August 21, 2009

College Park Cadets Receive Mitchell Award

By Capt. Charles Davis
Deputy Commander of Cadets

College Park Composite Squadron

College Park, Md. –Cadets Orville “Bo” Saunders and Anthony Albanese of the College Park Composite recently received the General Billy Mitchell Award. Squadron commander Capt. Jonathan Neumann and Group III commander Lt. Col. Wes LaPre presented the awards at a ceremony at the Hap Arnold Center, home of the College Park Squadron.

The Mitchell Award is the second milestone in the CAP cadet program and is earned after completing the first eight achievements. The award honors the late Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell, aviation pioneer, advocate and staunch supporter of an independent Air Force for America. Earning the award marks the end of the enlisted phase of the cadet program and the beginning of the officer phase.

Cadets earning the Mitchell Award receive the grade of Cadet Second Lieutenant. In addition, recipients can enter the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve or U.S. Coast Guard at the advance pay grade of E-3 (Airman First Class).

To earn this award, the cadets successfully passed a combined leadership and aerospace exam, a physical fitness test and a uniform inspection. They also directed moral leadership discussions, mentored other cadets, attended squadron activities and a CAP encampment, and passed a board of review.

Albanese, a member since October of 2004, recently earned his solo wings. He has attended three encampments serving as staff during the last two events. Saunders joined CAP in the fall of 2004. He has participated in Honor Guard activities and has participated in two encampments including this summer where he served as Command Chief. Soon to be a senior in high school, Saunders is currently working on his scanner rating for CAP.

July 22, 2009

Easy Fundraising for CAP

If you are an online shopper, there’s a way you raise money for CAP the next time you make your purchases and it won’t cost you an extra cent.

Go to There you will find a virtual shopping mall. Simply click on the store you wish to purchase items from. Then you will be given a list of states and regions to choose from. Choose Maryland. Then choose your squadron. Two to 13 percent of the store’s profits will be donated to CAP.

April 26, 2009

Preperation for Air Force Evaluated SAREX

Members of the Maryland Civil Air Patrol (CAP) spent last weekend preparing for next month’s U.S. Air Force evaluated Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX).

Groups III, II and members of wing staff participated at the event in Hollywood, Md. Air Crews gathered at St. Mary’s Airport, the mission base, to learn how to use CAP’s Satellite-transmitted Digital Imaging System (SDIS). Following classroom training, the crews put their skills to use in the air snapping pictures of various locations throughout the region including the Bay Bridge.

Shortly after SDIS training concluded, Maryland CAP Wing Commander, Col. Gerard W. Weiss, met with section chiefs and other staff to discuss plans for the SAREX in May. During the session, Air Force evaluator, Lt. Col. Stephen DePalo, offered members an overview of what they can expect to happen during evaluation.

Group III Commander, Lt. Col. Wes LaPre, called DePalo’s visit insightful. “He came and told us not scenario stuff but basically philosophy which is to take the task and do the task and not to try to do anything flamboyant with it, basically get it done because you know you are going to get some more tasks,” he said.

Out in the field, ground search and rescue teams from Annapolis and Arundel Squadrons practiced locating Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) at the Jug Bay Natural Area in Upper Marlboro, Md while a third team from St. Mary's practiced near mission base.

The teams also practiced coordinating with CAP aircraft to locate a target. Back at the airport, members of the Bowie, St. Mary’s and College Park squadrons participated in flight line marshaling training which involves directing the movement of aircraft once pilots land and are taxing around the airport.

CAP pilots were not the only aviators taking advantage of the facility and nice weather. It was an all around busy day at the airport and those with a view of the flight line were treated to a variety of specialty aircraft unrelated to the training event.

“We had helicopters, the only civilian on owned Harrier, sport planes, ultralights, gliders; we had the whole gamut of aviation here in addition to having a great SAREX," said former Md. Wing Commander and current St. Mary’s Squadron member, Col. Larry Trick.

Members of the St. Mary’s Composite Squadron are credited with arranging for CAP to use the facility, coordinating meals and cleanup following the event.

