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

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