Summer School 2022: Day 1

“Squadron commanders, take charge and carry out the orders of the day!”


As the cadet school commander's voice rang out over the parade field, cadets and senior members from around the nation officially began their training at Hawk Mountain Ranger School. Coming from as close as a few miles away to as far as overseas, these students all gathered in Kempton, PA for one reason: to learn search and rescue skills they can take back to their own units.


Cadets practice aiming the reflected light from signal mirrors

“I came to Hawk Mountain Ranger School to be a better leader for my ground emergency services team at Mount Vernon Composite Squadron,” said Cadet Second Lieutenant Yingling. Like many others, she came to not just learn skills, but also put them into practice in a field environment.


Cadets jumped right into the rustic environment the moment they signed in, heading up to their squadron’s campsite to set up for the upcoming nine days. After opening formation, a welcome from the school’s leadership, and a briefing on how to stay safe in a woodlands environment, students transitioned into their classes.


Day 1 focused on the introductory material, such as how to take care of yourself in the field, tie commonly-used knots and hitches, and correctly wear personal gear. Those classes will help them in the days ahead, and they’ll be beneficial in any kind of search and rescue mission the students go on in the future. A strong grasp of those skills will allow them to thrive no matter how difficult the environment may be.


The students also learned how to signal an aircraft from the ground in the event that radio communication doesn’t work, and the specialized squadrons broke off into their own classes. The field medic squadron learned about patient assessments, while the basic radio communication squadron discussed an overview of Civil Air Patrol communications.


A student in the Team Commanders course, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Ayscue, said he wants to learn advanced rope work, which is used in low-angle rescue to help teams safely carry a patient over steep terrain. He said that after he learns about it, he wants “to take that back to North Carolina to advance our program.”


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Hawk Mountain Ranger School has been training Civil Air Patrol members in search and rescue for over sixty years. Learn more about our history here.