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Waxhaw Emergency Services Training Weekend Deemed a Success

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More than 20 members of the North Carolina Wing pose with aircrew members from Med Center Air and the training staff during the Waxhaws Emergency Service Training weekend program presented by the Composite Squadron of the Waxhaws. Photo Credit: 1st Lt H.J. Bentley III, CAP (click image to view full size)
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Three-phase WEST training program held in Waxhaw

1/24/2018––Warmer temperatures and Carolina blue skies welcomed more than 20 Civil Air Patrol (CAP) members from five squadrons who reported to the Museum of the Waxhaws as part of the graduation exercise for the Waxhaws Emergency Services Training weekend or WEST.

The three-phase training program based on the Alabama Wing Emergency Services School (WESS) was originally started by Lt Col and CAP Director of Operations John Desmarais and Lt Col Michael Long in 1997. Since then, WESS has grown to become one of the longest running CAP ground team task training programs. Members from the six wings of the Southeast Region have participated in the WESS program, as well as numerous other wings from around the nation.
Phase one of WEST began on 22 September 2017 and included First Aid, ICUT, land survival and intro to shelter building. Phase two began on 17 November 2017 and included land navigation, pace count, hasty search techniques, line search techniques, a land navigation practical exercise as well as a mass casualty exercise.
Phase three of WEST took place on 18 January 2018 and consisted of a direction-finding exercise using both air and ground assets culminating in a practical exam combining all three phases for graduation.
“We’ve taken the experience and training from three years of WESS and used it to make a successful training exercise,” said Capt Adrian Carnes, Activity Director for WEST and the Emergency Services Officer for NC-300, the Composite Squadron of the Waxhaws. “This training provided the North Carolina Wing with six new Ground Team 3 members and five additional CAP members certified in Wilderness Advanced First Aid,” added Capt Carnes.
The participants in phase three got a special visit and tour from a Med Center Air aerovac helicopter. New to this phase also was an aircraft and an aircrew from the South Piedmont Senior Squadron to help guide ground teams toward the simulated downed aircraft.
Mr. Ben Watkins, the North Carolina Department of Emergency Management Civil Air Patrol Manager, observed the training exercise and said, “Observing this training gave me the opportunity to see first-hand how Civil Air Patrol assets work together in the field and what it takes to make this type of training possible.”
Lt Jeff Roseberry of the Iredell Composite Squadron was part of the ten-member cadre of instructors and said of this training, “I believe this was a positive training experience, especially the integration of aircrew assets in guiding ground teams to the target.”