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Ranger Training Weekend a Huge Success

RTW formation on Oct 31, 2015.
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RTW formation on Oct 31, 2015. Photo Credit: 2dLt Lynne Albert, PAO, MER-NC-150 (click image to view full size)
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230 participants hone their search and rescue skills

11/1/2015–The 6th Annual NCWG Ranger Training Weekend (“RTW”) was held on 30 Oct – 1 Nov, 2015 at Morrow Mountain State Park in Albemarle, NC.  The 230 RTW participants hailed from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and other wings.

At RTW, training was set up in squadrons by skill level with Basic, Advanced, and Expert Independent Study courses taught by certified instructors.  The squadrons were Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo and Tracking.  The training included CAP Ground Team skills, Ranger Skills (Levels 1-3) and the NASAR Tracking Fundamentals course.

During the weekend, cadets and Senior Members honed their SAR skills during both daylight and nighttime operations.  Activities included compass and navigational work, map reading, hiking for miles with 24 and 72 hour packs, ELT sorties, medical treatment skills and physical fitness runs.

The RTW was supported by an excellent staff of cadets and senior members led by Lt Col Andy Wiggs, the RTW School Commander.  At the beginning of the weekend, Col Wiggs stated that he hoped “everyone stays safe during training, has a good time, learns something and gets home safely.”  

The Deputy Commander/IC for RTW was Maj Jason Bailey.  Maj Bailey led the opening and closing formations and presented the following awards to cadets for their exceptional work:  yellow scarves went to C/Lt Col Daniel Donahue and C/2d Lt Moriah North; an orange scarf went to C/Lt Col Jonathan Knapp; and the NC Ranger School Commander’s Coin went to RTW Honor Cadet C/MSgt Mason Berger.

The cadets were ably led by C/Capt Wesley Bishop, RTW Cadet Commander, and C/Lt Col Jonathan Knapp, RTW DCC.

The Squadron Commanders were 1st Lt Chad Hooper (Alpha), Capt James Matthews (Bravo), Maj Terry Logan (Charlie), 2d Lt Richard Gates (Delta), 1st Lt Josh Betts (Echo) and Maj Brendan Kearns (Tracking.)

Maj Pete Bohler was the RTW Safety Officer.  He warned everyone to be conscious of the weather, fatigue, accountability, hydration and situational awareness.  The Medical Unit Leader was Maj/Dr. Ricky Lyerly.  Maj Lyerly and his first-rate staff of medics ensured that any injuries were treated quickly and competently. 

The superb Logistics/mess team was overseen by Lt Col Jay Langley.  The mess staff arrived each morning at 0530 and worked tirelessly throughout the day and night to provide delicious nutritional meals to trainees and staff.  After one enjoyable meal, Capt Rick Paxton of NC-023 remarked, “who made the “’naner pudding?  I LOVE y’all!”

On Sunday participants packed up their gear in the rain and the informal Ranger School motto came to pass:  “if it’s raining, we’re training!”  

As the largest Ranger training event ever hosted by the NCWG, RTW was an outstanding success.  

Additional information for this article was provided by:  Maj Sherry Haskell, CAP, PAO, 111th Search & Rescue Composite Squadron (MER-NC-111), C/MSgt Taylor Balog, CAP, RTW Cadet PAO, Orange County Composite Squadron (MER-NC-150) and C/SSgt Marissa Haskell, CAP, RTW Cadet PAO, 111th Search & Rescue Composite Squadron (MER-NC-111)

Additional RTW photos are available at: