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North Carolina Wing Civil Air Patrol Concludes SAREX Training Mission

Lt Col Dion Viventi, Incident Commander reviewing the tasking map with Col Dave Crawford, Planning Section Chief
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Lt Col Dion Viventi, Incident Commander reviewing the tasking map with Col Dave Crawford, Planning Section Chief. Photo Credit: Maj Robert S. McComas, Mission Staff Assistant (click image to view full size)
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Air Crews and Ground Teams perform emergency services for a simulated disaster

1/19/2015––The North Carolina Wing Civil Air Patrol has concluded a two day training mission that began on Friday January 16, 2015.  The scenario theme was a simulated large earthquake which resulted in major damage statewide.  CAP was tasked with conducting aerial surveys of the damage with high resolution digital photography as well as conducting ground searches for several persons that had become confused with the earthquake and fled the senior citizen communities they resided in, into the woods.

The Incident Command Post was located in Raleigh with Lt. Col Dion Viventi and Maj. Chris Bailey CAP as Incident Commanders.  Unlike most large scale missions with a full incident command staff, this exercise was written restricting the ability to assemble a centralized command staff due to infrastructure failures and relied on a small primary staff at the Raleigh Durham International Airport and smaller remote locations in Winston-Salem and eastern North Carolina.  CAP’s vast communications system was utilized including airborne repeaters on CAP aircraft that could connect mission base with aircraft and ground teams well over 100 miles from mission base.

The unique aspect of this training was that the mission details were not provided to participants in advance.  The major scenario was released late on Friday January 16, 2015 with participants being activated through CAP’s internal alerting systems.  Personnel and team leaders were then provided their air and ground assignments beginning at daybreak Saturday.

A total of 101 personnel participated in the mission utilizing ten vehicles and twelve aircraft. The fast paced exercise consisted of several disaster relief tasks and missing person scenarios that would be typical of a natural disaster which this exercise simulated.  Just like a real event, tasking was then provided to the teams as they were assigned to CAP by the NC Emergency Operations Center. Thirteen air crews flew twenty-one sorties including five photo reconnaissance missions that involved capturing images of critical infrastructure which would be used by the various federal, state and local agencies for damage assessment.  Six ground teams went out on nine ground sorties each designed to find a missing person typical of a Silver alert.

Maj John May, NC Wing Director of Emergency Services said, “We accomplished several integrated but separate tasks in this exercise including the ability to operate a large air and ground activities with no advance notice”. He added, “Additionally we managed a large scale mission with only a skeletal mission base staff at the Incident Command Post and everyone else working from remote locations”.  

The mission tested the capabilities of the North Carolina Wing Civil Air Patrol and the different skills sets that offer tremendous value to the community and the citizens of North Carolina. 

Incident Commander for the mission, Lt Col Viventi said, “Our team delivered and we accomplished today's mission professionally. All tasking have been addressed and all sorties have been completed without incident”.  

The Civil Air Patrol is the all-volunteer auxiliary of the United States Air Force. In North Carolina, the Emergency Services program includes 13 single engine Cessna aircraft with direction finding equipment used to locate missing aircraft and hikers, digital photography equipment for natural disaster assessments, airborne repeater equipment to support a variety of communications needs and the ability to transport personnel and equipment to disasters as needed.  Ground capabilities include search and rescue teams, communications platforms, and the ability to set up and manage distribution centers for relief supplies.