Middle East Region Training Prepares Participants for Emergency Response
Lt. Col. Nicole Shaffner
Public Information Officer
Middle East Region Search and Rescue College
Fort Pickett played host to 283 Civil Air Patrol members during the June 1 weekend as members from nine wings, the Congressional Squadron and Middle East Region Headquarters gathered at the Virginia-based Army National Guard installation for breakout emergency services training.
The ultimate goal was for master instructors to certify mission tasks, enabling participants to operate in missions under the discipline of their choice – air operations, ground operations or mission-based duties.
Participants came from the seven Middle East Region wings – Delaware, Maryland, National Capital, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia – as well as the Pennsylvania and Tennessee wings.
Turbulent weather systems posed obstacles for training for 29 aircrews, with most planned activities grounded. At the same time, ground team trainees were participating in training tasks and practice scenarios in the field. Mission scanners and observers, flight line marshallers, mission radio operators and mission pilots underwent training as well.
Members working to gain certification as incident commanders underwent the most stringent training, with a regimen that included intensive classroom-based training and simulated exercises featuring multi-wing, multi-operational activities.
The first night of training ended with the ground teams’ impromptu return from the field because of several lighting strikes in the vicinity. Even so, by the end of the weekend more than 200 members had acquired training task signoffs and achieved their mission qualifications.
Aircrew teams carried out 88 sorties totaling 142.2 flight hours, including 44.8 hours devoted to training sorties.
“While we were disappointed that the weather precluded us from executing many of our planned air sorties, the staff and students were able to adapt to the situation and maximize the training outcomes,” said Col. David Crawford, training co-director and Middle East Region deputy chief of staff for operations.
“It was good practice. Over the last three years, our region has experienced several weather-related crises (including Tropical Storm Joaquin and hurricanes Matthew and Irma). We have answered the call each time a storm has threatened our coastal regions. We persist and will continue to train for the unexpected challenges that lie ahead of us,” Crawford said.