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Mechanized Unit

With a lot of Army Air Force training taking place either directly over, or passing through, the airspace over Nevada, there would be a number of crashes, either due to pilot inexperience, bad weather, or mechanical failure (military piston aircraft engines of the time, although quite good for the era, were not as reliable as the engines that power the aircraft of today – aircraft engine technology, as well as that of radio navigation technology, has come a long way).

But it would not be enough to simply locate a downed aircraft by air. If a pilot and/or crew had survived the crash, most probably it would be necessary to get to them with medical aid and bring them out. Some sort of ground units would also be required. Helicopters were still undergoing development at the time, and therefore unavailable.

Most of Nevada was quite barren, more so than today. A small network of paved roads existed, with most other roads being dirt and gravel, with almost all of them located on ranchland. An ambulance could possibly make it to the dirt road nearest a crash site, but even then, most of the crash sites would still be miles away. So, in addition to aviation units, Nevada Wing formed a mechanized unit (by the fall of 1942 it would be complete with a mobile hospital).

Also formed within Nevada Wing was the only mounted unit ever formed within CAP. Working together, the air units would find the objective of the search, communicate the position of the target to the ground units by either radio (if the aircraft had one) or message drop, and the ground units would converge on the crash site. The mechanized units would get as close as possible, and the mounted unit would get to the crash, render first aid, and bring the victim(s) to the waiting CAP ambulance(s), either on horseback or on a stretcher carried between two horses.

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