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Geber
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« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2018, 12:30:12 PM »


I wonder what would happen if NHQ added a policy that the cell phone forensics team could only provide their analysis to a CAP IC, meaning when you requested the cell phone team, you also got the air and ground assets we have who would act on the data. Would agencies stop calling or would they begrudgingly accept the whole package? It's also worth asking if our ground teams and air crews could handle an 88% increase in missions.

From my experience, needing better information from a cell phone isn't always about a person lost in the woods, the sort of non-aviation scenario a CAP ground team could conceivably respond to quickly enough to be useful. Some scenarios I've seen as an EMT where cell phone data might have helped:

  • Alzheimer's patient wanders off, has cell phone in pocket
  • Family rents lake cottage for a week, private roads are a tangled mess with little or nothing in the way of street name signs or street number posting, family has a medical emergency and can't explain to dispatcher where they are.
  • Dispatcher gets conflicting descriptions from various callers about location of a fire.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 05:39:12 PM by Geber » Logged
Spam
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« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2018, 03:26:55 PM »

Hard to maintain a commitment to training when you know the missions are happening in your area but the call will never come because of politics way outside your control.

Politics is probably the lease important factor.

I believe that except for a very few states in the western US that have extremely high numbers of local independent or county-sponsored SAR teams and maybe a few states that really do exclude CAP for some reason, the reason that CAP doesn't get called for most SAR missions is that almost all of them are ground SAR missions and we are just not seen as being a resource for those missions and so we don't get called.

Why aren't we seen as a resource?  Because we don't go out and pound the streets to let the county sheriffs, local emergency managers, and city police departments know what we can do and what we have available.  This is the primary job of squadron ES officers.  I'd argue, that in line with this thread, letting them know of the cell phone forensics team's capabilities would be item number 1 in any discussions with these folks.  Unfortunately, this sort of outreach is rarely encouraged. 

The second reason we don't get called is that in most cases the only resource of significant benefit that we can offer to local officials on relatively short notice is a search plane.  The sad fact is that most squadrons just don't have a capable ground team at all, much less enough qualified members to have a chance of guaranteeing that X number of people are going to be available at just about any time.  Now, we can certainly bring together (in most places) several dozen ground team members in most states by pooling folks from around the Wing, but that is probably going to take 24 hours or more to mobilize and most cases are resolved by then. 

Why don't we have a real GSAR capability in most squadrons?  Because the organization does not make it a priority to recruit and train adults for this activity.  We depend on cadets for ground work and I just don't think most sherrifs are impressed if you can offer a ground team with a retired guy and 5 kids from your local unit.  You're going to need 15-20 trained adults to have a good shot at guaranteeing a response from a squadron and that is probably rarer than unicorns among CAP units.  I personally think it is possible that a determined unit could develop this capability and develop the relationships that are needed to ensure that you'd get a call when appropriate.


Good points. In addition, our core competencies for GSAR (which include electronic SAR and A/G coordination, which many conventional SAR units lack) don't include missing person SAR. We don't train to recognized standards for missing person SAR. When the typical CAP idea of a proper missing person response is to go direct to LKP and blanket the woods with half trained CAP members, obscuring sign and scent, we actually are a detriment to the work. Not that CAP doesn't have trained, proficient, and practiced clue conscious searchers and niche assets (dog teams, etc.) but they're the rare exception. 

These are top level roles and missions discussions. If we wanted to shift to be a bigger player in missing person SAR, we'd do a mission/task CONOPS analysis, a training and equipment gap analysis, and we'd update the doctrine and training package (but we aren't, to my knowledge, doing so) and we'd start basing our equipment buys on that doctrinal shift. The results we'd see would be based on history, not hype, on empirical analysis not subjective wishes, and we'd have a more justifiable plan to spend our fellow citizens tax dollars. For example: how many low cost FLIR systems could we have bought for the fleet to support missing person SAR for a validated customer requirement for support from us, versus some of our other purchases that might have questionable mission utility.

A good analysis would look systematically by AOR, pointing out no gap in AO's like eTodd mentions... but some counties and states can't afford one aircraft, let alone two helos and a 182.

In any case, this is academic. I would speculate that the cell forensics team probably has by far, the greatest cost return on investment in all of CAP's ops community, which is ironic as we try to justify our force structure, isn't it?

Cheers
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Spam
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« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2018, 03:37:14 PM »

That means no big disasters happened in your area, nobody crashed their airplane or sank their boat and spent time suffering waiting to be rescued, no lost/sick people had to be found etc.

