Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Welcome to our Eight new Mission Scanner Trainees!

By 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach, photographs by Capt Jordan Hayes

Capt Nicholson (Instructor)
Welcome to our eight newly minted Mission Scanner Trainees (MS-Ts), who just graduated from the Mission Scanner School, hosted by Group 2 at Oakland airport this past weekend.

Congratulations to all of you, as well as to the two current Mission Scanners, who attended to renew their ratings:

  • Maj Maggie Wang (MS), Amelia Earhart Senior Squadron 188 (Group 2) 
  • Maj Ted Mahoney (MS), Sacramento Composite Squadron 14 (Group 5)
  • 2d Lt Ann Suter (MS-T), Diablo Composite Squadron 44 (Group 2) 
  • SM Robert Schultz (MS-T), John E Kramer Composite Squadron 10 (Group 2)
  • SM Clarence Binninger (MS-T), Amelia Earhart Senior Squadron 188 (Group 2)
  • SM Jason Gordon (MS-T), San Jose Senior Squadron 80 (Group 2) 
  • SM Chuck Towns (MS-T), Amelia Earhart Senior Squadron 188 (Group 2)
  • SM Erik Langenbacher (MS-T), Marin Search and Rescue Composite Squadron 23 (Group 5) 
  • SM Sergio Mello (MS-T), Amelia Earhart Senior Squadron 188 (Group 2)
  • 1st Lt Hollerbach (Instructor)
  • SM Stephen Collins (MS-T), West Bay Composite Squadron 192 (Group 2) 

Also, thanks to the instructors who gave up part of their weekend to teach the class:

  • Maj Chris Suter, Diablo Composite Squadron 44 (Group 2)
  • Maj Dan Tupper, San Jose Senior Squadron 80 (Group 2) 
  • Capt Jordan Hayes, Amelia Earhart Senior Squadron 188 (Group 2)
  • Capt John Heldt, San Jose Senior Squadron 80 (Group 2)
  • Capt Dave Nicholson, Marin Search and Rescue Composite Squadron 23 (Group 5)  
  • 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach, Amelia Earhart Senior Squadron 188 (Group 2)

Capt Hayes (archive photo,
by Lt Col Juan Tinnirello)

Special thanks to Capt Hayes, who also served as Project Officer for the weekend event!

The MS rating is often one of the first Emergency Services ratings that CAP members achieve, and it sets the foundation for all of the other aircrew ratings (Mission Observer, Airborne Photographer and Mission Pilot). Topics covered this weekend included:

  • Scanner duties
  • Aircraft familiarization
  • Survival and urgent care
  • Communications
  • Scanning techniques & sighting characteristics
  • Weather
  • High altitude & terrain considerations
  • Navigation & position determination
  • Search planning & coverage
  • Visual search patterns
  • Crew resource management
  • Scanner course tabletop exercise – a hands-on sortie planning exercises

Congratulations to all participants, especially the new MS-Ts, for making it through the course and passing the test. The class is challenging, particularly for non-pilots, as it covers a lot of information, including concepts familiar to pilots from their ground school.  I remember when I took the class, it was a little bewildering to learn the search patterns, specialized communications, crew resource management with a SAR (search and rescue) crew, and other things I was not really familiar with. If you're one of the new MS-Ts and you're still confused, don't worry, it will all become more clear at your upcoming SAREX!

Thanks to all of you, for helping to strengthen California Wing’s capabilities and readiness to serve our community when we are called upon to do so.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Amelia Earhart, Senior Squadron 188, Celebrates Their 30th Anniversary.

By Lt Col Juan Tinnirello.   Photos by Lt Col Tinnirello

On Tuesday January 30th, 2018, the fifth Tuesday of the month, many members attended the squadron’s usual gathering for a Tuesday BBQ.  However, this was not an ordinary fifth Tuesday. It just happened to be the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Squadron 188’s formation. 

A cake for the occasion.
All the squadron’s previous commanders were invited, and with the exception of one deceased commander and another one that had moved out of the state, everyone else was present.

