Civil Air Patrol members from across the Florida Panhandle will descend on Marianna Municipal Airport over the weekend of August 18-20 for a training exercise. The exercise is designed to develop and hone skills for disaster response and search and rescue.

The exercise scenario will likely include response to a mock hurricane or other disaster and aerial searches for one or more targets simulating missing aircraft.

Aircrews will practice aerial reconnaissance, including damage assessment and aerial photography, and aerial searches for both physical and electronic targets representing crashed aircraft. Ground crews will practice working with aircrews who will direct them to targets on the ground via radio. The ground teams will also practice electronic searches using handheld radio direction finding equipment.

Aircraft and crews will also operate from Tallahassee International Airport and Eglin Air Force Base, simulating forward operating bases much as they would in an actual disaster.

For more than 75 years, Civil Air Patrol has performed missions for America, from patrolling our coasts and borders in World War II to search and rescue to disaster response to homeland security.

Civil Air Patrol members responded after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, providing the first aerial photos of the disaster. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, CAP volunteers flew damage assessment missions and went door to door to assist survivors.

More recently, they have flown aerial reconnaissance over events like the Super Bowl and provided intercept training for Air Force aircrews defending our skies.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit volunteer organization with 58,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft.