|Group 5 Squadrons conduct SAREX at Marco Island|
The Marco Island Senior Squadron hosted a search and rescue exercise on March 10 and 18. The Civil Air Patrol training mission was a joint venture that included members from the Naples Senior Squadron, Charlotte County and Sarasota Composite Squadrons and other members of Florida Wing Group 5. In total, 23 members actively participated in the sorties over the Everglades, Port of the Isles, the Ten Thousand Island and the Marco Island area.
The mission scenarios were based on a fictitious category 5 hurricane that swept across southwest Florida causing severe damage in coastal communities from Everglade City northward to Sarasota. The eight different scenarios allowed teams to hone their skills in disaster assessment, aerial photography and grid-pattern search.
“We operated our mission base and our radio station out of the remaining portion of our CAP building at the Marco Island Executive Airport. Hurricane Irma destroyed the hangar section of the building,” explained Marco Island Senior Squadron commander, Major Robert Corriveau, who summarized the event. “The SAR/EX was a complete success. Two aircraft, one from Marco and one from Sarasota, flew thirteen air missions over a period of two days. Let me say that we had a great SAR/EX even though we had to cut it short due to weather. We did however manage to accomplish seven sorties on the first day and six on the second day. The atmosphere was one of camaraderie, teaching and learning. Much was accomplished in a short period of time. Thanks to all who participated and who made this all possible".
Training missions are some of the essential activities performed by CAP for maintaining mission readiness. They typically include visual search pattern practice – looking for simulated downed aircraft; boating vessels in distress – and electronic searches for emergency locator transmitter signals both from the air and on the ground; downed and lost helicopter simulation; and other targets of interest. During the recent sorties, many high-resolution, geotagged images were taken by the CAP airborne photographers using handheld and wing-mounted cameras.
Carriveau explained that the Marco squadron is able to continue to provide services to Marco Island and Collier County and to host training missions in Southwest Florida. "In spite of a destroyed hangar, we are mission-ready and continue to perform our weekly training and preparedness missions, as well as assisting with training missions in support of Homeland Security.”
“While Irma destroyed our hangar, we are moving forward, our hangar debris has been cut away and removed from the building and surrounding area – the site has been cleaned up and is ready for reconstruction. Next step is to rebuild!”
CAP aircrews conduct a flight debriefing and analysis during training exercise held at Marco Island Executive Airport. (Photo credit: FL376)
|Charlotte County CAP Members continue Tradition of Distinction|
Members from the Charlotte County Composite Squadron participant at the annual Englewood Fly-In held at Buchan Field. The squadron has supported the local high school aviation program for the past 12 events.
“This was the best attended,” said Maj. Earle Bretz, FL051 public affairs officer. “There were more varied planes, more attendees and more planes flying up and down the runways to entertain the folks.”
Bretz said the hours spent telling the CAP story of success in performing missions for America will reap future benefits. Several potential members stopped by the CAP display for information.
The Charlotte County Composite Squadron honor guard presented the colors flags at the 12th Biennial Gathering of Quilts sponsored by the Disconnected Piecers Quilt Guild. Three veterans were recognized for their service and presented with a gift from the Quilt of Valor Foundation. Over 200 works of quilt-art were on colorful display throughout the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center.
The members of the color guard, pictured below left to right: C/A1C Jonathan Hemingway; C/CMSgt Justin McDonald; C/TSgt Autumn Rhodes; and C/A1C Justin Hemingway. (photo credit; FL051)
Cadets of the Charlotte County Composite Squadron were recognized in March for achievements in cadet program. Pictured below L to R with their new rank are: C/2nd Lt Justin McDonald; C/Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Gregory; C/Master Sgt. Autumn Rhodes; C/Airman 1st Class Alexandrea Mulvaney; C/Senior Airman Jonathan Hemingway; C/Senior Airman Justin Hemingway.
C/2nd Lt. Justin McDonald earned the Billy Mitchell award which is earned by Civil Air Patrol cadets who have successfully completed the second phase of the cadet program. It marks the end of the enlisted phase of the cadet program; cadets are promoted to Cadet Second Lieutenants upon receipt and, by extension, Cadet Officers. The award is given in honor of Maj Gen William "Billy" Mitchell, former Deputy Chief of the Army Air Service and military aviation visionary.
C/Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Gregory earned the Wright Brothers award for successfully completing the Phase I of the Civil Air Patrol cadet program. It marks the transition of a cadet to the non-commissioned officer status in the Civil Air Patrol cadet program and accompanies promotion to the grade of Cadet Staff Sergeant.