Many members attended the event and conversed about their experiences accumulated over their years in the squadron.  Our longest serving member (not present) is Lt Col Dennis Matarrese, who has been a CAP member since 28 October 1960, Lt Col Roger Glenn, since 6 November 1989, Lt Col Juan Tinnirello, since 1 January 1991, 1st Lt Al Chavez, since 10 December 1991, 1st Lt Mike Sanchez, since 10 February 1993, and 1st Lt Jim Hipp, since 19 October 1993. No other old-timers, who are still members of Squadron 188, came before the year 2000.
L to R, Maj Ironfield, Maj Michelogiannakis and Capt Hayes
 conversing prior to the ceremony.
All of the attending members contributed to the potluck and, as usual, the squadron provided hamburgers and sausages. The Grill Master for the evening was 1st Lt Kevin Fall, who did a fantastic job of cooking for such a large group. Everybody enjoyed the food and had plenty of time to socialize.  Lt Col Glenn set up his video equipment when he came in and proceeded to record many of the faces present at the event.

After everybody finished enjoying the company and the food, our current commander Capt Jordan Hayes proceeded to introduce each one of the former commanders in chronological order. 
 L to R, Capt Rivas, 1st Lt Chavez, Maj Groff (retired)
and Lt Col Luneau remembering old stories

The first commander, Maj Paul Groff, retired, (1988-1997), came to help celebrate and commented on the highlights of his term. He mentioned the great group of people and the many accomplishments realized, such as being named the Squadron of the Year for California Wing twice (in 1994 and 1995), participation in the disaster relief efforts for the Northridge earthquake in January 1994 in Los Angeles, and many more Wing and Group 2 awards for individuals that excelled in their specialty track.

Following Maj Paul Groff was Capt John Matula (1997-2002), now deceased. During his term the squadron was also the California Wing Squadron of the Year (1997) and won the Newsletter of the Year award (1998). There were also several Wing awards for individuals in their specialty tracks.

1st Lt Fall, Grill Master for the evening,
 making sure everything was cooked properly.

After Capt Matula came Lt Col Roger Glenn (2002-2007) and he mentioned that during his term the squadron had the capability to set up self-contained radio communication in the middle of nowhere, to help in any SAREX or real mission. We had two 4WD military vehicles (a Blazer and a pickup) that allowed us to take all the equipment wherever it was needed.  We even helped the Sheriff’s department to reach the top of Mission Peak one Christmas Eve with our 4WD Blazer, to arrive to an actual plane crash where the two occupants died.

 Another group of members, enjoying each other’s company 

After Lt Col Glenn came Maj Bob Gelinas (2007-2009), who moved out of state some years ago, and was not able to participate.

After Maj Gelinas came Maj Jeff Ironfield (2009-2012). The squadron had pushed for many years to have an aircraft assigned to us. Maj Ironfield was the commander who succeeded in accomplishing this goal. The squadron had enough pilots so that he and Lt Col Noel Luneau went to the Cessna factory and brought back a brand new glass cockpit airplane: a Cessna 182 G1000.  The pilots worked hard to keep the plane flying and increase the flying hours so much that we surpassed most other squadrons in the Wing. Also, during Maj Ironfield’s term the squadron received a Wing Award for Senior Squadron of the Year (2011) and two awards from Group 2 for Senior Squadron of the Year (2010 and 2012). 

 Capt Hayes (L) shaking hands (that included a Squadron 188 coin),
 with Maj Groff 

After Maj Ironfield came Lt Col Luneau (2012-2014). During that time the squadron received from Group 2 two awards for Newsletter of the Year (2012 and 2014), one award for Senior Squadron of the Year, and a Unit Citation Award from National Headquarters (2014) for the period of 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2014.

 Maj Groff (retired) talking about the
 highlights of his term as commander.

After Lt Col Luneau came Capt Louie Rivas (2014-2017). During his tenure, the squadron received an award from Group 2 for Senior Squadron of the Year (2014), one award from California Wing for Newsletter of the year (2015). In 2017, the squadron received a second Unit Citation Award from National Headquarters for the period 1 September 2014 to 31 August 2016.

