Ground Search and Rescue Academy
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ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION (all participants and guardians must read this information)

Ground Search and Rescue Academy – Physical preparation

Participants must be physically and mentally prepared to endure strenuous activity during the Academy. Cadets should be in the Category 1 physical fitness level. Different categories will require Director and/or Operations Section Chief review and evaluation.

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.

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 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.

The Academy staff is pleased to bring this training to you, combining many years of SAR experience and the desire to continue to train top-notch Ground SAR volunteers in the 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.


Bryan Watson, Major, CAP
Ground Search and Rescue Academy Director
bryan.watson@wawg.cap.gov