This past Saturday (July 21, 2018) squadron members Maj Larry Mahana and C/1st Lt Jacob Kottraba participated in the AZWG Ground Team July OPEX (Operational Exercise) with the Navajo County Sheriff’s Department Search & Rescue. The exercise took place in the forest outside Heber-Overgaard.
ZWG participation included the Ground Team Search & Rescue, K9 Unit, and the new Drone Unit.
The exercise simulated a downed aircraft with two flight crew members who were seen to have parachuted. The location and condition of the crew and the location of the plane were unknown.
Both Maj Mahana and Cadet Kottraba participated on Ground Team 2. Leaving the Incident Command area they successfully found a parachute and tracked footsteps to an injured survivor. At that point they used SOAP notes to assess the condition of the patient and teated a broken bone and symptoms of dehydration.
When other rescuers arrived on scene with a Stokes basket Cadet Kottraba assisted in securing the patient and then, upon returning to Incident Command, presented the patient history to the EMS team and handed off the patient to Maj Mahana.
AZWG conducts an OPEX every month to ensure the readiness of its air crews and ground teams. Squadron 304 air crew members were not able to participate in the July Air OPEX due to weather.
This preparation was put into use the very next day when the AFRCC issued a SAR mission for an aircraft ELT in central Arizona. Two ground teams and two aircraft responded. Cadet Kottraba was a part of Ground Team 1 for the mission.
The mission was successfully concluded when an air crew found the ELT at an airport and declared it was not an emergency.
CAP members across the country are on call and available at all times to respond to those in need using training available to any member who can qualify.