Except where those things are happening and agencies other than CAP are requested to respond. Look at the stats sardak provided, only looking at the search and rescue missions reported to the AFRCC because a CAP resource was requested (which I suspect is a very small percentage of the searches run nationwide), 88% of the searches we know about didn't involve our aircraft or ground teams. Somebody went out there and found the folks and it wasn't us. Hard to maintain a commitment to training when you know the missions are happening in your area but the call will never come because of politics way outside your control.

I wonder what would happen if NHQ added a policy that the cell phone forensics team could only provide their analysis to a CAP IC, meaning when you requested the cell phone team, you also got the air and ground assets we have who would act on the data. Would agencies stop calling or would they begrudgingly accept the whole package? It's also worth asking if our ground teams and air crews could handle an 88% increase in missions.


So, I have to ask who is the customer in this hypothetical scenario? The actual victim, or preserving CAP relevance?

Preserving one aspect or other of our hobby of volunteer SAR is not as important as the victim. Let's keep a right focus on SAR/DR as the emergency that it is, and not put up barriers between getting vital information to the best assets to respond in the least amount of time.

If CAP isn't relevant in your area for one mission element or another, then "flower where you're planted" (define your local operations and training around where YOU can fit in your CUSTOMER's needs, not the other way around). Don't link some mandate to support your hobby to the best emergency response to save a life.


R/s
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etodd
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« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2018, 05:13:17 PM »


If CAP isn't relevant in your area for one mission element or another, then "flower where you're planted" (define your local operations and training around where YOU can fit in your CUSTOMER's needs, not the other way around).

^^^ This for sure.

As I said, we probably fly more AP missions than the rarer SAR mission.

We are now flying almost monthly for some Army training missions.

Some folks elsewhere say CAP Cadets are not getting all their O'Rides. Thats a great mission. I love giving O'Rides. If you have an under utilized plane, reach out to nearby squadrons and see if they need help with O'Rides.

The Syracuse mission.

Just a small sample of how squadrons can get more involved with 'real' missions.  'Real Mission' does not always equate to SAR.

« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 07:03:04 PM by etodd » Logged
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Fubar
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« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2018, 06:31:11 PM »

So, I have to ask who is the customer in this hypothetical scenario? The actual victim, or preserving CAP relevance?

A good and fair point to make. It could increase the support a victim if it means more resources are allocated towards locating them if we started utilizing our own ground teams. That said, it sounds like not every wing has competent GSAR capabilities, making a blanket policy across the country unwise.
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RiverAux
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« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2018, 07:47:40 AM »

Quote
We don't train to recognized standards for missing person SAR.
An argument I've made before is that even despite my criticism above, CAP has had the largest GSAR program in the country and our standard are just as justifiable as being the "national standard" as NASARs.  In any case, CAP GT requirements only differ slightly from NASARs and mostly in regards to types of operations CAP has prohibited us from doing anyway.  That being said, they do need updating and if CAP actually cared about GSAR, they might actually do that someday. 
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« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2018, 11:07:00 AM »

Hi RiverAux.

Largest single GSAR program in terms of numbers, I would speculate that's true. However, size of the program does not equate to ensuring that the training fits all taskings (the Chinese army human wave tactic is generally contraindicated for clue conscious searching, right).

I was not speaking of NASAR, actually, but while I would agree that the bulk of team management and safety training items are comparable, I would assert that CAP GSAR training is seriously deficient for the missing person mission subset against, for example, the ASTM standards for SAR.  See ASTM F2209, Section 7.4, Search Specific Knowledge and Skills, which outlines clue conscious searching, etc. We don't train to ASTM F1846, standard SAR map markings (when our GTLs and GBDs actually have paper maps!) and we don't require our GBDs and ICs to even be exposed to basic missing person search planning and management tasks such as area confinement and segmentation, doing a Mattson consensus and updating same regularly based on evidence based (debriefing) PoD/PoA based calculations... the list goes on and on.

As Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" once famously said, "A man's got to know his limitations", and we shouldn't fool ourselves into pretending that we're technical SAR, that we are equipped to do other than the most basic tasks, by and large, for missing person SAR mission area. Ideally we would be employed under the direction of state local and other SAR organizations that regularly train to, equip to, and understand that mission and know how to use our people properly. Similar sorts of questions for DR ops.

