West Virginia Wing of Civil Air Patrol conducts exercises

ELKINS — The West Virginia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol conducted “Operation Frostbite”, a cold weather search and rescue exercise (SAREX) from Feb. 15-17. A total of 55 senior and cadet members of the wing operated from the Elkins-Randolph County Regional Airport in Elkins.

The first day operational period included three flown aircraft, and four ground teams fielded by the wing’s response to lost hiker and downed aircraft scenarios in central West Virginia. The teams successfully conducted air and ground searches and located numerous targets including a lost hiker, a practice emergency locater transmitter (ELT) and a simulated aircraft crash site. Aircrews were tasked with electronic air search to assist in location as ground teams worked through steep, rugged terrain.

The second day operational period included two ground teams and a continuation of the missing aircraft search with successful aircraft occupant search and recovery.

The training was designed to prepare for sustained search and rescue operations in extreme cold weather conditions, and to maintain the operational readiness of the wing.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 57,000 members nationwide. CAP performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 90 lives in fiscal year 2008. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counterdrug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.

The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 22,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 67 years.

For more information, go online and visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com.