Twin SAREXs Exercise Ground, Air Mission Skills
South Dakota Wing conducted twin east and west river SAREXs on Saturday, November 6. The west river exercise was based at wing headquarters at Rapid City Regional Airport. The east river exercise was at Sioux Falls Composite Squadron headquarters. The two events were coordinated but were separate exercises.
Over 30 CAP members from across eastern South Dakota met in Sioux Falls under glorious blue skies and pleasant temperatures to train for the last hands-on SAREX of 2021. Of the 34 participants, it was the first SAREX for eight of the cadets and senior members.
While the exercise concentrated on training ground team members, two mission pilots also conducted air sorties. The new people received initial training, and the exercise increased the proficiency of the more established members.
The morning sorties of the west SAREX went without complications. The afternoon scenario simulated the failure of a mobile repeater, which created some challenges for the aircrews and the ground team. The solution was to use another repeater in the area. Mission Base successfully made contact with each aircrew and the ground team via alternative channels. One highlight from the west SAREX was the professionalism of the ground team. While getting lunch at Johnson Siding, another patron picked up the tab because all of the cadets were well behaved.
The east SAREX also experimented with using a day-long Teams meeting to connect incident command team members working from home, which is a typical environment for actual missions. They also tested a new online spreadsheet to track critical information and disseminate it to SAREX participants.
Overall this SAREX was a success, with many members earning new qualifications.