So, back to the original thread: CAP has, with the forensics team, fielded a successful "niche" capability that is widely useful and is sought by customers. On the air side, we're fielding an (apparently in demand) AP capability and we are (hopefully) retaining our SAR community niche capability to do electronic SAR and air to ground coordination. Yet, I hear both our GSAR and air side folks increasingly wondering what happened to our mission ops tempo. Some of us predicted this slow down over a decade ago as a result of the confluence between improving air safety, improved ELT false alarms (with the introduction of the TSO C91A standard), etc. If we want CAP to stay relevant (and remain/regain status as a good investment of taxpayer dollars) I feel that we need to be honest about our roles and missions nationally and locally in or local AOs. 

The forensics team has found a reason to exist... we should all do the same. Adapt, or die (fold up the subsidies and go home). But, if we're going to adapt to new missions, we should do it eyes open, after engaging with national/state/local customers to derive needs, and we should do it by the numbers.

R/s
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« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2018, 11:17:08 AM »



Need to correct myself: I would indeed resource type us as technical SAR in one area, that being visual and electronic air search with air/ground team coordination. Within that domain, I think we're at the top of the leader board, and that's a core competency that the country should not lose. We need to not lose sight of that while seeking relevancy in other areas. We need to practice that, over and over, as we have team leaders and aircraft commanders and ICs these days who have never "heard a shot fired in anger" (by which I mean, haven't served on an actual multi day long missing aircraft search). We must stay proficient in this role for the unexpected day when someone's evening goes very, very wrong.

V/r
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etodd
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« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2018, 09:14:48 PM »

All excellent points Spam.  And if you merge it with your earlier comment "flower where you're planted", it makes me wonder just how much autonomy Wings should have to concentrate their training on what their state needs?  Maybe its already so, but I ask since I don't know these things.

I don't know which States (Wings) have the largest numbers of missing persons statistically.  Seems that those might be the ones that really want to dive deep into GSAR and then sell it to local agencies.  Where other States (Wings) may be in more flood, tornado or Hurricane prone areas and their need may be for as many Airborne Photographers as they can train.

Point being of course whether all this is a Hdqs deal or Wing?
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sardak
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« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2018, 02:29:13 AM »

Quote
Point being of course whether all this is a Hdqs deal or Wing?
AFRCC has an MOU with almost every state (Alaska works under Alaska RCC and Hawaii works under Pacific RCC). An AFRCC commander once said "50 states, 50 ways of doing SAR."

Quote
We don't train to recognized standards for missing person SAR.
An argument I've made before is that even despite my criticism above, CAP has had the largest GSAR program in the country and our standard are just as justifiable as being the "national standard" as NASARs.  In any case, CAP GT requirements only differ slightly from NASARs and mostly in regards to types of operations CAP has prohibited us from doing anyway.  That being said, they do need updating and if CAP actually cared about GSAR, they might actually do that someday.
River,
Yes, you’ve made this statement a number of times. Until you a show us a cross-walk (a task by task comparison) of CAP GSAR program requirements to NASAR SAR Tech, all you’re expressing is your opinion. And as I’ve pointed out a number of times, and having been the NASAR SAR Standards Manager, while some NASAR documents, still, refer to SAR Tech as a standard, NASAR in reality sees it as a certification, not a standard. A real test would be to have CAP members whose only knowledge, training and experience in ground SAR came from CAP, take the SAR Tech tests.

NASAR sees the standards as the ASTM SAR standards. NASAR requested ASTM create a SAR standards committee in 1987 and the F-32 Committee on SAR  was formed in 1988. I was at the first meeting and have been a member of ASTM ever since, having served as chair of F-32 for six years, and the chair of the F32.02 subcommittee on Operations and Management for what seemed like an eternity. F2209, which Spam references, became a standard while I was the POC for it (the two prior POCs died while working on it, seriously).

For those unfamiliar with ASTM, it provides administrative support for standards development. Members of the committees who actually write the standards come from the fields/industries desiring the standards. Non-voting participation on ASTM task groups and committees does not require ASTM membership, and most ASTM standards work is done electronically. The list of F-32 standards is here: https://www.astm.org/COMMIT/SUBCOMMIT/F32.htm

Performing  a cross-walk of the CAP GSAR program to the ASTM standards, which at this point involves more than just F2209, is what really needs to be accomplished. I was a member of the ES Curriculum Project which developed the current ES system. I proposed the ASTM standards at that time but CAP was not interested. SAR Tech was also considered, but NASAR and CAP couldn’t come to terms on cost and licensing. It did generate an MOU between the groups, which has been renewed at least once and is due for renewal again this year. The current president of NASAR is a CAP member and former wing commander.

