Nearly 60 NJ wing members complete week-long search and rescue training

By ZACHARY Z. KING, Maj, CAP | Government Relations Advisor | Aug. 9, 2018


Yesterday afternoon, 38 students graduated from the 2018 New Jersey Wing Ground Search and Rescue School and New Jersey Wing Mission Communications School on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The schools were supported by 20 staff members, consisting of both cadet and senior member support staff and instructors.


The schools were attended and staffed by members from four separate wings: New Jersey Wing, Civil Air Patrol , Connecticut Wing, Civil Air Patrol , Civil Air Patrol - Pennsylvania Wing , and Texas Wing, Civil Air Patrol . Students and staff members completed the tasks and qualifications required to become Ground Team Members (GTM's) in Civil Air Patrol 's Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) component of the organization's Emergency Services (ES) mission.


The Wing Commander, Colonel Joe Abegg, addressed the graduates and their families who gathered on the ranges of Fort Dix for the graduation ceremony and closing formation of the training schools. "I challenge all students to continue their training... this a license to learn and to perfect your skills" said the Commander in his remarks.


"We could not be more proud of the teamwork that has taken place over the course of this past week. This was an excellent inaugural year for the reintroduction of this week-long school in New Jersey Wing," said Captain Matt Chirik, the 2018 GSAR School Activity Director, a former cadet (Spaatz #2135), and long-time member of the emergency services community.


Major Zachary Z. King, who serves as the wing's Government Relations Advisor and Director of Public Affairs, summarized the value of the education and training that the students received: "The success of this school not only provides individual achievement to the students as they refine and perfect their skills; the product of this week's high standard of instruction is a valuable asset for the wing's Emergency Services Department.


The staff members and instructors were recognized for their efforts, and the Wing Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Cheri Fischler Jennings was recognized as the "Honor Staff Member" for her support of the schools and her service as Finance / Administration Section Chief.


The staff of instructors included Lieutenant Colonel Israel Thompson, who served as Ground Branch Director and was originally a student of the New Jersey Wing Ground Search and Rescue School in the 1980's. After attending the school as a student, he then went on to attend and instruct at the Advanced GSAR School from the late 1980's and through the 1990's.


"We are proud of the work that our students and staff completed this week. They collectively represent a substantial addition to the Emergency Services capabilities of the wing in its support of Civil Air Patrol 's Emergency Services missions across the nation," said Lieutenant Colonel Bob Jennings, who served as the Incident Commander.


The Wing Staff congratulates the students and staff for the completion of another outstanding New Jersey Wing, Civil Air Patrol training exercise!


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 U.S. 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 2008. 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 for 67 years. For more information, visit .