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Sortie 1: In search of MR SMITH! Brownsville Staging Area TEXAS WING DSAR 21 January 2006 TEXAS WING DSAR 21 January 2006
(Above: Capt Carrales checks on the mission status board at a SARex in Brownsville, Texas on Saturday 21 January 2006)
The Brownsville Staging Area has been my vessel for training in CAP as long as I have been a member of the organization. I recently told a photographer from the Brownsville Herald that "The Brownsville Comp Squadron is the Hub of Activity in South Texas." I dream that the Corpus Christi Comp Squadron will one day be able to take its place besides it in the upcoming years. Who knows maybe Kingsville as well?

(Above: Major Juan Arredondo give the mission briefing at the staging area)

The mission began with a briefing by Major Arredondo. He informed us that we had been given coordinates for a Personal Location Transmitter. We were also given some information on the man to whom it belonged. These personal "signal beacons" are becoming more popular and present a new challenge for the Civil Air Patrol's Urban DF teams. Instead of making an assumption that an ELT or E-PERB is in an aircraft or boat, it could be on an individual anywhere.

We were informed that the man was Mr. Jim Smith, age 69...he was last seen at a local bar and never made it home.

(above: In the mission report, which for a SARex is fictitious, it was also reported that he was last seen in a black Caddie SUV. Now, this was totally fictitious...well, our Ground Team is so well trained that we actually FOUND the "made up" vehicle.)

Were were deployed on the first sortie, lead by 1Lt. Ceasar Riojas.

(above: Using advanced D-F equipment were began to triangulate on the signal. Here two cadets use said apparatus in a wooded area)

(above: The DF Equipment isn't the only tools at our disposal. URBAN DF teams also have the power of the populace on their side. Here cadets conduct an interview at the Commemorative Air Force for the ubiquitous Mr. Smith.)

After an unsuccessful interview the crew returned outside. There was a steady rain falling and it became quite...er...moist and damp. Mud caking under our shoes gave us all an extra few inches en re our height.

We then took another reading and determined that it was coming from a wooded area known to the CADETS as "Little Vietnam" due to its dense foliage.

(Above: a marked tree, it was there that a PONCHO and pants believed to belong to MR. SMITH were discovered and the ELT was recovered. The mission was finished)

(Above: Every mission at a SARex is a learning one, no where is that more evident than at the debriefing. Elements of the mission are discussed and logged...issues are addressed and better practices are brought to the attention of the units involved for use at the next SARex or REDCAP.)