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Brunswick County Composite Squadron Participates in NC Wing SAREX.

NC-170 ground team members prepare for ELT search at Cape Fear Regional Jetport.
NC-170 ground team members prepare for ELT search at Cape Fear Regional Jetport. Photo Credit: Capt William Sullivan, PAO, MER-NC-170 (click image to view full size)
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Members of NC-170 conducted ground searches and airborne photography mission to support exercise.


Fourteen senior members and four cadets of NC-170 participated in the statewide SAREX on January 17, 2015.  All available personnel responded to the alert and assembled at the Cape Fear Regional Jetport early Saturday morning.  Following a safety briefing, squadron members prepared to carry out taskings as they were received from the Wing IC staff.
Having no Wing-assigned tasks, the NC-170 ground team conducted two UDF training missions with additional time devoted to communications, use of topographic maps and ground team leader training.  The objective of the first training mission was to locate an ELT  placed in the airport environment.  The mission commenced at 1136 with the team using the L-per.  A scanner radio was also used to aid in finding the exact location of the ELT, which was found and disabled at 1207.  Capt Neil Fowler and C/CMSgt Dakota Holbrook handled mission base duties while monitoring and documenting the progress of the mission.
The second ground team mission was to locate an ELT located within walking distance of the airport.  The mission began at 1430 and the ELT was located and secured at 1505.  The mission was challenging due to a nearby electrical substation and a highway bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, under which the ELT was found. During this exercise, C/CMSgt Dakota Holbrook handled communications out of a mobile unit to provide stronger communication with the ground team. 
Ground team leaders were 2nd Lt Kathy Davis and SM Canyon Cooke.  Ground team members were 2nd Lt DeeDee Willietts, C/MSgt Kevin Willetts, C/TSgt Abby Clemmons and C/TSgt Nick Bourgeois.
The assigned aerial task for NC-170 was to conduct an airborne photography mission to photograph bridges and critical infrastructure between Carolina Beach and the Point Lookout Lighthouse at Emerald Isle, NC as part of the North Carolina SAREX earthquake scenario.  Fortunately, the visibility was great and clear and crisp photos were obtained.  One lesson learned during the flight was the limited radio coverage available along the Outer Banks. Even with a second CAP aircraft orbiting inland as a relay station, the NC-170 aircraft had to climb several thousand feet to make radio calls.  The photo mission was successful in all respects.
Aircrew members for the 2.5 hour sortie were Capt Martin Heller, MP; Capt Thomas Rooks, AP and SM Jim Lesher, MS.
Article input provided by 2nd Lt DeeDee Willetts and Capt Martin Heller.