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Civil Air Patrol Members Hone Emergency Services Skills At Academy

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 103 saves.

"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 air."

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.

FMI: www.cap.gov

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