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Officials Report Successful SAREX in July

Ground team members
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Ground teams just prior to leaving for missions. Photo by Capt Don Penven
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Despite Heat and Scattered Thunderstorms


“We had seven aircraft signed into the mission, that were mostly involved with disaster relief missions. Most of the sorties included aerial photography assignments.” said Lt. Col. Jeff Willis, Mission Incident Commander. “A total of 74 members participated in this activity, 16 of whom were cadets.” Willis said.


Maj. Rob Mason, Assistant Incident Commander, said, “One aircraft, based in Halifax Co. was grounded throughout the day due to a steady line of severe thunderstorms passing through..”



Included in the aircraft roster was a GA-8 Airvan, which is part of the inventory of the Middle East Region and was assigned to North Carolina for this exercise. The Airvan is a flying platform for CAP’s ARCHER Trac system. This digital-based flying computer is equipped with a high resolution digital camera, and its mission on this weekend was to fly simulated disaster relief sorties.


Capt. Shawn McComas, operations officer for the Raleigh-Wake Composite Squadron, and a certified GA-8 pilot, recently flew missions in a GA-8 over the Gulf Oil Spill. McComas served as operations officer for this exercise.


Ground teams were dispatched on various missions from mission base, which was located in the General Aviation Terminal at RDU.


Two aircraft from Western North Carolina operated from their home bases in Iredell and Buncombe Counties.


Shortly before the exercise got underway a reporter/photographer from News 14 Carolina came to the mission base and spent more than an hour interviewing various CAP members and recording the activities. This is a cable-based, 24 hour news organization with five outlets covering Charlotte to the NC coast.


Shortly after 2:00 p.m. a thunderstorm rolled through the RDU area, and all aircraft and ground teams were recalled to mission base when it was safe for them to do so. Scattered storm cells continued to pop up throughout most of the afternoon.


Willis praised the volunteers who supported the mission. “Despite some really bad weather and excessive heat, we had no reported, safety-related incidents,” Willis said.

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