[commcamp] North Florida Comm Camp - not your normal Ranger School

  • From: FloridaCyclist@xxxxxxx
  • To: commcamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 01:25:46 EDT

Please make sure that this information is disseminated to lower units and  
personnel as well as relevant mailing lists. All CAP members are invited to  
attend the North Florida Communications Camp from may 26-Jun 3, 2007. At 9 days 
long, distance should not be a huge barrier to attendance, and we do pick up 
at  local bus and airline terminals. More information is available on the web 
at _http://www.tallahasseecap.org/commcamp_ 
(http://www.tallahasseecap.org/commcamp)  or  by contacting Capt Gene Floyd, 
info in signature.
First, we do need to clear some misconceptions. Contrary to popular belief,  
while the Communications Camp is sponsored by the North Florida Ranger School  
(and if you need a Ranger-approved evaluator to sign you off on specific 
tasks,  we will be glad to assist), it is NOT Ranger Training. Back before 
was a  North Florida Ranger School, the FL Wing Ranger Training Officer simply 
thought  that advanced communications training was a good idea for folks who 
need to  communicate in field conditions and offered sponsorship of the camp in 
order to  make it happen. Our most recent information can usually be found at 
(http://www.tallahasseecap.org/commcamp) .  While the curriculum and concept 
has been played with a little since 
it's first  inception, the bottom line is that this is first and foremost an 
advanced  communications school. 

We will not be doing PT till we drop, or running around in the mud with our  
hands over our heads till we fall down, nor will there be 4AM wake-up calls to 
 go run the obstacle course - not that any of that goes on in the regular 
Ranger  program (or at least not at the North Florida School) anyway. The 
we  will come to being a Boot camp experience is if you want to compare us to 
an _MCSE Boot camp_ (http://www.unitek.com/training/bootcamp.php) . 
Since there will be no Expert Rangers in attendance that we know  of, we will 
be waiving the requirement to not wear black shirts in order to  make it 
easier for folks to have enough t-shirts to last the week. If an Expert  Ranger 
does show up, perhaps we will decide on another way to mark him (maybe a  black 
ballcap), although they are so rare that everyone in the camp will know  who 
they are and he would probably be here as a student anyway.
What we will be doing is learning far more  in a week of training  about 
field and tactical communications than most folks even realize exists. It  will 
still be tough, but not in the physical sense. Hopefully you will leave  Fort 
McGee with a much better understanding of what it takes to get information  
point A to point B in an emergency type scenario quickly but even more  
importantly, accurately and how to survive and operate effectively in a 
zone. Most of our instructors volunteer with and are certified by the FL State  
EOC to provide communications in emergencies and have deployed to disaster 
zones  several times already ranging from Pensacola, FL to Waveland, MS and 
 Palm Beach; a couple of them even spent time on a New Orleans rooftop  
coordinating a hospital evacuation via helicopter. There is a lot of collective 
emergency communications experience here and this is a great chance to learn 
 it's done from those who have been there and done that; in addition, you get 
a  chance to earn your ham license. 
Planning for the Comm Camp is coming along very well with the exception  that 
we really need students. We have our books, and are working on obtaining  
some of our academic supplies (clipboards, calculators) that are a must for 
type of training along with some decent gifts for our volunteer instructors. 
We  still need an LCD projector, but are quite confident that one will 
materialize  in time, preferably on a permanent basis so that we don't have to 
this  scramble.  

If you are interested in this training, we really do need you to sign up on  
the registration page at 
(http://www.tallahasseecap.org/commcamp/register.shtml)   as we may have to 
consider canceling if there are not enough names on the list  by mid-May. 
Please be sure to ask your buddies along too; $90 is about as cheap  as it gets 
for a 9-day activity considering everything that is included in the  package 
(in order of price: about $50 worth of books, testing fees inc one  re-take if 
needed for each paid test, clipboard/calculator/storage container  combo, 
t-shirt, BBQ dinner, swimming party, use of rented porta-pots plus  more).If 
are not sure about how to register, please feel free to  email us and let us 
know so we can help you. We have received approval  as an Air Force funded 
mission, so gas should be reimbursable. We can also pick  up at the Greyhound 
station, which is often the cheapest way to travel into  Tallahassee.
To go over what will be taught, we have:
    *   Amateur Radio Technician License  
    *   ARRL Emergency Communications Level 1 (very similar to CAP comm,  
especially after we modify it)  
    *   FEMA IS 200 and 700 (200 required for CUL, 700 soon to be required 
for  everyone for NIMS compliance)  
    *   How all this knowledge ties into CAP communications (radio an antenna 
 theory  and emergency operating practices modified for CAP mainly)  
    *   MRO tasks  
    *   CUL tasks  
    *   Exercise till your ears bleed. If you can imagine what it might be 
like to  have a radio and a roll of wire to build an antenna with, then add in 
stack  of both formal and informal messages, plus several sealed envelopes 
with  opening times written on them and no idea of what is inside, you have an 
idea  what our exercises are like. On top of all that, you have 30 people 
trying to  use the same channel at the same time for 8 solid hours and their 
messages are  just as important as yours. Everyone has to cooperate and use the 
techniques  you will learn for it all to work and for all the messages to be 
delivered  accurately, but with the training, this will be possible. After 
this, a 
basic  SAREX or Disaster Drill will seem like a calm and relaxing walk in the 

Believe it or not, this isn't too far off what a real working  disaster 
scenario can seem like at times as anyone who has been there can tell  you. 
it all, the instructors will be offering feedback and helping you  learn on 
the job. Oh yeah, did I mention that there's no AC or electricity  from the 
wall plugs? Welcome to Southern Mississippi or Punta Gorda, FL all  over again. 
In the real world, real lives might be hanging on the real  messages you pass, 
so we train like it's the real thing.
Why so intense? Experience has shown that one of the primary problems  facing 
emergency responders in search and rescue and disaster operations is  
communications or lack of communications. Even our CAP ground teams in  Katrina 
South Florida had problems communicating with each other once  they were out of 
direct VHF range using the installed antennas on their vehicles  as there 
were no working repeaters or cell towers left. At the same time, the  places 
we are most likely to be sent to look for a missing airplane are not  as 
likely to have cell service or be close to the mission base; if it was,  
would have probably already called 911 to get the airplane out of their  yard. 
We need to know how to overcome these limitations if we are to do or jobs  

In addition, with the limits put on cadets working in disaster zones, this  
is a great way for a cadet to gain the necessary training to be useful in such 
a  scenario. By making themselves indispensable around a mission base, they  
increase their chances of being invited to work at the ICP in even the  worst 
of disaster zones rather than sitting at home watching it all unfold on  CNN.
With this knowledge and experience, you will be much more prepared to set  up 
mission base for a SAR mission, accompany a ground team as an MRO who  
actually knows how to get the word back to Mission base regardless of the  
conditions, or to go into a hurricane zone with a RECON team and somehow or  
make communications happen even without any infrastructure left. 
We aren't teaching a rigid set of "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots" other  
than the rules that the FCC, NTIA, and CAP have already given us, but we  are 
helping you understand a lot of basic laws of physics so that you  can figure 
things out on your own according to your unique situation. We are  going to be 
encouraging our people to think on their feet.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Gene Floyd, Capt CAP
CAP Communications Camp
_commcamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (mailto:commcamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx) 

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