20:22 PM

Mid-Atlantic Region Relaunches Search & Rescue College

Mid-Atlantic RegionMore than 90 Civil Air Patrol members participated when the  Mid-Atlantic Region revived its longstanding search and rescue college, known as “MARSAR,” shortly after the pandemic slowdown,

Previously, safety protocols prevented interstate, large-scale, in-person instruction and field exercises.

Members traveled from the seven-wing Mid-Atlantic Region and Ohio to North Carolina’s New London area to refresh their emergency services qualifications through MARSAR. In addition to training, they were eager to muster and renew friendships forged over years of joint training and operations.

MARSAR was instituted about 30 years ago as the region’s premier emergency services training event for incident command staff, ground search personnel, and aircrews. Leading this year’s revival effort were Lt. Cols. Dennis Bissell, director, and Brendan Kearns, assistant director, both members of the North Carolina Wing.

Because of the wing’s close relationship with the local community and its Air National Guard headquarters, the three-day college was conducted at Camp John J. Barnhardt  and Stanly County Airport with billeting at New London ANG Base.

Expert instruction

Impending bad weather led Bissell to cancel the planned aircrew training and expand the number of slots for communications, ground search, drones, and incident command training.

“MARSAR brought together the region to celebrate ‘no borders, no boundaries’ in expanding our skills and abilities to serve our respective communities,” he said. “Standing on the shoulders of directors such as Cols. Dave Crawford, Jay Lindler, and Francis Smith and Lt. Col. John Henderson, this renewed effort honors the past and increases readiness.”

Members participated in tabletop exercises, joint ground search and drone team training, and communications.

Along with the Mid-Atlantic Region wings – Delaware, Maryland, National Capital, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia – and the Ohio Wing, participants also came from the Congressional Squadron and Mid-Atlantic Region Headquarters.

Organizers extended special thanks for support to the Boy Scouts of America’s Central North Carolina Council; Greg Etheridge, BSA Camp John J. Barnhardt ranger; Ken Swaringen, Stanly County Airport director; and the North Carolina Air National Guard’s 145th Airlift Wing, 145th Civil Engineering Squadron, and 235th Air Traffic Control Squadron.

Photos from the activity can  be viewed online.

Kimberly Carole
Assistant Public Affairs Officer
Prince William Composite Squadron
Virginia Wing