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The Tri-County Senior Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, which is based at the Walker Airport, recently participated in an airborne communication exercise. The local squadron joined forces with the Grand Rapids, Duluth and Brainerd squadrons to test the airborne communications capability of Civil Air Patrol in Northern Minnesota. From left are Civil Air Patrol members Ben Stumbo of Park Rapids, Rich Yeager of Laporte and Jim Williamson of Beltrami County. Submitted photo

Civil Air Patrol squadron conducts airborne exercise

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The Tri-County Senior Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, which is based at the Walker airport, recently participated in an airborne communications exercise. The local squadron, which includes squadron members residing in Beltrami, Cass and Hubbard counties, joined forces with the Grand Rapids, Duluth and Brainerd Squadrons to test the airborne communications capability of Civil Air Patrol in Northern Minnesota.

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The eight-day exercise goal was to establish the distance that ground radio stations could communicate with aircraft if a low level search and rescue operation was to occur in the northern areas of Minnesota.

CAP aircraft took off from Walker and Duluth airports and flew several flights over the northern portions of Minnesota.

Several of these flights conducted communication tests along the Canadian border. Four aircraft and two radio base stations located at the Walker and Duluth airports were used in the exercise.

The aircrews and ground radio stations successfully demonstrated that low level air to ground communications that is required for search and rescue missions could be maintained over the entire northern third of Minnesota.

Tri-County squadron members who participated in the exercise included Ben Stumbo of Park Rapids; Jim and Dianne Harris of Akeley; Rich Yeager of Laporte; Mark Shorter of Northern Hubbard County and Jim Williamson of Beltrami County.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 57,000 members nationwide. CAP performs 90 percent of continental United States inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 90 lives in fiscal year 2009. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counterdrug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.

The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 22,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America since 1941.

For more information on CAP, visit the website gocivilairpatrol.com. For information on becoming a member of the Tri-County squadron, contact Captain Jim Harris at 218-652-2700.

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Pioneer staff reports
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