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CAP to Hold Search Training in Custer

April 28, 2021

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Rapid City, SD - South Dakota Wing of Civil Air Patrol will conduct a training exercise Saturday (May 1) in Custer to practice skills used in search and disaster relief missions. The exercise was postponed from last month due to weather.

“Our objectives for the exercise will include training and evaluating ground teams searching for a missing person, aircraft tracking an emergency locator transmitter, and use of our sUAS [Small Unmanned Aerial System],” said Lt. Col. Craig Goodrich, incident commander for the exercise. “Our hands-on training has been limited this past year due to pandemic precautions, so we’re looking to refresh as many aircrew, ground team and mission management skills as possible.”

Training sorties flown in the Black Hills will also help CAP pilots refresh their mountain flying ability, which is demanding due to the thinner air at the higher altitude, particularly when flying low to pinpoint an ELT signal or perform visual searches for missing persons in the valleys below.  The exercise will include ground team training and unmanned aerial search drones.

“If you are in Custer on Saturday [May 1], you’ll see a lot of activity at the airport,” said Lt. Col. Michael Marek, public affairs officer for CAP in South Dakota. “You may also see our white vans with adult and youth members in military-style uniforms in Custer or alongside Black Hills highways.  If you do, you’ll know that they are working to be ready to help others, and to be safe as they do it.”

Civil Air Patrol performs search, disaster relief and other missions in its role as the U.S. Air Force auxiliary. As part of the Air Force “Total Force,” CAP is aligned to respond rapidly to nonmilitary threats domestically when tasked in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance.

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