Civil Air Patrol Conducts Training Exercise
by Laura Monteverdi, Reporter
January 12, 2013 7:26 PM
Natural Disasters and emergencies happen every day across the country and in South Dakota there's a special group of men and women that answer the call when disaster strikes.
“This is the real deal as far as training missions go," said Colonel John Seten, Wing Commander for the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol.
On Saturday morning, the Sioux Falls Squadron of the South Dakota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol conducted one of those training missions. They went in search of a missing plane.
“Our ground crews and our air teams don't know where they are at so their job is for the air crews to get up in the air and we have specialized equipment that will pick up the location of that beacon,” said Seten.
In order to complete the mission successfully, both teams had to work together and communicate information back and forth.
"It would be just as if it were an actual missing aircraft,” said Seten.
The Civil Air Patrol does about 8 search and rescue missions per year across the state on both the ground and the air.
“I think the biggest thing honestly is you get to become something much larger than yourself," said Elizabeth Foy.
17-year-old Foy is the Cadet Commander for the Sioux Falls Squadron of the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol, a volunteer unit of the United States Air Force.
“A lot of what we do on the cadet side, especially in South Dakota, is we look for missing aircraft or we search for missing people especially in the winter,” explained Foy.
Foy is one of more than 70 volunteers in Sioux Falls
and nearly 75,000 in the United States, helping to provide support in times of emergency.
“We do disaster relief. For example, with Hurricane Katrina, Civil Air Patrol was down there not only providing search and rescue and looking for people, but they were also helping supplies and other things get through to the missing and the survivors,” said Foy.
While Saturday's mission may not have been a real disaster, the men and women of the Civil Air Patrol know that these exercises are preparation for the real deal.
“We train and we learn while we are training, but we are prepared and ready to go at a moment's notice," said Seten.
The Civil Air Patrol has a cadet-training program for those interested in joining.