Civil Air Patrol & Coast Guard Auxiliary - Joint Ops?

Started by Lancer, November 20, 2006, 12:59:52 am

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I was wondering if there has ever been any joint operations and/or exercises between the Civil Air Patrol and the CG Aux.?

I'm sure this may have been discussed before, but the potential for shared resources and learning from one another is very attractive. Of course this only applies to those of us in the Great Lakes region's and along the coastline, but there's a lot of miles to cover there.

I only know of one person on here that is both and I'd love to hear from him on this subject. Of course with everyone else's thoughts as well.  ;D


There is a MOU between CAP and the CG Aux that focuses on using aircrew members of one group in the other's aircraft.  I remember seeing somewhere that there was a recent local exercise between a CAP aircrew and a CG Aux boatcrew. 

Although a member of both organizations I personally am not aware of any joint operations between them locally.  There was some talk recently in regards to a CAP SAREX, but the concept was never fully developed. 

I have heard that national communications has addressed getting maritime distress frequencies programed in CAP radios, which would ease operations in the future. 

Chris Jacobs

I have worked with the full on coast guard during a mission.  But that is as far as that one goes.  I would love to see some more joint ops though, especially during training.
C/1st Lt Chris Jacobs
Columbia Comp. Squadron


We've made some half-hearted attempts to work with local CG/AUX guys but there has been little interest on either side.

We have a few members who are dual-members, and they regale us with stories of low-level flying above watercraft in their personal aircraft. ((*yawn*))

My personal experience has been that they have just as active a cadre of GOB's and ROMEO's as we do, and their ability to wear the CG uniform, regardless of weight, is a LIABILITY for them (IMHO), not an advantage.

Anyone who has seen the couple of GOB's up at NSGL who look about 9-months pregnant in service dress would agree.

All that aside, we don't share enough missions to operate together.

Our over-water capability is limited, and their land-SAR capability is zero.

They help check the intake cribs on Lake Michigan, and we turn off ELTs.  Since we are tasked with EPIRB searches as well, we regularly play in “their” sandbox.

"Real" shore-line SAR work is done, for the most part, by the CPD & CFD, heck, we don't even have a local Guard station in Chicago - the Helo is in Waukegan, and the main station is in Milwaukee (at least last I cared to check).

There has been a lot of press lately about them requesting a free-fire zone out in the lake for automatic weapons practice.

I'd like to crack off a chunk of that in a joint op!


There were two BIG joint excercises here about 8 years ago or so. CG was in the lead & they ran CG Aux boats out of their shop, we got tasked coastal grids off a maritime chart & ran ground team all over. I've been on a lot of real world runs w/ CG, but I don't ever remember even seeing CGAux.


Frankly, I can't think of a lot of good joint scenarios.  About the best I can come up with is a search for a missing boater (played by a water-rescue dummy) over an inland lake or river with CG Aux boats on the water and CAP airplanes in the air. 

CG Aux aircrews do receive some SAR training and it could be possible to utilize them in CAP air search exercises though communications would be an issue.


Hi Y'all,

  Arizona Wing and the CG Aux had joint "precautionary missions" along the Colorado River from Havasu to the Boulder Dam for a number of years for Memorial Day and Labor day (when there are thousands of boaters on the river).  By all accounts it was quite successful - the USCG Aux did the water stuff (of course) while the CAP aircraft were able to do overhead recon and reporting - a number of distressed boats were dealt with, and apparently the Aux folks found the ability of the CAP to quickly go to a reported trouble location and report what was seen quite valuable (it takes a looong time to go 10 miles in a boat) - which allowed them to respond only to the "real" stuff.
  CAP also had liaison comms with local and state law enforcement, plus the Game & Fish departments from both AZ and NV.

  Unfortunately, the AF decided not to fund this mission in recent years, so CAP is no longer a "player". 

73 DE Hartley

Major Carrales

I have always wanted to see a true "Joint CAP/USCGAux" activity.  In South Texas, especially the Coastal Bend and Rio Grande Valley, the proximity to the Gulf (this applies to all other coastal areas as well  ;D ) might make a CAP search into an Auxie Seach very quickly.

If we don't work together before that happens, how can we expect to work together when that happens.

This, however, begins at the upper echelons with Wing MOUs, I assume.  The Squadron level shoudl support that by incorporating certain training.

I don;t see why CAP pilots and Auxie pilots can't have "Aviation Institutes" where common things like safety and other schools can be taught for the benefit of both programs.   Basically, all our collected wisdom and all their collected wisdom for some real sharing.

Then, if we ever have to work with out local Auxie units...we will already know them.

I do not look at the USCGAux as our "rivals" or "enemies" as some do...I consider them to be brother and sister volunteers and aviators.
"We have been given the power to change CAP, let's keep the momentum going!"

Major Joe Ely "Sparky" Carrales, CAP
Coastal Bend Cadet Squadron


There isn't really even any need for MOUs, though it wouldn't hurt, with the probable exception of radio frequency use. 


