Virginia Civil Air Patrol to conduct search and rescue training in Hot Springs at Ingalls Field Airport
CHESTERFIELD, Va. (Aug 26, 2021) – More than 50 members of the Civil Air Patrol’s Virginia Wing will gather in Hot Springs this weekend to conduct training in multiple specialties including urban direction finding, aerial photography, aircrew training, mountain flying, flight line operations, basic ground search and rescue, unmanned aerial system operations, mission base operations, and more.
This is the first large-scale in-person air and ground training the wing is hosting since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Personnel will be traveling to Ingalls Field Airport representing 13 squadrons from all areas of the Commonwealth including Leesburg, Virginia Beach, Roanoke, Danville, and Richmond. Seven of the wing’s Cessna aircraft will also be utilized for this training weekend.
While the wing has remained connected during the pandemic virtually using Microsoft Teams, in-person training is still required to maintain mastery of the skills that CAP volunteers provide. Lieutenant Colonel Josh Shields, the wing’s Director of Emergency Services, commented, “We chose to have this weekend at Ingalls Field due to the unique location of the airport and the area around it. The surrounding area can be easily used to simulate what we might encounter when searching for a missing person or aircraft and it provides an excellent remote operations base for our training. It is essential to train like we would operate in a real mission.”
Earlier this month, Virginia Wing was recognized by CAP’s National Headquarters with the 2021 Disaster Relief Mission Award. During 2020, Virginia Wing assisted multiple partner agencies with disaster relief support, including the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia National Guard, the United States Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Weather Service, the Virginia Department of Transportation, in addition to numerous municipal governments and local non-profit groups. In support of COVID-19, 1,056 miles were driven and 262 test kits, 765 samples, and additional support materials were transported on four different days. In support of Hurricane Isaias, seven air sorties (flights) were conducted to provide pre/post storm assessment of shoreline areas, major shipping lanes, buoys, Norfolk harbor, and of tornado damage. Over 500 photos were submitted to the partner agencies.