Conn. Encampment Cadets Participate in Beacon Search Mission
2nd Lt. Steven Chesler
Encampment Public Affairs Officer
Cadets attending the Connecticut Wing Encampment wound up participating in a real-world mission Friday after electronic beacon signals were reported coming from the Hartford area on a frequency of 121.5 MHz.
After the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center contacted the Connecticut Wing about the signals, the wing’s commander, Col. James A. Ridley, assumed the role of incident commander and ordered a CAP plane launched from Hartford-Brainard airport. The aircrew reported strong signals over Goodspeed Airport and the surrounding area in East Haddam.
Lt. Col. Meghan Brownell, the wing’s director of emergency services, was attending the wing encampment at Camp Niantic in East Lyme a short distance away. At her recommendation, and with the approval of Ridley and Capt. Jeffrey Jenkins, encampment commander, a cadet ground team with senior leadership was assembled to locate and silence the electronic beacon.
After conducting a ramp search at Goodspeed Airport the ground team moved on to two marinas in the area. At Midway Marina very strong signals led them to a boat with Rhode Island registry and the signals’ source – an emergency position indicating radio beacon with expired batteries. The ground team shut off the device and removed the batteries.
During the encampment graduation Saturday, guest speaker Col. Gerald Lukowski of the Connecticut Army National Guard, chief of staff of the state Military Department, helped award the mission participants with find certificates.
“This was an excellent opportunity for the encampment cadets with emergency services qualifications to demonstrate leadership and teamwork in action,” Ridley said. “The quick manner in which they prosecuted the mission and silenced the signal was perfect.
“I am so glad that their efforts were rewarded at graduation in front of Col. Lukowski and other Connecticut Military Department officers who have been strong supporters of the wing and Civil Air Patrol for so long,” he added.