As the Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol has a large emergency services program spanning search and rescue, disaster relief, homeland security, and counterdrug operations. Both cadets and senior members participate in these real-life missions. Civil Air Patrol performs about 90% of all Air Force tasked search and rescue missions and is credited with saving around 80 lives per year. Our squadron has both an aircrew and a ground team to assist in these missions.
Our ground team is made up of both senior members working together to complete our missions. Our team is trained to search for both missing persons as well as downed aircraft. We are trained to work in cooperation with other search groups as part of a search line, as well as work to locate the emergency beacons of distressed aircraft. Our squadron holds regular training to teach new members the skills we use, as well as refresh and retrain our current team members. All of our team is trained in search tactics, wilderness survival, first aid, radio communication, and all other skills used during missions. We also conduct training missions where we simulate a real mission using training emergency beacons and practice locating them.
In addition to a ground team, our squadron also has an aircrew. Our aircrew assists with search and rescue missions by locating targets by air, as well as finding search areas for our ground team. In addition to search and rescue, the aircrew performs various other missions including aerial photography and transporting supplies. One ongoing mission of ours is assisting the US Coast guard by photographing and recording icing along the Thames and Connecticut Rivers.