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April 1, 2009

Group III Participates in Wing Training

Civil Air Patrol members from across Maryland Wing, including members from Group 3, spent a recent weekend training and testing equipment in preparation for the U.S. Air Force evaluated Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) later this spring.

Pilots and aircrews practiced searching for Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) a simulated medical transport mission. On the ground, members tested wing communications equipment. The team successfully conducted long-haul VHF communications using a directional antenna to transmit from St. Mary’s to the Patapsco repeater. This allowed the signal to be carried across the state to the Hagerstown staging area allowing for situational awareness of aircraft across the wing.

In addition, the mission base communications team at St. Mary’s practiced responding to a power outage. To simulate this, the team substituted a van powered radio to communicate with Group III aircraft and to a staging area on the Eastern Shore.

Out in the field, ground teams spent the day practicing their skills, including tracking down ELTs, at various locations across the state. Ten members also participated in flight line training including eight flight line trainees and two flight line supervisor trainees at St. Mary’s Airport.

While training operations were under way, staff members met to a conduct a table-top exercise for future SAREXs at the St. Mary's Airport, including an event planned for April 18th and the Air Force evaluated SAREX scheduled for May 30th. The team outlined several major objectives for the next event while also refining the responsibilities of the planning section, air operations branch and other positions within the Incident Command System.

June 15, 2008

Preparing for CAP Encampment

With encampment fast approaching, here are tips from cadets who have already completed the week-long training.

Before you get there:

  • Learn how to do laundry. (You will be required to wash clothes while there.)

  • Learn how to sew simple stitches in case you need to repair your uniform.

  • Learn housekeeping skills such as mopping and cleaning.

  • Break-in your footwear by wearing your boots and dress shoes for a few weeks in advance.
  • Boys: Get a haircut before you arrive; Girls: Make sure your hair meet military standards or be sure you know how to tie your hair in a bun.

  • Consider purchasing garters for your dress-blue shirt to make your uniform look sharp.

  • Don't try to hide banned materials in your suit case such as food and electronic devices.

  • Become familiar with the Chain of Command and the Basic Cadet Operating Instructions (OI). Much of this information is available ahead of time by looking online.

    The Group III cadet staff recently shared some of their experiences so that incoming encampment cadets can avoid common pitfalls. C/Sgt. Kyle Higgins says: bring an iron and starch. "I regret not bringing an iron. I pretty much failed inspection because of it," he said. "Don't be afraid to over pack," said C/CMSgt. Jason LaPre. He says it never hurts to have extra socks, t-shirts and underwear on hand.

    C/Capt. Erich Welch says it is important to practice getting up early for a few weeks prior to encampment especially once you get out of school. He suggests doing PT as soon as you get out of bed - before you eat breakfast - since this is what you will experience at encampment. Welch says many cadets have trouble getting accustomed to exercising before eating. To combat these effects at encampment, he suggests eating as much as you can at dinner. Welch also says you should get as much sleep as you can, prior to attending encampment.

Once you arrive at the Tri-Wing Encampment:

  • Try not to be intimated by your training instructors

  • Try to form a team with the members of your flight as soon as possible.
  • Do this by:
    - Looking out for the well being of others in your flight
    - Don't be afraid to give others advice to help them succeed so that you can
    create a successful team.

    The Tri-Wing Encampment begins June 22 at the Camp Fretterd Military Reservation in Reisterstown, Md. Graduation is June 29th.

May 20, 2008

CAP Has Big Showing at Andrews Air Show

Civil Air Patrol members from the Maryland and National Capital Wings joined together with the Congressional Squadron to promote CAP at the annual Joint Service Open House at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland this past weekend.

This year, CAP had a very good showing with a number of CAP planes on the tarmac along with the CAP National HQ recruiting trailer.
Cadets and senior members provided information and answered questions for inquiring visitors as they viewed the CAP planes on display.

And, once again this year, cadets provided support in the distinguished visitors area by stopping people from entering if they did not have the right level of access.

