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Group 1 holds SAREX

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Demonstrates Successful use of Air/Ground Team coordination

5/5/2014––By Lt Col Bob Bauer

On Saturday 26 April Group 1 had it’s group wide SAREX with the main base being run at the Rutherford County Airport. A sub base was established at Asheville regional airport in order to launch the aircraft being used for the mission along with the squadron’s ground team.

The scenario for the mission was to search for two ELTs most likely from the downed aircraft. One ELT was reported in the area NE of Asheville in the high mountains and the other somewhere near Kings Mountain,NC.

An aircraft was dispatched shortly after opening the mission to assume a dual role as search and repeater high bird aircraft for communications. Soon after, ground teams were sent from both bases, ground team number one made up of members from Shelby and Gastonia Squadrons were sent from the main base to search the area in and around Kings Mountain.

The second team ground team number three made up of members from Asheville Squadron was dispatched from Asheville base to search in an area near the town of Banner Elk in Avery County.

The aircraft located a very weak ELT signal in Avery County but was unable to contact a ground team. A determination was made since the ELT was growing fainter and was believe undetectable by a ground to diverted air and ground resources to Kings Mountain. There the aircraft was successful in establishing a hit on the ELT there.

The aircrew began working with the ground team from the main base and helped them to find the ELT on the ground. The ground team from Asheville sub base was reassigned from their then location in Burnsville to divert to Kings Mountain in order to find the second ELT.

A second aircraft crew was sent out to the Kings Mountain area from Rutherfordton to locate and assist in locating the ELT there.

After the team from Asheville arrived the aircrew worked with them to locate the ELT on the ground.

According to the Mission Incident Commander Lt Col Joe Weinflash the mission was a success in both the training and safety.

The mission was closed after the teams and aircraft returned to base.

Totals for the mission: 18 members from Shelby, Gastonia and Asheville squadrons participated in two aircrews and two ground teams.