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
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
“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)