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SDWG To Hold Exercise in Custer

August 2, 2022

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Custer, SD - South Dakota Wing, Civil Air Patrol (CAP), will conduct a search training exercise based at the Custer County Airport on Friday and Saturday, August 12-13.  The training will include air and ground search and rescue skills.

"This exercise is about building proficiency for the kinds of search and rescue missions we do for the air force and state and local government,” said Capt. Matt Tennant, CAP incident commander for the exercise. “We’ll be working on ground team skills, aircrew proficiency, unmanned search drones, radio communications, and mission staff administrative and management procedures.”

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.

"The CAP unit in Custer, Crazy Horse composite Squadron, is hosting this exercise at the Custer County Airport," said Col. Michael Marek, CAP’s South Dakota Wing commander. "Custer is in the geological center of the Black Hills and the terrain offers a good challenge for our ground search teams. Flying in and out of Custer’s mile-high airport also makes for good training for our pilots, because the altitude makes it more challenging than at lower elevations." 

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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