mobile Incident Command Post.
The hasty teams then returned to the base camp to pickup gear and departed to the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area where the teams practiced the use of Swiss seats, compass use, map use, hasty searches and the extraction of missing and injured people. After returning again to base camp and the onset of darkness, each team was given hands-on training in the use of a 3rd generation thermal imaging camera for the detection of living, missing people.
Saturday night, before retiring to the tents this frigid night, the teams were instructed on winter operations and how to avoid hypothermia while camping at freezing temperatures. Sunday morning practice continued with the Stokes basket. A Stokes basket, also called a Stokes stretcher or Stokes litter, is a metal wire or plastic basket, shaped to accommodate an adult.
By late Sunday morning, operations had concluded and teams were dismissed.
The U.S. Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, was founded on Dec. 1, 1941, less than a week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the U.S. into World War II. CAP is a nonprofit organization with more than 55,000 members nationwide. The organization's members perform 95 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions, as tasked by the Air Force's Rescue Coordination Center, and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 58 lives in 2006. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counterdrug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the more than 22,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program.
Members take a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the almost 25,000 young people currently participating in the CAP Cadet Program. CAP's cadet programs provide young men and women with a safe and motivating environment in which to grow and explore opportunities in the military and aviation industries. CAP has been performing missions for America for more than 63 years.
There are approximately 1,300 members of CAP in Maryland. Last fiscal year wing members flew 34 search and rescue missions and were credited with 23 finds.
For information about the Maryland Wing of CAP, visit http://mdcap.org/ or listen to weekly episodes of "Civil Air Patrol Today" broadcast every Sunday morning on the following radio stations:
In addition, programs may be listened to at the Maryland Wing web site at http://mdcap.org/radio/ and can also be subscribed to as a podcast.
Maryland Wing Public Affairs also offers an e-mail alert system for news releases. When news breaks, a subscriber receives an automatic e-mail with a summary of the news release and a link back to the story on the MDWG web site. Signing up for e-mail news alerts is easy. Just go to: http://mdcap.org/?fuseaction=newsalert.form and fill in your e-mail address.
The Howard Composite Squadron meets 7 p.m. Thursday evenings at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, 11100 Johns Hopkins Rd, in Laurel, Md. 20723-6099. Prospective cadets, ages 12-18, and their parents are always welcome. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-531-3310.