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SDWG to Train with 5 Aircraft

June 25, 2021

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Brookings, SD --- South Dakota Wing of Civil Air Patrol will conduct a training exercise in Brookings Saturday (June 26) to practice skills used in search and rescue and disaster relief missions. The exercise will feature extensive airborne training, with five CAP aircraft.

"To have five of our six wing aircraft involved in search and rescue and airborne photography training is both unusual and exciting. It will be an excellent test of our capabilities,” said Lt. Col. Todd Epp, incident commander for the exercise. "We also have a large contingent of mission pilots, aircrew, and trainees coming. It’s satisfying to see our members so engaged after not being able to do as much face-to-face training as usual during the coronavirus pandemic.”

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 Big Sioux Composite Squadron is pleased to be able to host this training activity in Brookings," said Capt. Tyler Gross, BSCS commander. "This is the first major mission training event we’ve had at our squadron since before the pandemic. We have the facilities and wherewithal to support a big activity like a SAREX."

CAP has over 400 members in South Dakota with units in Brookings, Custer, Miller, 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. The wing conducted four search and rescue missions, thirteen training exercises, and twelve other state and federal support missions in 2020, including COVID vaccine flights in December. The wing was credited with one life saved and one find in 2020.

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