Training To Respond Faster, More Ably To Crises
About 500 Civil Air Patrol members, including a great many
cadets, are enhancing their skills at the National Emergency
Services Academy, a multidisciplinary training program held July
26-August 9 at Camp Atterbury, a 35,000-acre Indiana National Guard
facility in Edinburgh, IN.
NESA was started in 1996 to offer intensive training to CAP
members. The program combines task-based training with practical
application and has become the standard for wings nationwide.
The academy consists of three courses -- National Ground Search
and Rescue School, Incident Command System School and Mission
Aircrew School. Each course is divided into one-week sessions
focusing on specific skillsets or tasks. A total of 12
courses, including two courses for prospective incident staff
members, are offered.
National Ground Search and Rescue School gives members the
skills they need to expertly perform ground searches. Incident
Command System School focuses on the skills needed to be top-notch
leaders and staff officers of mission resources at the incident
command post and other critical operating locations. The Mission
Aircrew School keys in on the critical skills needed for pilots and
crew members to stay at the top of their game.
CAP members put these skills to good use. CAP performs 90
percent of all inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the
Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, FL
-- missions that call into action CAP aircrews, ground teams and
incident command staff. In fiscal year 2007, CAP was credited with
"Major missions, such as this year’s flooding, tornadoes
and wildfires, require CAP members to be professionally trained,"
said Interim CAP National Commander Brig. Gen. Amy S. Courter.
"Volunteers on the ground are just as essential as those in the
The academy operates with a staff of about 100, mostly CAP
volunteers, complemented by an CAP-US Air Force reservists who
monitor the training to ensure it meets Air Force standards, and
instructors from several federal, state, and local agencies to
bring broad experience and realism to the program. Around 250
students complete each of the two one-week training courses. The
school boasts about 3,000 graduates.
The majority of cadets choose to participate in the National
Ground Search and Rescue School, with the youngest participants
being 13 years old. Students must be older to attend the other two
schools -- at least 18 to participate in Mission Aircrew School,
and 15 for Incident Command System School.