Civil Air Patrol picks Rome for first-of-its-kind training session

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For the first time in the history of the New York Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, all operational aircraft will come together in one place for a training session — and they’ve picked Rome as the destination.

On Saturday morning, 11 different airplanes, representing nine CAP groups from across the state, will converge at the Griffiss International Airport for a large-scale disaster relief training session, according to Lt. Col. Franklin Birt, the NY Wing government relations advisor. They will all be single-engine Cessna airplanes, all arriving in Rome by 11 a.m.

“We’ve never done this before, where every operational aircraft has been in the same place,” Birt explained.

“The airport allows us to fly in and park our aircraft very close to the mission base.”

The Civil Air Patrol is a public service organization that carries out emergency service missions when needed — in the air and on the ground. As a Total Force partner and Auxiliary of the Air Force, Civil Air Patrol volunteers help search for and find the lost, provide comfort in times of disaster and support homeland safety.

The mission base in Rome reopened in early June after shutting down many of its operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rome base was chosen because of its central location, Birt said, along with other in-house amenities. Aircraft from as far away as Long Island will be landing in Rome.

“This would simulate a very large-scale disaster,” Birt explained. He said each aircraft will have missions assigned both to and from Rome, to simulate tasks the CAP might have in a state-wide disaster. The groups will then converge in Rome to process the tasks and then fly back out.

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