While there are many youth-oriented programs in America today, CAP's cadet program is unique in that it uses aviation as a cornerstone. All cadets participate in a variety of activities, gain rank and increased recognition through the program. They are challenged in ways they may not have otherwise had the opportunity. Cadets may complete skill training that makes them eligible to participate in Air Force assigned missions, enjoy orientation flights and attend encampments, all designed to develop leadership qualities in our youth with an inspiring vision of the future.
|FLWG Group 7 Holds Sports Day|
The 2018 Group 7 Sports Day, held at the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Air Station Miami in Opa Locka on Saturday, 10 March 2018, was attended by more than forty (40) seniors and cadets from the Tamiami Composite, Miami Senior, Miami Enterprise Cadet, and Opa Locka Cadet squadrons.
Group Cadet Advisory Council Chair, Cadet Major Jackson Ribler, started the day’s activities at 8:10 am by leading the cadets in a short warm-up exercise on the basketball court. Then, Group 7 Commander, Lt Col Luis Negron, welcomed the attendees, gave the safety briefing, and introduced USCG Lieutenant Junior Grade Meredith Anderson as the lifeguard for the day’s activities.
The participants then moved to the tennis court where they played a series of games, including dodgeball and “cops and robbers,” followed by water-based activities in the station’s swimming pool where they enjoyed rounds of “sharks and minnows,” relay races, and a customized version of water polo. After lunch, they played basketball and beach volleyball through the end of the event at 1:00 pm.
On leaving, Cadet Captain Nicholas Rodriguez of the Opa Locka Cadet Squadron remarked, “Although the weather was unpredictable and the water cold, we had fun, and I hope that this becomes an annual activity.”
|Volunteer Airmen maintain Mission Readiness|
Volunteer Airmen with Civil Air Patrol’s Charlotte County Composite Squadron and SRQ Composite Squadron conducted a search and rescue exercise on February 24 to ensure mission readiness of air crews, ground teams and mission base personnel.
Members flew nine sorties out of Punta Gorda and Sarasota-Bradenton airports under the watchful eye of Major Jim Brewer, CAP Incident Commander. The training is required for duty positions on Air Force assigned missions. The air crews practiced electronic and visual searches in addition to aerial photography. Mission base personnel monitored deployed teams with regular radio communications to maintain a safe operation.
“Safety is a priority for CAP missions,” said Brewer. “We want to be able to activate and deploy our resources quickly when requested. Our members need the experience and proficiency to perform their duties in a safe manner.”
The Civil Air Patrol, now in their 77th year of community service is an auxiliary of the United States Air Force and a member of the Air Force’s “Total Force”. Participants in the recent training were volunteers from Highlands, Charlotte and Sarasota counties.
CAP aircrews in Florida typically fly more than 5,500 hours annually -- including almost 1,700 hours for cadet orientation flights – supporting CAP’s three missions of emergency services, cadet programs and aerospace education.
Brewer added, “These men and women share the core values of excellence and volunteerism, they work countless hours to be of service to the local community and to save lives.”
The annual value of volunteer service provided by CAP members to local Florida communities is more than $9.5 million annually.
Air crew performs pre-flight briefing for visual search sortie. Pictured left to right: Senior Member Ed Depper, Senior Member Steve Miles and 1st Lt. Dan Page. (Photo credit: 1st Lt Ron Bower)
Lt. Col. Bob Filler, Air Operations Branch Director, tracks status of deployed teams. (Photo credit: 1st Lt Ron Bower)
|Planes, Trains & Automobiles Recruiting Event|
On Saturday, February 24, 2018, the Plant City Airport sponsored "Planes, Trains & Automobiles", an EAA event displaying various aircraft, classic cars and model railroads. EAA pilots provided flights to over 100 appreciative youngsters through the Young Eagles program. Florida Wing-Group 3 saw this as an excellent opportunity to recruit new members and raise awareness of CAP to the un-tapped east Hillsborough county area.
Roughly 30 cadets & senior members from Hillsborough One Senior, Lakeland Composite and Polk County Composite squadrons staffed the recruiting table or assisted prospective members into the pilot's seat of the Wings' GA-8 aircraft. CAP's exhibit was well received by those in attendance and the airport staff was thankful for the cadets' marshaling service as aircraft taxied to the runway. The day was a complete success and sponsors were already thinking how to increase CAPs presence in next year's program.
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