Conn. Wing Trains for Storm Response, Works with Coast Guard
Maj. Peter Milano
Public Affairs Officer
399th Composite Squadron
The Connecticut Wing conducted a wing-wide training exercise June 10 designed to evaluate the wing’s preparedness for and ability to respond to a severe tropical storm.The exercise also included interaction with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Col. James Ridley, wing commander, served as incident commander for the exercise, directing operations from mission headquarters at Hartford-Brainard Airport. Flights were launched from Hartford, Oxford and Bridgeport to collect damage assessment photos of bridges spanning the Connecticut River south of Hartford to the shoreline. Meanwhile, two ground teams were dispatched to search for missing people at Windsor Meadows State Park.
As part of the training, U.S. Coast Guard Station New Haven requested Civil Air Patrol assistance in locating a vessel adrift in the Long Island Sound and then checking for signs of life onboard or for individuals in the water.
Coast Guard personnel set adrift “Oscar,” a 120-pound training dummy used to practice water rescues. A Connecticut Wing aircrew in a Gippsland GA-8 was directed to the search area and quickly discovered the drifting vessel with no one onboard. Continuing the search, the aircrew quickly located Oscar floating in the Sound.
“Today's drill illustrates our desire to reinforce our joint policies and procedures while developing sound working practices for real-life scenarios,“ said Lt. Bradley Nelson of Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound. “Joint training helps us improve search coordination and builds a stronger rapport between both organizations. We are aligned on how to best serve the public in need, which makes CAP and USCG a strong partner for one another.”
Added Ridley, “This is one of the first of many joint exercises I hope we conduct with the Coast Guard. We already have a great working relationship with them, conducting Long Island Sound Patrols in the summer and Ice Patrols during the winter, and most recently assisting them with an effort to locate two missing boaters this past Memorial Day.”