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CAP Train at East and West River Bases

August 14, 2021

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Rapid City, SD --- South Dakota Wing of Civil Air Patrol conducted dual East and West River training exercises on Saturday, August 14, to practice skills used in search and rescue and disaster relief missions. The exercise mission bases were in Sioux Falls and Piedmont.

“With the huge increase of visitors to the Black Hills, and the fact that many of them may not be familiar with mountains and open spaces, it is more important than ever that CAP be ready to serve at a moment’s notice,” said Col. David Small, Jr., incident commander for the West River event.

Both exercise locations placed special focus on locating a simulated missing person. They also trained on coordination between CAP aircraft and ground teams.

"Rehearsing for missing person searches is vital to our readiness," said Lt. Col. Todd Epp, incident commander for the Sioux Falls Split SAREX. "Being able to deploy quickly, use our search techniques proficiently, and coordinating internally and with outside agencies increases the chances of a ‘save’ rather than a ‘find.’ That's only accomplished through events like Saturday's SAREX."

Civil Air Patrol performs searches, disaster relief and other missions in its role as the U.S. Air Force auxiliary, part of the Air Force Total Force. CAP is aligned with First Air Force to rapidly respond 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.

CAP has over 400 members in South Dakota, with units in Brookings, Custer, Miller/Faulkton, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Spearfish and Tea. The wing can deploy its six aircraft, ground teams and small search drones to aid in emergency response and other support to local, state, tribal and federal agencies.


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