Staff Sections

Main Content

CAP conducts statewide hurricane exercise

Lt. Col. Wally Courtney preflights a CAP aircraft
1 of 3
Lt. Col. Wally Courtney preflights a CAP aircraft before flying a mission. Photo credit: Photo by Major Clint Parker. SAREX PIO (click image to view full size)
Story Tools


The North Carolina Wing, Civil Air Patrol, conducted a search and rescue exercise (SAREX) performing several missions in response to tasking as would be requested by federal, state and local emergency management agencies in the aftermath of a simulated hurricane. This was a statewide training exercise allowing the members to apply training conducted year round within the local squadrons. The training exercise proved to be a very successful event with personnel taking home a sense of accomplishment and confidence when CAP is called on for real life emergencies.

CAP’s capabilities include geo-encoded high resolution digital aerial photography of damage after natural disasters. Sorties included photographing significant beach erosion and damage from Cape Fear to North Top Sail Beach that may be requested by agencies including the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).

Another capability of CAP is to have ground teams respond to areas that have been affected by tornadoes or severe flooding and setting up point of distribution (PODS) sites. POD sites allow CAP to provide tarps, water and food for area residents affected by the storm. Two teams participated in this exercise in two different areas. The first team set up a POD site on the southeast ramp parking lot at the Fayetteville Airport after a simulated tornado. The second team set up the second POD site in the parking lot of Crest High School near Shelby Airport.

While those exercises were going on, other CAP flight crews were flying emergency locator transmitter (ELT) searches for simulated missing aircraft, photographing flooding and damage that may have occurred to roads, bridges, dams and critical infrastructure. The aircrews were taking photos of their assigned areas while others were searching for an ELT signal and guiding ground crews in to the location.

This was a very successful day of training for the CAP personal and a reinforcement of the members’ knowledge and training for these types of situations. “Conducting SAREX’s helps our members prepare for real emergencies and hones our skills that we might do our jobs to the best of our abilities,” said Maj. Chris Bailey, Incident Commander for the event.

In all, nine CAP aircraft flew 17 air sorties and approximately 100 members including pilots, ground team members and mission base staff supported the one day exercise at the Wing headquarters in Burlington.

Major Clint Parker, was PIO for the SAREX and provided input for the article.