Civil Air Patrol

Squadron hosts Field Training Excercise

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Cadet Rogers building his improvised shelter to stay in overnight.

Welcome to the Shawnee National Forest located in Southern Illinois.  Home of 200 foot cliffs, rugged terrain, hundreds of thousands of acres of thick woods, and some of the most beautiful sights in the nation.  However, throughout the year, hundreds of people get lost or go missing in the forest. The Shawnee Composite Squadron frequently trains in the Shawnee Forest to be prepared for when their skilled emergency services teams are needed.  On November 5th and 6th, the squadron held their annual field training exercise in the Packentuck area of the forest.

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Ground team on a missing person search.

During the two days of training, members from the Shawnee Composite Squadron and Scott Composite Squadron participated.  Ground team trainees stayed overnight despite the cold temperatures. Some even stayed in improvised shelters as part of survival training. Training also included missing person searches, downed aircraft/ELT searches, day and night navigation, ground to air signals, as well as much more. Shawnee Composite Squadron aircrews also participated and gained valuable training in downed aircraft and missing person searches in the forest.

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The ground team performing a search for a simulated crashed aircraft.

“The Shawnee Composite Squadron’s emergency services crews are called out quite frequently,” said Major Wesley Flannell, the Emergency Services Officer for the squadron. “It is imperative that they have the skills necessary to not only accomplish the mission, but to also navigate the terrain and the wilderness of the Shawnee National Forest since this is the area most of our missions take place.”  Major Flannell added, “Somewhere like a forest preserve cannot and will not properly train someone for a place like the Shawnee.”

Last August, the squadron’s ground teams and aircrews were activated to search for a missing aircraft.  The wreckage of that plane was located near Burden Falls, only two miles from where this training took place.

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