The Marco Island, Naples Senior, and Naples Cadet Squadrons of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) conducted a Search and Rescue Exercise (SAR/EX) on the 18 – 19 November 2017 at the Marco Island Executive Airport (KMKY), with 26 members actively participating in the many sorties over the Everglades and Marco Island area.
The airport manager authorized CAP to use several rooms in the airport terminal for training following the destruction of the Marco Island squadron’s airplane hangar by Hurricane Irma.
“We are thankful for the relationship we have with the airport and the generosity of Justin Lobb, the airport manager,” said Major Bob Cooriveau, Commander of Marco Island Squadron.
“We operated our Radio Mission Base, mandatory for all CAP missions, out of the temporary station at the South-end of the airport terminal building. With these added support facilities, the SAR/EX was a complete success.”
Two specially equipped aircraft, one from Marco and one from Naples, flew eight air missions over the period of two days. In addition, a ground sortie was performed on Sunday that included advance aircraft reconnaissance.
Cadets from the Naples Cadet squadron participated in the training with guidance and supervision from ground team leader Captain Eric Havens. A coordinated effort between the aircrew and ground team found the exact location of the emergency signal beacon used to simulate a crashed aircraft.
Real world search and rescue missions and training exercises are essential activities performed by CAP. The emergency services teams use a variety of search techniques to look for downed aircraft; boating vessels in distress; Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) signals; downed and lost helicopter simulation and other targets of interest.
Aerial photography is another common task. During this weekend’s sorties, many high-resolution, geotagged reconnaissance photos were taken by the CAP photographers using handheld and wing-mount cameras.
Corriveau commented after the conclusion of the exercise, "This was a very timely exercise especially with the arrival of our snowbirds. It allowed us to update our procedures and refresh our skills".
“With the establishment of a temporary radio station and hangar for our aircraft, the Marco Squadron is able to continue to provide services to Marco Island and Collier County and to host SAR/EX missions in Southwest Florida. We are mission-ready and continue to perform our weekly Wilderness Coastal Patrols 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 rebuilding the hangar.”
This article was produced from the Southeast Region Online News system. Electronic distribution is made possible through syndicated services. For more information, contact the Chief Editor Lt Col Judy Steele at JSteele@sercap.us.