CAP Squadron trains for search and rescue in Sinks Canyon

Nine members of the Wind River Composite Squadron and the Yellowstone Regional Composite Squadron held joint training for Ground Team Member qualification at Bruce’s Bridge in the Sinks Canyon State Park in late August. This was the first ground team member training in Fremont County since the unit formed in 2018.

A Ground Team is part of the triad that makes up the Search and Rescue service of the Civil Air Patrol. The other two “legs” of CAP Incident Command System are the flight crews and mission base staff. The Mission Base supports and coordinates the other two legs. The Air Crews typically locate downed aircraft and missing persons from the air. The Ground Teams travel to the location and engage in aid and recovery efforts.

Lt Col Beverley Carlson and Lt Col Mike Carlson were the designated trainers. Capt Karl Falken was there to renew his qualifications. The rest worked on first-time qualifications. 2Lt Joseph Stong was there with his sons C/MSgt Nicholas Stong and C/MSgt Timothy Stong. Capt James Bailey was there with his son, First Sergeant C/CMSgt Clark Bailey. C/TSgt Ciely Daly trained and contributed valuable insight from her experience as a student at Wyoming Catholic College.

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“The ground team member training provided an opportunity for hands-on application of the skills we had practiced, up until then, in the classroom only,” commented Cadet Daly. “I enjoyed getting out into the field to use the actual equipment, particularly the radios and Electronic Location Transmitter. It was also wonderful to feel that our learning was being put to use; that myself and my fellow cadets are now one step closer to conducting an actual search and rescue mission, helping CAP accomplish its mission of saving lives.”

The weather for the event was ideal, and the location both rugged and scenic with mountainous terrain, flowing water and dense forest. Following extensive online classroom training during the recent Public Health Emergency, the students practiced what they learned invaluable hands-on training. This included line search techniques, trail marking and stretcher carrying, navigation by compass and radio direction finding.

Besides training in Sink Canyon State Park, the group also trained using advanced Urban Direction-Finding techniques near Fossil Hill at the Wolf Trailhead. The two Stong brothers had the honor of finding the ELT, well hidden in a pile of rocks. Overall, the training was successful with no safety issues and more than half the required training for Ground Team Member 3 was completed for all participants.

h/t Capt Karl Falken for sharing the above information and photos

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