First Northern Virginia Civil Air Patrol Search and Rescue School Conducts Overnight Training

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Provided by Civil Air Patrol’s Virginia Win

Civil Air Patrol’s Virginia Wing hosted its inaugural NOVA Search and Rescue School, marking a significant enhancement in training capabilities for both cadets and senior members in Northern Virginia. The event, which included an intensive overnight camping experience, took place recently at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston. CAP members from Prince William County, Herndon, Leesburg, and Winchester attended the event.

The school provided participants with hands-on training in modern search and rescue techniques, emphasizing teamwork, leadership and critical thinking under pressure. Over the course of the training, attendees learned skills crucial for effective search and rescue operations, including map reading, compass use and emergency response strategies.

“The NOVA Search and Rescue School is designed to prepare our members to effectively and safely conduct search missions and provide emergency assistance,” said Group 3 Operations Officer Lt. Col. Mike Thompson, who served as incident commander during the weekend. “This training is vital, not just for our internal capabilities, but also for our role in supporting local, state and national emergency services when needed.”

Participants ranged in age from 12 to over 50, highlighting the inclusive nature of the Civil Air Patrol’s training programs which cater to both youth and adults. The overnight camping element added a layer of complexity and realism to the training, testing the participants’ ability to apply their newly learned skills in a controlled, yet unpredictable outdoor environment.

This inaugural session received positive feedback from participants, who appreciated the practical skills and the opportunity to engage closely with their fellow CAP members.

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“My favorite part of NOVASARS was the night hike because I had never done a hike after dark,” said Cadet 2nd Lt. Keira Bryan. “I signed up for NOVASARS because I thought it would be fun to camp out with my fellow cadets. I think it was worth it, because I had a lot of search and rescue tasks that I’d been wanting to do but I haven’t had the opportunity to do them before now.”

Civil Air Patrol plans to make the NOVA Search and Rescue School an annual event, continually adapting and expanding the curriculum to meet the evolving needs of the community and emergency response standards.

For more information about the Civil Air Patrol and its programs, please visit gocivilairpatrol.com.

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