May 15, 2008

Training to Respond to a Hurricane

With hurricane season just weeks away, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) members from across Maryland spent this past weekend practicing their ability to respond to a potential hurricane along the Mid-Atlantic coast.

During the scenario held at St. Mary's Airport in California, Md., the teams responded to simulated flooding and property damage due to the simulated landfall of a hurricane on the eastern seaboard.

The experience allowed them to practice search and rescue training and disaster relief. Crews in CAP aircraft practiced locating Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs). These devices, present in aircraft and some boats, emit a signal when jolted or turned upside down – indicating some type of accident.
Following a real hurricane, planes and boats across the region would be tipped over and damaged meaning many emergency beacons would be activated.

During the training mission, air crews used equipment on board the aircraft to locate the signals and relay that information to search rescue teams on the ground. The crews in the air also practiced their ability to communicate in various locations across the region in order to document places where radio communication is not possible.

CAP ground search and rescue teams practiced coordinating with the air crews and using equipment on the ground to triangulate the position of the ELTs. They also conducted simulated disaster assessment in low lying areas.

The event also provided an opportunity for Flight Line Marshaller training. Several cadets and senior members participated in the course conducted by Maryland Group III Commander, Lt. Col. Wes LaPre with help from Maj. Egon Frech.

In addition, CAP used the training mission to conduct pre-disaster surveys of flood vulnerable areas in the Chesapeake Bay region. That information will be shared with local and state Emergency Operations Centers and the Red Cross so they too can prepare for a real disaster.

May 13, 2008

Maryland Wing trains in the mountains of West Virginia

Coordinating with aircraft from the ground during a search and rescue operation can be difficult but highly effective. That is what a ground team learned during the recent joint Maryland/West Virginia Wing Search and Rescue Exercice (SAREX) in Petersburg, WVa.

Three senior members and eight cadets from the Arundel, Annapolis, Bowie and College Park squadrons made up the team, dubbed "Terp Six" by the West Virginia Wing. The team was tasked to find a missing aircraft atop a mountain in the Dolly Sods Wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest.

Unable to contact the aircrew directly, the team relied on the Incident Command Post (ICP) to relay messages about the whereabouts of the aircraft and to coordinate a meeting location. The ICP instructed the team to travel up the mountain in an effort to rendezvous with a Maryland National Guard helicopter. The first trip up the mountain did not prove successful. Neither the aircrew nor the team in the van could see each other. The team was then instructed to head up the other side of the mountain. After a long and bumpy ride, Terp Six arrived.

As they waited for the chopper, they gazed at a beautiful skyline separating the cloudy sky from a nearly flat landscape full of gray boulders, grass and bushes. But not everything was going as planned. A storm was moving in and the helicopter was running low on fuel after trying to meet up with the team. The chopper was forced to return to base to refuel before returning to the meeting location.

Just as the ground team was becoming restless, a UH-58 Army National Guard helicopter appeared over the horizon. Army National Guard pilot, 1st Lt. Nick Kiaunis, and observer, Col. Rod Moore, the West Virginia Wing Commander, advised the team below that the chopper would begin circling the simulated crash scene.

The eager ground team members, lead by 1st Lt. Willy Santos, jumped into action, quickly grabbing their gear and setting off into the tough terrain to find the wreckage. The foliage was waist high in some spots forcing the team to alternate between looking to the sky and glancing at the ground to avoid falling over rocks and small trees.

"The helicopter was in the air; it circled the target a few times to let us know where it was at. Once we had it in sight, we let the Guard helicopter know," said C/Capt. Mark Cole, a Ground Team Leader Trainee for the event. By following the helicopters movements, the team spotted the simulated wreckage in about 10 minutes. The ground team evaluated the scene. C/Capt. Cole called the findings into ICP. He explained that Terp Six had located a red and white simulated aircraft and that the plane's passengers were not present at the scene.

The team was instructed to collect the pieces of the simulated wreckage and return to base. The training mission was a success according to Capt. Cole. "Once we actually got rolling, things went very smoothly…communication-wise, working with the National Guard helicopter, with mission base. It all worked out fine," he said.