After Capt Rivas came Capt Jordan Hayes (2017- present). Our current commander mentioned that, “I’m very pleased that most of the former commanders are still active members of Squadron 188; they provide me with much needed support and guidance. It was great to see so many members come out for the event; camaraderie and fellowship are the glue that hold us together and help us to become the most capable squadron that we can be. We honored the past, celebrated the present, and stand ready for tomorrow.” 

Lt Col Glenn also talking about his
 accomplishments as squadron commander.

Major Ironfield proceeded to cut the cake and everyone had a piece of it.  The reunion continued for some time, with everybody conversing and exchanging stories.

It was a fantastic reunion with so much history about the squadron and its fabulous growth to its present membership.
Capt Hayes introducing Lt Col Luneau.

 Lt Col Glenn having fun recording the event.

Partial view of the audience during the comments offered by the commanders.

 Capt Rivas talking about the highlights of his term.
(L to R) Maj Ironfield, Lt Col Luneau, Capt Rivas, Capt Hayes, Major Groff and Lt Col Glenn.
The glasses are ready to pour your favorite drink.
Maj Ironfield ready to start cutting the squadron’s cake.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Night SAREX at Watsonville

Group 2, of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), Conducted a Night Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) January 27-28, 2018 at the Watsonville airport.

By Lt Col Juan Tinnirello, photography as listed.

Watsonville and all its lights.  Photo by 2d Lt Alexei Roudnev
Fifteen cadets and thirty-one seniors, members of CAP, the Auxiliary to the U. S. Air Force, convened at Watsonville Airport to participate in an unusual night exercise. Unusual, because most of our training exercises take place during the day.  However, since most missions assigned by the U.S. Air Force start late in the day, searches are frequently completed in the dark, so training for this is vital for ensuring the safety of our missions.

Cadets talking before the mission started.
Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello
                                                            Obtaining an emergency services (ES) rating for many different specialties requires participation in two training exercises. New cadets as well as senior members that have been training in the classroom had the opportunity to fulfill their first practical training participation or complete their second one.  Also, there was an opportunity for seasoned members to sharpen their skills and to serve as mentors for the trainees.

The Incident Command Post (ICP) opened at 14:00 hrs. under the leadership of Maj Steven DeFord.
The general briefing in progress. Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello
The Staff included:
  • Capt Roger Bass, Air Operations Branch Director (AOBD).
  • Maj Kathy Brown, Finance/Admin Section Chief (FASC).
  • 1st Lt Bill Ettingoff, Operations Section Chief (OSC).
  • Capt George Gadd, Logistic Section Chief (LSC).
  • Capt James Warmkessel, Communication Unit leader (CUL).
  • Capt Jordan Hayes, Urban Directional Finding (UDF) training class.

Another view during the general briefing.  Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello

There were four aircraft that completed five sorties.  Also, there were two vehicles that took the cadets and seniors out into the very cool night to make visual contact with the aircraft. There was one ground team and one Urban Direction Finding (UDF) team.  Both completed their assignments to find the simulated Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) and or make visual contact with the aircraft that was also searching for the ELT.
Capt Hayes explaining how to assemble the Little L-Per (name given
by the manufacturer). Photo by 2d Lt Roudnev

The members attending the UDF class. Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello

Capt Hayes showing the UDF class how to use the Little L-Per.  Photo by 2d Lt Roudnev
The radio room during a quiet moment.  Photo by 2d Lt Roudnev

Many base personnel provided support to the whole operation, including Mission Radio Operators (MRO), Mission Staff Assistant (MSA) and others that provided the food, drinks, etc. to keep the participants nourished and ready to go.
It was an excellent opportunity for CAP members to improve their skills and complete training ES ratings. 
1st Lt Eric Choate (L) conversing with Capt Jordan Hayes (R).
Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello

The visibility was excellent, the wind mild and everything worked out great.  The exercise was completed by 01:15 hrs. local and the ICP closed a couple hours later.

En route to Watsonville looking from around Sunol, towards the West.  

Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello

Another team in the communication room. Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello
Capt Hayes demonstrating how to interpret the information received by the Little L-Per. 
Photo by 2d Lt Roudnev