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2013 North Carolina Ranger School

Lt Col Andy Wiggs, ranger School Commander
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The Commander (click image to view full size)
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Medoc Mountain State Park

11/3/2013––During the first weekend of November, Cadets and Senior Members from SC, NC, VA, PA, TN, and DC gathered at Medoc Mountain State Park, the site of the 2013 North Carolina Ranger School, for a full weekend of training. They came to work on specific requirements towards their initial or advanced ranger grade. Lt. Col. Andy Wiggs, the ranger school commander offered “ranger training is important for both cadets and seniors because if puts them in real-life situations with real-life consequences. The training teaches students to rely on their advanced training to make a difference and keep everyone safe.”

On Friday, the staff and students gathered to set up their tents, and get ready for the weekend to come. While the more seasoned cadets and instructors had experienced cold and rain, the weather on Friday taught the newer students valuable lessons in packing proper clothing and the importance of shelter from the elements. The motto for the night was a familiar "If it's raining, we're Training."

Ranger training incorporates first aid, litter carries, proper field hygiene, search techniques, map reading, fire building, and shelter management. The menu for the students for the weekend was Meals Ready to Eat (MRE). MRE's are pre-packaged high calorie, high carbohydrate meals meant to sustain a person exerting a lot of energy. Col. Roy Douglass, the Middle East Region's Chief of Staff and National Ranger Program's Professional Development Officer, attended this weekend's training and added " the ranger program is important to Civil Air Patrol's mission because of the specific ranger add-ons that enhance the professional training they receive."

The training day began Saturday at 0700. While the cadets were exempt from physical training (PT) due to the weather, the Sierra squadron, consisting of senior members (adults) set the tone with a shortened PT series. Following PT, the entire group assembled for formation and a safety briefing. Following formation, the training squadrons left to complete their individual tasks for the day.

Saturday evening, Alpha squadron participated in night land navigation training which included learning to safely walk on a trail in the dark, avoiding hazards such as roots, downed trees, becoming separated in the dark. As the evening continued, the entire group was able to review the essential elements of cold weather safety as the temperature dropped to below 40 degrees.

Two cadets worked with ranger school PAO 1LT Weil throughout the weekend, following students to capture their training, updating the school's facebook page, and assisting with the writing of this article.

Although the group was treated to an extra hour of sleep because of the end of Daylight Savings Time, they awoke to a very cold morning without hot food. The highlight of breakfast was hot coffee and hot chocolate. Training continued for the remainder of the morning and around 1300 they broke camp and individually returned home, better prepared to meet the Civil Air Patrol's mission of search and rescue assistance to the United States Air Force.