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NCWG Group 1 Conducts Weekend SAREX

NCWG Group I SAREX Attendees (click image to view full size)
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Farmhouse Serves as Mission Base

1/27/2014––On anuary 17-19), almost two dozen members of the Asheville Composite Squadron represented Group I in an intensive task training for search and rescue. The event, originally to be held in Boone, took place at DuPont State Forest, a change due to the weather. After assembling at the Asheville's Augur Center at 0630 for equipment inspection and safety briefing, a six-vehicle caravan transported members to the Guion Farm facility at DuPont.

Once there, Lt Col Butch Phillips set-up mission base inside the farm house while Lt Col Richard Augur divided the participants into three groups. Each team rotated through the activities, taking turns finding a hidden emergency location transmitter, using land navigation to find geocached items, and issuing vector instructions to search aircraft. Asheville Squadron's aircrews launched both morning and afternoon sorties to mark locations as directed by the ground teams.

Participants awoke Sunday to a very welcome meal of three-meat omelets before starting operations. The exercise involved a six-mile, round trip march to find a simulated lost hiker. The destination represented his last known location, and could be reached only after using off-trail navigation over severe topography and through thick stands of mountain laurel and rhododendron. With SM Mason Burchette as the group's able leader, they used their map and compass skills to find the search target.

The destination turned out to be on a three-acre slab of gently sloping granite on the side of the mountain. It was a great place for Lt Col Augur to give further instruction. In addition, Colonel Augur is going to plan a future SAREX on this route.

Of course, nothing’s over until the paperwork is done. Lt Col Phillips gave C/1Lt Angela Waltman and SM Burchette additional training in filling out such forms as the point-to-point log, the Operational Resource Management, and the ground team clearance form, the latter of which describes all aspects of the mission.