Cadet Airman Ivy Wollberg of the Michigan Wing’s Battle Creek Cadet Squadron, a student in the Search and Rescue Academy’s Advance Course, takes her turn “on the rope” during River Crossing Day.
Capt. Debbie Sandstrom
Public Affairs Officer/Logistics Staff
2009 Search and Rescue Academy
Emergency Services Training Officer
MICHIGAN – Cadets and senior members from three wings took to Huron National Forest recently for eight intensive days of ground team training, living in tents or half-shelters or wherever they could hang a hammock, for the 15th annual Search and Rescue Academy in Luzerne.
In all, 61 students and 23 staff members participated in the academy. Most came most from the Michigan Wing, though some also traveled from the Indiana and Ohio wings.
With five different courses available -- Basic, Advance, Medic, Expert and Senior Member -- all aspects of Civil Air Patrol ground search and rescue training were offered.
From basic gear preparation to in-depth navigation skills, the academy provides a wide variety of training opportunities. Participants worked several different mock crash scenarios as well as a multitude of other realistic missions.
Training in the dense woodland area under the supervision of experienced course leaders allowed the members to gain a wide range of experience and undergo the hands-on training necessary for intense search and rescue missions
The participants were quickly able to put their training to use when the Michigan Wing was alerted to an actual mission just before graduation ceremonies Aug. 8. An aircraft was overdue after taking off the previous afternoon, and members around the state were activated.
Since a ready group of ground team members was already assembled in Luzerne, five teams were dispatched along with mission base staff support to assist in the search efforts. While the aircraft was located just before the academy teams’ arrival, the experience dramatically demonstrated the importance of preparation and practice.
The annual academy has now produced more than 300 graduates since its inception in 1994.