08:47 AM

Hawk Mtn. Virtual Version Draws 650+ from 44 Wings

Capt. Matthew Chirik
Public Affairs Officer
Pennsylvania Wing

As Civil Air Patrol’s only National Cadet Special Activity to move to a completely online format so far this year, Hawk Mountain Ranger School wrapped up its 64th year with more than 650 participants from 44 wings.

Virtual training sessions featured a widespread curriculum covering the Basic and Advanced Ranger Course, Team Leaders Course and Field Medic Course – training typically provided as part of the summer activity. Classes included such topics as basic and advanced navigation, ropes and knots, search theories, basic survival skills and several other fundamental Ranger tasks.

In addition to Ranger-focused topics, Hawk Mountain conducted CAP's only approved online first aid course for Ground Team Members – National Association for Search and Rescue Basic Wilderness-First Air – and partnered with the Northeast Region Mobile Training Team to offer Federal Emergency Management Agency Incident Command System 300 and 400.

“I'm inspired by all the CAP members who participated online knowing that we weren't going to provide signoffs simply because they wanted to advance their training. That is how dedicated CAP members are,” said Lt. Col. Brian Cuce, Hawk Mountain Ranger School commander.

“I'm equally as proud of our staff, who were able to turn our entire curriculum virtual in only two months, to be the only NCSA to provide an opportunity of this scale nationally, purely out of a commitment to serve their fellow members,” Cuce said. “I hope we have opened people's eyes to the opportunities Hawk Mountain offers and we see many of the students on the Mountain next summer.”

Twenty Ranger staff members serving as instructors for over 57 hours of training provided through 44 classes. Participants also included members of various CAP region headquarters and National Headquarters staff.

"I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Hawk Mountain Ranger School's first virtual classroom and online training and it was great. I want to thank the staff for their invaluable insight and creativity that was available to students from across America and as far as Japan,” said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Dandridge, CAP national command chief.

“The short discussion topics and practical exercises at the end of most sections helped us focus our learning, with many students sharing their eagerness to attend the NCSA training in 2021. Thank you, Lt. Col. Brian Cuce, and the entire staff, for a wonderful online training experience,” Dandridge said.

“Search and rescue for the lost or missing is a noble calling, and the instructors made (training) easy to access.”

In addition to the virtual training, several staff members spent the week at the school working on facility upgrades. While such work is typically performed throughout the year, a full week with no students present allowed the staff to complete several projects, including upgrading the logistics and communications facilities and the obstacle course, removing old trailers and cleaning up trailers used for storage.

Cuce, meanwhile, used the time to complete all requirements for his Expert Ranger qualification. He’s the 281st to attain that milestone in the school's 64-year history.