Civil Air Patrol cadets from across southwest Florida recently participated in an emergency services training bivouac held near Venice, Fla. The event offered teenage cadets the opportunity to complete specialty training that qualifies them for duty on Air Force assigned missions.
The three days of ground team training focused on team-building skills and included a compass course and electronic signal tracking. CAP urban search teams require less equipment than ground teams, which are expected to be self-sufficient and able to remain in remote search areas for up to three days.
The emergency services training is in addition to the primary study by the CAP cadets. The aviation-based youth program features a series of milestone achievements available to cadets as they complete self-paced studies in leadership, physical fitness, moral character and aerospace education as well as participate in special activities. STEM training offered by the Air Force program is a popular supplement to private and public school programs, including home-schooling.
During the weekend bivouac, the cadets were up by 6:00 AM followed by breakfast, a safety and mission briefing, and then deployed for the morning mission. Lunch was followed by another search mission in the afternoon, dinner with lights-out at 10:00pm.
“We set up our own tents, cooked our own hot dogs, had PB&J for supper the first day,” said Capt. AnnMarie Kozloski, activity director. Kozloski and her support team provided a robust breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday. “On Sunday, we served breakfast and then deli sandwiches for lunch. Kudos! to the cooks who did a great job feeding everyone.”
The training scenarios of the five sorties were designed for the cadets to use map skills, operate radios, track emergency locator beacons and use signaling techniques in case of lost communications. Two sorties were a search for a missing person and simulated the need to evacuate an injured victim, one was scheduled at night.
“Needless to say, the cadets brought the victim back to mission base safe and sound, and none worse for the wear,” said Kozloski.
“Capt. Kozloski did a great job planning and directing this activity. Everything went smoothly. The senior members were great as instructors,” said Lt. Col. Tom Trammell, Commander, Venice Cadet Sqn. “The experience of hands-on field training is priceless in building a confident and capable team. The cadets were very excited about the ground team training and having fun with a little kickball, smores and stories around the campfire.”
The participating cadets and senior members are part of Civil Air Patrol Florida Wing’s Group 5 that has been serving southwest Florida communities since 1942. Attendees included members from Lee County Schools Cadet Squadron in Cape Coral; SRQ Composite Squadron; Charlotte County Composite Squadron and Venice Cadet Squadron.
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Civil Air Patrol cadets perform a line-search as part of a weekend-long search and rescue training activity in Venice, Fla. (photo credit: Capt Kozloski)