No need for that either. I did say above how we'd already done this extensively here in Texas right? CAP is authorized liaison traffic on certain CG freqs (don't ask me I'm not a radio guy), and so is CG Aux. It's not possible for you to be on a search involving CAP * CGAux w/o it also involving CG. In our case CG was the lead agency, we ran air/grd ops according to their taskings & we did some joint work w/ our grd to their air & vice versa to a cutter. CG Aux was part of those couple excercises, but like us they were tasked off by CG & did their own thing. I'm sure they also did some joint familiarization coordination type stuff w/ CG, but not with us. The CG ran mission base our of Air Group Houston (across the street from the CAP Sq there) and there was a CAP liaison there, but no CG Aux staff that I was aware of the couple times I ducked in & back out again.

Maj C, if you really want to run something like that I bet we can get it together all up & down the Texas Coast. It's really just a matter of our two groups running a distributed excercise jointly with a CG excercise. I know the guy still on the CGAux side that ran the CAP operation back in the day & has the CG contacts, also know a fomer cadet who's enlisted at Air Gp Houston now. You wanna give it a role, I can see what LtCol Cima thinks about the idea. I bet if we tie in her efforts toward CERT & maybe a Galveston County Hurricane Excercise... yeah I think we have all the pieces to make it go. I don't know if we could swing any ohter states into the drill, but that would make it pretty interesting too.


I would expect some resistance from the CG Aux air operations guys.  They get a lot of money to fly patrols along the coastline and any operations between CAP and the surface boats could be seen as a threat to their existence.  However, most CG Aux Air work is done along the coasts and I think there is more potential for joint operations inland along the big rivers and lakes. 


Well, there really is no need for CGAux air if CAP is doing its job. Most of the people involved with that side seem to be former CAP members, at least that's the impression around here. We shed people to the Tx State Air Guard also. I don't care what they think or frankly what happens to them either. If they can step up to take a piece of the pie then so be it, if not then CAP should be there strong & ready to go. It's survival of the fittest. None of that matters for this excercise or the real world.

We have a good working relationship w/ CG. We can easily runa distributed coastal SaREx w/ disaster overtones. We can then go to CG with that plan & ask them to come in as a joint op using their IC staff in the lead. Then as an afterthought we can ask if they'd like CGAux to play also. Then we can go about scenerio-izing, and there would be focus on joint-ops. That means CG helo coordinates w/ CAP GT, CGAux plane coords w/ CAP GT, CAP plane coords w/ CG & CG Aux boats. I think we can probably even run an HLS scenerio where we can put a photo bird over a ship & give CG boarding party photos enroute.

The CG is pretty smart. They just came out of a different Katrina experience than we had, & they know situations can easily overwhelm their local resources before extra help can get there. When that's the case, it's nice to know how to work with the bigger team. Even if it isn't the biggr search, I think we can all recognize how easy it is for a couple planes to go down for maint or a couple CGAux pilots to be out of town & end up short handed. I don't know that they're equiped to capable of doing a signal search, I don't know what capability they have to do a visual search or what else they might be able to pull off, I don't know if they are competent professionals or yahoos in planes, so I can't call them in to backup a CAP op... yeah I'm pretty sure it's an easy sell, at least to the CG, & they'll just tell CGAux what's going to happen & tell them to shut the hell up if they want to complain about it. After you get thru the op I think you'll get people educated about each other & more willing to work together, which is the point, besides of course practicing the skills.

Probably get some state agencies involved too, but this'll get out of my paygrade before too long.


QuoteWell, there really is no need for CGAux air if CAP is doing its job.

Well, I've advocated on the CG Aux board that CG Aux Air should be merged into CAP.  There is no sense maintaining two separate national volunteer aviation organizations.   

But to be fair, especially along the coast the private airplanes they are using are more appropriate than CAP aircraft for extended overwater use. 

Major Carrales

The point would not be for one to replace the other, but rather to be able work jointly when the time comes.

We have two air corps, basically, CAP and USCGAux.  In time of emergency we need to have in place the ability to work together in an effective way.

I am by no means an advocate of doing the USCGAux Aviation missions, and them ours.  But rather to have a mechinism in place to improve both sides, use resources effectively in a SAR situation and basically come to better know each other.
"We have been given the power to change CAP, let's keep the momentum going!"

Major Joe Ely "Sparky" Carrales, CAP
Coastal Bend Cadet Squadron


Quote from: RiverAux on December 03, 2006, 09:38:06 pm
QuoteWell, there really is no need for CGAux air if CAP is doing its job.

Well, I've advocated on the CG Aux board that CG Aux Air should be merged into CAP.  There is no sense maintaining two separate national volunteer aviation organizations.   

But to be fair, especially along the coast the private airplanes they are using are more appropriate than CAP aircraft for extended overwater use. 