Reinforcing what Spam said, our search management personnel, from GTLs to IC-1, aren’t required to take a single class or course in search theory or  management. Not even the 2-day Basic Inland SAR Course  given by AFRCC.

As for resource typing, I pointed out back in May that FEMA was updating its SAR typing documents and seeking public comment.  http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=22106.msg402844#msg402844. The updated typing was released in November.  Wilderness SAR was not revised, but this note added: “Under revision. The current version may not be applicable to some agencies and organizations.” Land SAR and Mountain SAR were updated. I suspect that since these more or less cover Wilderness SAR, that wilderness typing will be dropped. Radio Direction Finding Team and all the Airborne resources were left alone. These can be found by searching or browsing at  https://rtlt.preptoolkit.fema.gov/Public

Mike
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etodd
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« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2018, 01:20:10 PM »

So are most squadrons trying too much to 'do it all'?  Should a Wing be broken down into Specialty Squadrons?  These 3 are airborne search, these 3 are GSAR, these 4 are AP, etc. etc.?  That way a Squadron could put its time and resources into being the best they can be in a particular area, instead of spreading themselves thin where everyone knows a little bit about everything, but is an expert on very little?
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Geber
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« Reply #31 on: January 28, 2018, 02:31:18 PM »

It disturbs me that SAR is so fragmented. CAP for air search or EPIRB search/direction finding (but not any other kind of radio direction finding). No really well-trained resource for direction finding on other frequencies, but a few amateur radio operators are good at it, especially if they don't have to get out of their cars. Ground-scent dogs. Air-scent dogs. Mountain SAR. National Ski Patrol. High-angle rescue. Swift-water rescue.

It occurs to me that in any given search, one or two of these teams should take the lead role, but the others could be used in lower-skill roles, such as observing the perimeter to make sure the subject of the search doesn't self-rescue and not tell anyone. But at present it seems that the lower-skill role goes to whoever shows up, such as the local volunteer fire departments, hunters, etc. Shouldn't there be a system to assign SAR teams that are not the best fit for the particular search to the lower skill roles, so at least they have a bit of training, and can build there skills for when they need to be the lead team.
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« Reply #32 on: January 28, 2018, 02:50:56 PM »

Geber, to your first point, you did get that the original main thrust of this thread was about the resounding success of CAP's cell forensics team, right? Within the EW/EA/Cyber domain, specific emitter ID (SEID) and geolocation based on a variety of techniques does fall into "radio direction finding".

To your second point, there really are two answers, I think. First, operations and second training. Operationally, the lead agency role under ICS varies by jurisdiction (and whether they in turn are proficient in both SAR and in using ICS... some rural agencies are neither). Thus, for example, I once assumed the IC role (back when I was current as a CAP IC) on a missing person search in a national forest because the US Park Rangers present had a quick open kimono, sniff-the-wagging-tail meeting at midnight and we agreed that I was best qualified. The plan was that a better trained Ranger was en route, and I transferred operational control to him at 0400 local with a full and smooth in brief (mission was a SAVE, by the way). When you follow ICS and common training standards, it works.

Which leads back to the second point... to employ resources correctly and smoothly in this manner, you need the right mix of classroom and field training. CAPs current force structure is not oriented to support having our team leader (strike teams) and above learn those managing the search function skill sets, which are not all OJT (on the job) training as you mention in your last sentence. Probabilistic search planning and management is a science, not something you pick up on the fly. To do it right, and to have us fit within the larger construct, we'll need a doctrinal change, followed by a training standards change.

Or, we should stick to that core skill set only, for which we need only a few GSAR assets these days, despite the interest. (Mission need mismatch + training to a rare mission + too many assets for actual need = Maytag dishwasher repairman boredom and frustration, leading to people quitting).


I would like to see a CAP team (ops? historian?) do a bit of ops analysis over the next year or so, though, looking at the stats and trends before CAP jumps into change. Having the metrics of what the SAR/DR scene is trending towards, coupled with an assessment of where our volunteer base is (qualified and active assets vs demographics, etc.) would be valuable before we start throwing time and treasure about changing anything.

V/r
Spam

edit: park rangers, not forest rangers
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RiverAux
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« Reply #33 on: January 28, 2018, 03:03:36 PM »

Quote
Yes, you’ve made this statement a number of times. Until you a show us a cross-walk (a task by task comparison) of CAP GSAR program requirements to NASAR SAR Tech, all you’re expressing is your opinion.
That was done here many years ago and the main difference involved rope work of various kinds. 

