Ground Search & Rescue Academy (GSAR)

28 July – 4 August 2013

(Staff arrives 27 July)

Joint Base Lewis McChord, WA

 This activity will be conducted on Ft. Lewis property near Tacoma Washington.  It will be an opportunity to experience a realistic Ground SAR training environment that combines teamwork and individual skills to become proficient in the ground team mission.  The academy is conducted almost exclusively in the field environment and proper preparation cannot be over emphasized.


Cost: Students $125 – includes meals and instruction / Staff fee is $50

Goal:  Instruction on all GTM tasks (1,2 & 3) & UDF tasks

Prerequisites for attendance:

  • Min. 14 years of age
  • Current CAPF 101- with GES or better http://wta.wawg.cap.gov/how-to-get-your-101-card
  • CAP Radio Operators Authorization (ICUT cert is on line- E-services)
  • Current First Aid certification
  • Current CPR certification
  • Current CAP membership card on your person
  • All items on Required Equipment List. – included for reference below
  • Approval of Wing CC for those outside WA Wing – see CAPF 31Be physically prepared – This academy requires extensive foot travel with your SAR pack through all kinds of natural terrain –  see additional information below

Due to the remoteness of the site and post security policies, there will be no late arrivals/early departures for students.

Check out will be Sunday 4 Aug 2013 at 1300 hours.  Your acceptance information will include the check in time and location for the start of the encampment.

Attendance is limited, so apply early! 

You may apply on a tentative basis if you do not have all your prerequisites by the deadline, but they MUST be satisfied prior to participation in GSAR!

TO APPLY:  Request an application packet via e-mail, or call (contact info below) – deadline is June 15, 2013

Description of Activity – Physical preparation

  • Participants must be physically and mentally prepared to endure strenuous activity during the Academy.  Cadets must be in the Category 1 physical fitness level.
  • Participants may be exposed to natural hazards, such as:
  • Bees and other stinging insects – if allergic – bring TWO (2) EpiPens
  • Native plants (nettles) and thorny plants (devil’s club, blackberries, etc.)
  • Extreme heat
  • Extreme terrain
  • Rain and Cold

This is a team-training environment; therefore your field experience will continuously be in the presence of your team.  We are guests of Ft. Lewis, therefore, strict adherence to the Academy rules are taken very seriously.  Training area boundaries must be respected.

The training will involve preliminary task training, followed by field exercises.  Field exercises will be conducted in any weather, at any time, during the Academy.  Scenarios will develop your skills as a Ground Team/UDF member in as many field situations as you might encounter in your SAR career.  Each student will handle the DF equipment and operate communications in the field as well.

Many field exercises will be lengthy (several kilometers), to test the knowledge you’ve acquired during the Academy.  They will involve a wide variety of terrain and elevations, climbing, descending, subject evacuations, simulated/actual first aid treatment and several navigational opportunities during day and night scenarios.  Students are not to bring GPS devices.

Students must have a CAPF 101 with a minimum of a GES rating, or higher.  The Academy will supply you with an equipment list, not unlike others in training materials.

The pack check will take place on arrival day.  Your transportation is not allowed to leave until you have successfully passed your pack check Those failing the pack check will be sent home, with no refund of tuition.  This is extremely important and no excuse will be accepted.

Those wishing to attend the Academy, and holding higher than a GES rating, will be trained in all the tasks, and should be prepared for such remedial training.  Those desiring staff positions will be selected from past participants or others deemed qualified by the Director.  Students will also receive instruction on Washington State SAR policies, to further qualify and eventually register as Emergency Services Workers, with successful completion of this course (assuming residency in Washington State).  Staff candidates are to include a cover letter/resume’ with their application.

Your directorate staff is pleased to bring this training to you, combining many years of SAR experience and the desire to re-establish top notch Ground SAR volunteers in the Pacific Region of Civil Air Patrol!

As you review our pack list, you will note winter-style clothing.  I usually get the question; Do I really have to bring this in the summer”?  Yes!  Once you leave our Academy, we know you have the equipment to do the job, of which clothing is VERY important!  It’s cold more often than hot around here, so this is not unreasonable.


Teresia Sayler,  LTC,  CAP

Director – Ground Search & Rescue Academy (GSAR)