17:03 PM

N. Carolina Wing Conducts Statewide Search, Rescue Exercise

Capt. Lynne T. Albert
Public Affairs Officer
North Carolina Wing

The North Carolina Wing focused on training involving after-storm damage assessment and missing persons and aircraft during a statewide search and rescue exercise from July 16-21.

About 100 North Carolina Wing members participated in the exercise, which began with days of planning and preparation and culminated in an active weekend. Overseeing the activity were Capt. Scott Stevens, the wing’s director of emergency services, and his adviser and immediate predecessor, Lt. Col. John May. Col. Jayson Altieri, a member of the Civil Air Patrol Board of Governors, drove in to serve as the exercise’s ground branch director.

The exercise scenario involved landfall of Hurricane Gabrielle near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as a Category 4 storm. Gabrielle was downgraded to a tropical storm, but damage was assumed to be widespread along the North and South Carolina coastlines.

Under the scenario, landfall occurred sooner than predicted, so large numbers of people were unable to evacuate in advance. Even so, the wing was able to aid the North Carolina Highway Patrol with route surveys along evacuation routes.

In addition, much of the state’s eastern section was assumed to be without power, including Wing Headquarters in Burlington, and flooding was extensive. In the wake of the storm, the wing was tasked with assisting with damage assessments and search and rescue missions.Wing members participating in the exercise didn’t know any of the scenarios beforehand.

Because of the simulated flooding at Wing Headquarters, a temporary remote incident command post was set up at Pope Field in Cumberland County near the disaster area. Communications was established for air and ground sorties.

Wing aircrews made 13 flights during the exercise. Several others were cancelled or rescheduled because of inclement weather. The aerial missions were flown statewide from Asheville to Southport, and simulated outside agencies asked for photos of over 150 infrastructure targets.

All three ground sorties – two searches for missing persons and one for a missing aircraft – were successful.

“We were able to successfully demonstrate our readiness and skill to respond and deliver what our scenarios and customers requested of us,” said Lt. Col. Ed Angelovich, North Carolina Wing vice commander. “The North Carolina Wing did it professionally, with no reported safety related mishaps or incidents.

“What an excellent training experience for all who participated," he said.