As to comparisons with other standards, that has not been done to my knowledge and it really isn't worth the effort. 

My argument has always been that CAPS GSAR standards cover everything we are allowed to do by CAP and are basically good enough.  Not meeting some standard that the local sheriff never heard of isn't what is holding us back from participation in GSAR in most of the country.  It is lack of will on the part of CAP to recruit and train the personnel to do it and then do the on-the-ground coordination work to make the right people know that we are available. 

Now, CAP may want to make the decision that we don't really want to have a really active GSAR program, and thats fine.  Its a shame, but thats not my call.  But, what it does is leave us in a position where we become less and less relevant to the wider ES community and in a spot where we will end up with so few of our own ground team personnel that we can't really support our own missions. 

Perhaps the cell phone team could be leading us down a new route where each wing or group may end up having a specialist that can do this? 
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 03:10:41 PM by RiverAux » Logged
etodd
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« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2018, 05:26:30 PM »


Perhaps the cell phone team could be leading us down a new route where each wing or group may end up having a specialist that can do this?

The beauty of the cell phone team is that could be in Europe or Asia or Africa, anywhere, and still get the job done as long as they have internet access.   Imagine every Wing having a team and AFRCC having to determine which team might be near the cell phone tower pings.  No, its best for the cell phone team to be outside of Wings. Autonomous.

I'm wondering why AFRCC hasn't started their own and just do it in-house? Save some time.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 05:46:45 PM by etodd » Logged
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SarDragon
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« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2018, 07:05:27 PM »

So are most squadrons trying too much to 'do it all'?  Should a Wing be broken down into Specialty Squadrons?  These 3 are airborne search, these 3 are GSAR, these 4 are AP, etc. etc.?  That way a Squadron could put its time and resources into being the best they can be in a particular area, instead of spreading themselves thin where everyone knows a little bit about everything, but is an expert on very little?

Many moons ago, there used to be specialized squadrons - Comm, Med, SAR, etc. That concept was killed for for two basic reasons:1. They were frequently GOB clubs, where entrance for new folks was difficult to impossible. 2. They lived on the efforts of one or two members, and when they left, the squadron folded due to lack of leadership. (See #1.)

They are now prohibited by CAPR 20-3.
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Dave Bowles
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sardak
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« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2018, 02:48:31 AM »

Starting in 2013, with NHQ permission, I collected mission data from WMIRS. The original intent (there was some mission creep) was to compare 121.5 MHz and 406 MHz DF missions including missing person and missing aircraft missions. Radar and cell phone team only missions were excluded.

All associated documents and entries - 104, 109, 122, ICS forms, logs, and whatever else was in WMIRS were looked at. Documentation ranged from nothing to everything. The review was in two parts, first for FY and CY 13 (15 months). This entire period was in the old WMIRS 1. The data collection resumed in 2014, but due to the change from WMIRS 1 to 2, some WMIRS 1 data were already archived and it wasn't worth the effort to retrieve the archives. So the second collection period was from July 2014 to December 2017. A report for this second period is in work. It will be discussed next month at the State Search and Rescue Coordinator Council (SSARCC) Meeting in Washington, DC. http://www.ssarcc.com

Attached are three files: Two files presented at the 2015 SSARCC meeting, one is a presentation and the other is the detailed breakdown of where beacons were found (crash, hangar, ramp, landfill, boat, etc.), and a summary of the 2014-17 (through August 2017) data showing mission types by wing.

Here’s a summary of the missions:


Since there has been much discussion about ground teams, they were utilized on 77 of the missing person searches in the 2014-2017 period.

Mike
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SarDragon
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« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2018, 06:14:09 PM »

Only one save here, but another success for the National Radar Analysis and Cell Phone Forensics teams.

CAP Radar, Cell Phone Analysis Lead to Discovery of Downed Plane in Tenn.
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Dave Bowles
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Spaceman3750
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« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2018, 10:49:51 PM »

Skipping the solving of the world's problems, I'd like to add that I recently worked a multi-wing search that was successful (1 distress find) in large part due to excellent cell phone and radar forensics. Without it, the search area would have been about 1 state wide.

The stuff works.
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The moment any commander or staff member considers themselves a gatekeeper, instead of a facilitator, they have failed at their job.
I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
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