Well Cessnas have an excellent glide ratio, but if you're talking about twins then NHQ agrees with you, which is why they're currently being funded to buy a few which will alos be equipped w/ ARCHER specifically for overwater HLS. I'd question though how many twins CGAux has avail in coastal area, and of course I don't believe they have any of the photo capabilities that we're continuing to improve.

There's no possibility of a merger, but one or the other might die & be absoarbed by the other, or at least the inland CGAux air might be killed in favor of CAP.


The main argument for combining CG Aux Air into CAP is the substantial equipment, capability, and training of CAP crews to handle almost all the Aux Air missions other than those requiring flying over the ocean.  I happen to know one Aux Air unit that flies patrols past 3 CAP airplane locations that could do the same mission.  That one aircrew is pretty much sitting out by itself isolated from other CG Aux aviationa assets and has none of the benefits of working in a aviation-focused organization like CAP.  Now, that is probably the case with almost all the inland units.  And, even along the coast it would make more sense for the CG to work with CAP directly as there is so often overlap on EPIRB missions in that zone. 

We figured out on a CG Aux board that the average CG Aux airplane only flies about 50 hours a year.   CAP expects our planes to get at least 200 and could absorb the CG missions without much trouble. 

As to how many twins, I'm not sure, but there are 269 private aircraft that are part of AuxAir right now.  103 are retractable gear.   There may be a way to figure out how many twin engines they have, but I'm not that good with their data retrieval system. 


I'd guess 30 off those numbers. CAP still has some retractable gear 182s I believe, tho we've been trying to get away from that to standardize for safety sake. If you're not talking about twins that can do long endurance over water with the backup engine, then I can't see an equipment advantage, but as you've argued to me in the past, we are free to use private or even rental planes when the mission calls for it or CAP planes aren't avail. We've been flying HLS with member owned twins on 1AF taskings for a while now. Nat is buying a couple twins to start, and I'd expect that number to continue up down the road. I can't say how many they might be able to get but I could see one in each coastal Gp or so, maybe 20 total, Im not sure. I've also mentioned in the past the potential to pick up some missions from Army fixed wing aviation with some of those twins, perhaps some more direct AF support also, who knows, but you can fly the wings off the things.

CAP used to fly sunsetter patrols in places like Florida & such that were specifically to look for troubled boaters & direct CG to them. That's pretty much what I think of CGAux Air doing, and of course I doubt very much they are equiped to actually look for EPIRBs like we are. 


Alabama Wing still continues to work with the Coast Guard and local LE by conducting Sundowner patrols along the Gulf Coast of Alabama.   We even go after a few of the EPIRB's that are on the Intercoastal Waterway at the request of the CG.
Rick Hasha, Lt Col CAP

Hotel 179

Quote from: mawr on December 04, 2006, 12:50:18 am
Alabama Wing still continues to work with the Coast Guard and local LE by conducting Sundowner patrols along the Gulf Coast of Alabama.   We even go after a few of the EPIRB's that are on the Intercoastal Waterway at the request of the CG.

Hello Chief....a few?  How about a bunch!

Greetings all from the Gulf Coast of Alabama.  The Baldwin County Squadron has been flying Sundown Patrol along the 30 mile coastline for the past 15 years.  In February or March I will write a letter to the City Councils of the two municipalities along the coast and request funding for the upcoming season's flights.  When the Committee of the Whole meets, I will show up and answer questions regarding the previous season's flights.  A vote is called and a check is cut. 

The chief of police sends an email to the NOC making a request that we fly the coastal patrol, I open WMIRS and fill out the request for a series of missions and the number is assigned.  Last year we flew 65 sorties from May until September.  Each flight departs an hour or so prior to sundown.  We contact the Emergency Operations Center on the FM and maintain contact with all of the Fire/Rescue Squads during the flights.

We patrol the public swimming areas for swimmers in distress, look for sharks in the water near swimmers, respond to boaters in distress in the bays and rivers, and give traffic reports when requested by the police departments.  The flights are a great public relations for the cities.

During the flights we often chat with CG helos.  When a missing boater call is dispatched in a bay or backwater, we coordinate directly with the CG air units regarding the direction of search tracks and altitudes.  Several times a year we work joint operations with the State Trooper helos working low, we're in the middle altitudes and the CG fast movers are on top of us.  Everyone reports their turn-arounds and we maintain an offset using lat/long.  It works well for us.

If the Marine Police have a mission working, they contact AFRCC and we are dispatched per channels....but you know that we are already standing by for an engine start when the call comes to us.  If you are going to be in the SAR business, you have to get out there and let the folks know who you are and how to make it happen. 

Semper vi...ya'll

Stephen Pearce, Capt/CAP
FL 424
Pensacola, Florida


That's great. So you're flying for local cities/EOC. Cause the mission I recall in Florida I thought were for CG, but I may be mistaken about that. It's great that you're building into the joint operating enviro thru that tasking. I'm a firm believer that there should be no SaREx ever that involves just CAP. There's no reason for it at all. A lot of local responders would be happy to practice on the same day & trade some radio traffic at least, EOCs especially.