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SDWG to Perform Search and Rescue Training

February 11, 2022

(Statewide, SD) --- South Dakota Wing of Civil Air Patrol will conduct a search training exercise across the state Saturday, February 12. The training will include a series of scenario-based tasks for ground team, aircrew, and mission base training, with members participating from all of South Dakota Wing’s eight units, known as squadrons.

The incident command post will be at the Lincoln County Composite Squadron headquarters with incident command staff at multiple locations around the state coordinating by videoconference.

“This exercise, with operational bases across the state, helps South Dakota Wing prepare for major operational missions, such as an extended missing person or missing aircraft search,” said Col Michael Marek, South Dakota Wing Commander and one of CAP’s incident commanders for the exercise. “We’ll use modern technology to coordinate our staff, ground teams and aircrews at multiple locations, but we’ll also reinforce our proficiency training on our own internal tactical and command radio systems.”

Civil Air Patrol performs search, 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.

“This exercise that we are involved in will test our resources and training,” said Col Mary Donley, an operations section chief and the finance/administration section chief for Saturday’s exercise. “We try to make the exercises as real life as possible so we are prepared when the call comes to help in a search or are tasked with a mission.”

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

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