The Indiana Wing of the Civil Air Patrol conducted a search and rescue exercise this past weekend at the Starke County Airport. Ted Hayes visited the site, and talks with Col. Mark Reeves who was directing the cadets through their exercise.
“We’re running an Air Force training mission,” said Col. Reeves. “The Air Force has authorized us to practice our skills in search and rescue. The cadets are from the age of 12 to 21. They can qualify in all sorts of things. Most of the time they are ground team members. They qualify by doing ground team type stuff, first aid, search and rescue, and line searches.”
Civil Air Patrol cadets are unpaid professionals. Reeves was asked if most of them want to be pilots.
“Some of them can but most of them do not,” continued Col. Reeves. “We have a program that will allow them to pursue a pilot’s license if they so choose. They don’t get credit for Armed Forces duty, but if they choose to try to go into one of the academies, they get benefit for being in Civil Air Patrol.”
Volunteers from all over the state participated in the exercise. Col. Reeves talked about the training mission.
“We’re simulating a man-made disaster from a coal plant. There’s a plume of radioactive dust, or any type of thing that can be harmful to people. We’re trying to sort out where that plume will go and we’re looking for downed airplanes and missing people all in the same time frame.”
The Indiana Wing flew more than 2,500 hours in 2010 assisting local law enforcement in eradicating over $48 million dollars worth of marijuana. The Patrol is an official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. The Indiana Wing has 1300 members, 8 aircraft, and more than 30 squadrons across the state. For more about the patrol click here.