Wednesday, 28 April 2021
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Good Afternoon Ambassadors!

On June 15th, 16th and 17th our group will be supporting a multi-state military and local resource search and rescue exercise, called SAR (Search And Rescue Exercise). SARX is actually part of a weeklong exercise called Patriot North 2021. This will be taking place in Jackson County, between Black River Falls and Millston.

We are looking for volunteers to help out on these three days. Tuesday the 15th is going to be busiest day, but we will need volunteers for the 16th and 17th.

Trail ambassadors will be divided into the following roles:

  • Logistical Support: Helping move assets and other search and rescue teams around the exercise area.
  • Search and Rescue: Assisting ground teams with search and rescue efforts (this will require you to leave your vehicle to support ground teams).
  • Exercise Victim: Your role will be to simulate an emergency, which will require walking away from your vehicle into the Jackson County forest. You will need to be able to walk through forest land and possible over obstacles. This will allow the K9 teams a challenge for tracking.
  • Exercise Victim Needing Medivac: If you're comfortable with being in a helicopter and can walk away from a vehicle, choose this role.
  • Communications Support: This role will be to help coordinate and communicate between the various agencies.

If you're willing to play a victim, there is a possibility you'll be riding in a helicopter, as we are doing up to four helicopter lifts per day. The helicopters range from UH-60 Blackhawks to Medivac helicopters used in Wisconsin.

We are currently working on supporting the Wisconsin Emergency Management's (WEM) Air Coordination Group (ACG) with ground support on an on-going basis. Our program is never designed to be an initial responder agency, however we can support local agencies and state agencies when called upon.

For Division 2 ambassadors, you will be allowed on sections of the Jackson County ATV / UTV trail! This is a great foot in the door. The have some pretty rough forest roads we will be using as well, according to the local forest assistant administrator (he is working with us on the planning for the event).

Here is an overview of the mission as provided by WEM:

OVERVIEW: Wisconsin Emergency Management, through the Wisconsin Air Coordination Group and its participating agencies, along with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office will conduct a SAR (Search & Rescue) Exercise (SAREX) in conjunction with the PATRIOT North 21 Exercise and several of its participating agencies. This SAREX will be conducted on 15, 16 & 17 June 2021 in Jackson County, WI.

SCENARIO: (Proposed scenario - the specifics can be adjusted as necessary) Four UTV riders were reported missing "this morning" after failing to return home "last evening" from an excursion on the Oak Ridge Trail in Jackson County, WI. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office, after conducting an initial investigation and discovered the missing subjects' vehicle(s) parked near the trail with every indication that those subjects drove UTVs onto the trail but never returned, have assumed initial incident command and alerted the Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) duty officer and requested ground, drone and aviation SAR resources to search for these missing individuals.

The WEM Duty Officer convened a Wisconsin Air Coordination Group (ACG) call, the results of which, approved by the WEM Senior Duty Officer, resulted in the activation of some aviation and ground SAR resources as well as referral to the PATRIOT North Incident Management Team, which was already deployed in support of a large scale disaster and operating from nearby Volk Field ANGB.

The search for the missing UTV Riders will be prosecuted with the PATRIOT North IMT deploying additional resources to join those resources activated by the ACG to support Jackson County; for purposes of resource management and ensuring continued critical life safety operations in multiple areas, the Jackson County search incident will be incorporated into the larger PATRIOT North incident, with the Jackson County search being assigned as a new Branch to the overall PATRIOT North Incident.

The same scenario will be recycled each day (15, 16 & 17 June), with different agencies/personnel participating on each day and/or the individual targets reset to provide a fresh SAR problem for the participants.

Jackson County (WI) Sheriff's Office - command, coordination, possibly a comm vehicle & possibly drone team
Wisconsin Air Coordination Group (ACG IMAT) - oversight and Incident Air Operations Branch
Wisconsin Drone Network - drone teams
Wisconsin Trail Ambassadors - Ground team logistical support, ground support and assistance for SAR teams and live "victim" volunteers utilizing a mix of off-road vehicles (ATV / UTV / 4WD)
Wisconsin Wing Civil Air Patrol - fixed wing SAR and support to ACG Air Operations Branch
Wisconsin K-9 tracking teams (Sorry, is there an official name?) - sight, scent and cadaver search K-9s
PATRIOT North 2021 Exercise, including
Mississippi Army National Guard Aviation - Rotary wing SAR and rotary wing MEDEVAC
Mississippi HERC - rotary wing MEDEVAC & cadaver search K-9 (with MS ARNG aviation)
181st IW INANG - mobile IAA PAD team - remote SAT comms & IAA support
Aspirus MedEvac (?) - Rotary wing MEDEVAC

CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS: As indicated above, the SAR "problem" will be recycled each day (with the potential to change objective locations to allow the same resources, such as the K-9 teams, to effectively participate in the same search on multiple days.

The PATRIOT North IMT/COM-L will incorporate this new branch into the incident communications plan, extending needed voice command network connectivity between the ICP and this branch.

DAY 1 (Tuesday, 15 JUN 21) will be the busiest day with the most resources (and most varied types of resources) participating and will require the most management & safety oversight.

The overall search area will be segmented into numerous areas to allow multiple search teams and platforms to conduct simultaneous operations; while the scenario calls for approximately four victims, there may be more than four total victim role-players and associated K-9 scent items.

NOTE: The search area is an active outdoor recreation trail; numerous unaffiliated civilians will likely also be in the area, adding both to the complexity and realism of the scenario.

The Wisconsin Drone Network will begin deploying drone teams in the AM to search for ~four missing persons, and will continue to cycle in new drone teams every 2-3 hours thereafter (to either continue the search or to begin the search again with "new eyes"); drone teams will land and secure any drones operating within "X" distance (distance TBD) of any helicopter landing zones (or points designated for lift operations) prior to any rotary wing aircraft being called in and cleared to operate/land in the area.

Simultaneously, K-9 SAR teams will operate, either in conjunction with or independently of, the drone teams to search for the missing persons. Likewise, K-9 cadaver search teams will be independently operating in the overall SAREX exercise area.

In the afternoon of 15 JUN, 2-4 victims will be discovered that will require MEDEVAC (each day thereafter, 2-4 additional victims will likewise require MEDEVAC). Each victim will exhibit different medical "problems" that will dictate the nature of the MEDEVAC operations and resulting treatment by the MEDEVAC aircraft. "Victim" role-players that are MEDEVACed out of the area will be flown to the Casualty Collection Point, currently designated to be at or near Young Army Air Field; their own agencies and/or the ACG or Jackson County will be responsible for transporting them from Ft McCoy back to the SAR staging area.

On 16 JUN 21, the SAREX will continue, without the participation of the Wisconsin Drone Network. The WI Trail Ambassadors will continue to provide live "victim" role-players for the K-9 SAR teams to search for, and the MS ARNG & HERC will continue to complete 2-4 MEDEVAC flights.

On 17 JUN 21, the SAREX will continue, without the participation of the K-9 SAR teams (though likely with the participation of the MS HERC K-9 cadaver team). The MS ARNG and possibly Aspirus MEDEVAC will complete 2-4 MEDEVAC flights. The SAREX will conclude on this day.

If you're interested in attending, please fill out the form below. If you're signing up to participate as a victim that will be airlifted, we need a 100% commitment as there will be paperwork for each person willing to ride on a military aircraft. I need to lock in volunteers ahead of time, as it takes a few weeks to get this processed and approved by the military.
Let me know if you have any questions!

Adam R. Harden
Trail Ambassador Program
Deputy Administrator
(920) 694-1885: Office
(888) 649-0676: Fax
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