Mt. Charleston Search and Rescue Exercise
Mt Charleston Search and Rescue ExerciseBy Maj. Kenneth Lucia Pacific Region, Director of Safety
Over the recent Memorial Day Weekend, forty-five adults and cadets, from three wings and eight squadrons, converged on Mt. Charleston, Nevada, for three days of extensive training, amazing fun, and deep comradery.
Capt Robert Margeson, commander of the Vegas Valley Composite Squadron, has made it a squadron goal to get as many adult members and cadets trained in the emergency services missions as possible to prepare the Nevada Wing to field qualified air and ground teams for availability on a moment’s notice. Key to that is having fully qualified members who are task and position certified, and then replicating that training with new trainers who can further develop even more certified personnel. That was the key objective of the Mt. Charleston mission.
During the three day activity, adults and cadets on the ground set up simulated downed aircraft panels, set out emergency beacons, practiced using direction-finding equipment, learned to work as field teams, communicated necessary information with air and base assets, broadened their knowledge in first aid, compass and land navigation, hazards, survival skills, and more. Ground and air teams also got the experience of learning the challenges in working in rugged terrain, spotting each other, difficulty with reading signals and radio communication, and learning to adapt to those challenges.
Of course, the camping was also fun. Cadets enjoyed working in teams to load and unload supplies, assemble and later recover shelters, build campfires, make s’mores, roast marshmallows, look through telescopes at objects in the night sky, hike along a mountain stream, discover some of the technology being used in drones with cameras, and more. Cadets helped prepare meals, including cooking, serving, and cleaning. As no water was available at the campsite, cadets also discovered how to budget water resources for cooking, cleaning, sanitation, personal hygiene, and hydration. They also learned to live without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google and the rest of the world—although you would have thought the world would have stopped spinning on its axis and spiral out into the void of space!
It was amazing to meet new people from different wings (NV, UT, WA, and Pacific Region) and units. These kinds of events help foster the bonds of trust and friendship that lead to interstate search and rescue cooperation, cadet cadre and adult encampment staffing, networking for other CAP activities, and stronger communities.
We were fortunate to be able to have Col Carol Lynn, the Nevada Wing Commander, also come out for a visit, as well as some other Nevada wing and region staff. We had a flag on a telescopic pole that really made our event “pop” (we even had revile and retreat ceremonies), and we had our wing Chaplain gave us a Sunday motivational character development gathering.
Our adult senior members were also key to making the event a success. The planning, marketing, financing, preparation, purchasing, delivery, coordination, transportation, supervision, and the myriad of logistical matters to put an event together cannot go without mention and our great thanks.
So, as you enjoy the photos in this section, please remember to thank all that you see and congratulate them on a job well done. Also, as you and your units plan for future activities that interest your units, please remember to solicit outside cooperation to help make your event a success and ease some of the pain that goes into preparation and execution. After all, we are stronger as a team.