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Civil Air Patrol trains for search-and-rescue
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Civil Air Patrol members from Dahlonega Squadron 447, from left Kevin Tanner, senior member, Lt. Col. Richard Ivy and 1st Lt. Chip Pearson, public information officer, discuss the results of a search and rescue exercise at the Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville. The exercise simulated a missing persons search in the Dawson Forest. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Civil Air Patrol members kept their eyes on the sky as planes came in from two situation exercises Saturday morning at Gainesville Municipal Airport.

The two events, both called SAREX for search-and-rescue exercise, included a simulation of a missing person in the Dawson Forest in Dawson County, and the taking of aerial photography of a designated disaster area for Dawson County EMA.

The Lawrenceville and Dahlonega CAP groups used their planes in the exercises, and trained CAP volunteers and cadets played their roles in each mission as they flew over the search-and-rescue exercise areas as if it were the real thing.

CAP conducts 95 percent of all civilian and military search-and-rescue missions in the country. Simulations like the ones conducted Saturday help members, who are all volunteers, be prepared when duty calls.

“These exercises keep the flight and ground crews trained, help the coordination of all EMS and CAP personnel and resources and assure that when a situation arises where GEMA requests CAP to assist, that the operations are successful for the citizens of the community,” said 1st Lt. Chip Pearson, Public Information Officer for the Civil Air Patrol.

The exercises allow for flight and ground crews to continually hone the skills they need for such situations and train all new and current CAP members in these tasks “so that when a real emergency happens, all resources execute effectively and timely.”

The Civil Air Patrol also offers aerospace education for cadets and adults to boost their love for flying, as well as cadet programs for youth ages 12 to 20 to become leaders in the world of aerospace.

While exercises are conducted several times a year across the state, the volunteers that make up CAP use their own money to help keep the patrol alive and available to continue the missions the organization has set out to do.

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