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Search & Rescue Report
As most of you are aware, this weekend MCDC AZ held Search & Rescue Team training in Three Points. I'm happy to announce that we now have 3 SR Teams, each with a compliment of 5 Minutemen volunteers. This weekends training was grouling and intense filled with long hours and plenty of physical activity. I could not have picked a better weekend as we broke heat records all weekend long!
Friday PM the volunteers arrived and at 6PM we took to class. I gave the first instruction on how/why SR Teams are being created. It is our first priority to provide aid to those in the deserts that are in need, along with that phone call to USBP. The volunteers quickly learned that as a team, the weekends events were going to get physical. We also learned that the SR Team members back-pack and its contents are the most critical tool in our operations. The teams were instructed to carry their full backpack to include 2 gallons of water everywhere they went this weekend, as if attached to their hips-and we did it! So with backpacks at the ready, we commenced into our second training period that night, given by Jerry of BSAR (Border Search & Rescue) of California. Jerrys class was very instrumental in providing instruction on organizing SR Teams, searching, and how to become nationally recognized by the National Search & Rescue Organization and being certified by them. In just a few short weeks, each SR Team Member will be a SAR-TEC III, SR Team member rated nationally.
Jerrys class ended about 10PM. We then gathered with our backpacks and took to a 3 mile hike, which I heard some of the members call a 'forced-march". Whatever we call it, the volunteers strutted their stuff as we made 2 columns and headed down the Bravo Line for a late night stroll. The heat was still pretty intense and we took 2 breaks to down our water. The volunteers were eager to help those that fell behind and provided encouragement to complete the hike. Im proud to say that we completed the task successfully and Im very encouraged by their commitment. This was the start of our 'teamworking' skills. One hour later, our volunteers found us back at the main camp where we did some push-ups and cheered on the name "MINUTEMAN"!
Saturday was met early with what was supposed to be a 7AM start for the next class period. Our instructor Tom Collinson, had broken down a few miles away from our location and called to tell us hed be late. His truck overheated and finally made his way to start the class at 9AM. This was our 1st Aid/CPR and Defibrillator Class. There was so much to learn as Tom provided an interactive video, we practiced wrapping gauze on each other and learned the new American Red Cross instruction on CPR. Tom even provided the volunteers with 'Resussie Annies" so that we could practice our new found skills and become competent. This scene was a bit hilarious; dolls strewn about the King Ranch yard with Minutemen breathing into plastic....but we enjoyed the class and there was so much to learn. Again, everyone was eager to participate and devoured the knowledge that was being provided.
Lunch break on Saturday was supposed to be 45 minutes. A few of us were late getting back to class, to include myself. So, the teams found themselves doing push-ups yet again! We were quickly learning that teamwork is also being responsible for the members of your team even when infractions occur. When one member suffers, we all were happy to suffer together. And when one member was praised, we were praised as a group.
Our medical class ended at 3PM, and we quickly rushed into the next training period. Now dont go thinking we were in some air-conditioned room relaxing and taking all this in! We were out in the yard under some weak shade in temps about 107 or better. Our next class was GPS/Mapping and the daytime land navigation course. For 2 hours we each learned how to manage and program our newfound friend...the GPS unit. It took some time, but each member mastered their unit and learned how not to get lost in the field. With our confidence, GPS Units and our backpacks, we headed out to Post 8 to start on our 2 hour land nav course. Each member was given 13 locations to find out in the desert. The locations were marked by a 2"triangle hanging in a mesquite tree. It wasn't easy, but each member found their waypoints and the class was a success!
After a 1 our dinner break (everyone was on time), we gathered again at the main camp. At 9PM, we hauled our backpacks to the field again; this time to learn how to decode encrypted coordinates, locate new waypoints off the cuff and how to move in the desert at night. And yet again, each member found their way and put to use what they had learned. My confidence in each individuals performance is exceeding my expectations at this point. Class ended about midnight and we did a debrief back at camp. Jerry was an exceptional instructor and we thank him very much for his willingness to help MCDC AZ out. His knowledge of GPS and mapping was instrumental in our new formation of the SR Teams.
Sunday morning we gathered for class at 8AM. Prior to class, each member was given a permanent assignment to their teams, and a Team Leader assigned to lead them. 3 SR Teams, each with 5 volunteers. They have been instructed to meet monthly to review training and upgrade their skills as a team. I can assure you that the level of commitment by these SR Team members is high and I was encouraged to hear them talk about future training, meetings and operations. After our assignment instructions, we were lead in Firearms Safety Training by Bill Irwin, National Operations Director. Bill is a CCW instructor and his knowledge of firearms safety goes back to his instructor days in the USMC circa 1960s. Each member also demonstrated their knowledge of firearms safety.
Training ended mid-day today. The physical and mental exhaustion was felt by everyone. Blistered feet, sore legs and backs, lack of decent sleep in an air conditioned room, long hours of class work. As each member left, we said our goodbyes and vowed to see each other again at our next MCDC operations on Aug 11th weekend. You can be happy and proud of your new SR Team members as they gave 110% effort for this training this weekend without complaint. The new teams are highly organized, highly motivated, and Im confident that they will prove to be a strong asset to MCDC AZ. They look forward to helping those that are in need, and in supporting the lines in operations.
This weekend the volunteers were asked to come up with a motto for the SR Team. Many good ones were provided. Art Cerda, SR Team 2 , Team Leader; had an inspirational thought on which we voted. "Search, Rescue, Sovereignty". This will be translated into Latin and will be the SR Teams motto. Thank you Art for coming up with that.
The next SR Team training will not happen again until January/February of 2007. The teams are closed to new members until such time as the new training class has completed.
Our next border watch event is the weekend of August 11th, Friday and Saturday, night shifts only. An informational email will go out this week on that operation. We hope to see you there. The activity in the Altar Valley is coming back. This weekend, Friday PM I spoke with a USBP agent as they were tracking a 'large group' moving across the King Ranch. Early Saturday AM there were 60+ illegal aliens just being loaded onto a bus from that spotting. Until the border is secure, MCDC AZ will take a post, please come join us that weekend.
AZ State Director
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MCDC of Arizona
Phone 520 559-4095
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