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ES Training

This page explains how to get started training toward emergency services qualifications.


First, look at the pages on ES training opportunities, paths and requirements in the Seattle Composite Squadron CAP New Member Intro [PDF], which includes links to training information. Links to other ES training material is available on the National website here. Exhaustive listings of required training are on Where Do I Start on eServices.

Become familiar with Operations Qualifications in eServices. This is where you enter all training completed, including pre-requisites and requesting commander approval for starting training. You also print your 101 card from here. The 101 card is your "specialty qualification card" and shows all ES qualifications. You must have this during exercises or actual emergencies.

There are periodic ES training activities in WAWG, both scheduled major events such as Field Emergency Services Training (FEST), Washington All Mission Academy (WAMA), and Ground Search and Rescue Academy (GSAR). Check the Activities menu on the WAWG website for details. The WAWG Emergency Services and Operations webpages also contain info on training events, such as search and rescue exercises (SAREXes).

Overview of Roles

We recommend anyone interested in ES consider achieving the three basic qualifications for aircrew, ground team, and mission base to understand all sides of the general ES mission: Mission Scanner (MS), Ground Team Member Level 3 (GTM3), Mission Staff Assistant (MSA). Understanding what the people in other areas of ES are doing, and why, will make you better at your chosen specialty area and more flexible to the staffing needs of a mission.


ES aircrew consist of three core positions: Mission Scanner (MS), Mission Observer (MO) and Mission Pilot (MP).

  • The primary role of the MS and MO is to "scan" - to visually search for a target in a methodical way.
  • The MO has additional responsibilities as mission commander, such as handling CAP radios and coordinating with the aircrew to make operational decisions.
  • The primary role of the MP is to provide a safe, stable platform for the MS and MO to do their jobs. The MP is the bus driver, not a scanner!
  • MS is a prerequisite for MO and MP.

There are two additional roles: Airborne Photographer (AP) and Transport Mission Pilot (TMP).

  • CAP pilots who do not yet qualify as search and rescue / disaster relief (SAR/DR) Mission Pilots may train as Transport Mission Pilots (TMP) and support SAR/DR missions in roles other than direct search flying, such as transportation of people and equipment and relocation of aircraft.
  • The primary role of the AP is to capture and log quality digital photographs, and occasionally video. With the decrease in SAR missions and increase in DR capability, this is becoming a more important role.
  • MS is a prerequisite for AP, but not for TMP.

Ground Team

ES ground roles consist of two categories: Urban Direction Finding (UDF) and Ground Team (GT).

  • The primary role of UDF teams is to track and locate emergency transmitters in non-remote environments.
  • The primary role of ground teams is to track and locate targets in remote environments.

Ground team members can train through three levels, from lowest: Ground Team Member Level 3 (GTM3), GTM2, and GTM1.

Ground teams are led by a Ground Team Leader (GTL).

Mission Base

ES mission bases roles consist of a number of positions in a wide range of disciplines, ranging from new members to experienced leaders.

  • General support: Mission Staff Assistant (MSA)
  • Flight line attendants: Flight Line Marshaller (FLM) and Flight Line Supervisor (FLS)
  • Radio communications: Mission Radio Operator (MRO) and Communications Unit Leader (CUL)
  • Safety: Mission Safety Officer (MSO)
  • Special support roles: Logistics Section Chief (LSC), Finance/Admin Section Chief (FASC), Public Information Officer (PIO), Liaison Officer (LO)
  • Operations managers: MPs and MOs, and GTLs, can train to Air Operations Branch Director (AOBD) or Ground Branch Director (GBD)
  • Operations leaders: AOBDs and GBDs can train to Planning Section Chief (PSC), then Operations Section Chief (OSC), then Incident Commander (IC).

MSA is a good starter role for new members interested in understanding what happens at a mission from a broad overview perspective.



New members, be sure your Level I is complete.

Complete the following online courses:

  • IS-100, Introduction to Incident Command System
  • IS-700, National Incident Management System, An Introduction
  • CAPT 116, Part 1 - General ES (GES)

Review the Specialty Qualification Training Record (SQTR) on eServices for the role you are interested in.

Now you're eligible to pursue Aircrew, Ground Team and Mission Base qualifications!

See the following pages for more on each.


The default place to find ES training material from National is at the National ES Academy (NESA) website. Note that you need to learn the hard way, or from someone knowledgeable, what the useful information is. Note also that we may have newer and better training material at the squadron/wing.

Typically, there are three types of training material available through NESA for each major ES role. There are also various reference sheets and forms.

  1. Slides - A PowerPoint presentation intended for classroom teaching by a qualified instructor
  2. Text - A textbook style document that describes the details of each training topic, good for self-directed learning
  3. Task Guide - A booklet of the required training tasks on the SQTR, each of which has a few pages describing how to demonstrate competency to an evaluator
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