PUNTA GORDA, Fla. -
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)