Last night, 4 Oct 2017 at about 8:45pm local I received a heads up “soft alert” of a possible REDCAP mission over the O’Hare area, an ELT going off. I posted a notice on both the Senior GroupMe list and the Cadet GroupMe list. Within 2 minutes we had a UDF team ready. Within about 15 minutes we had an aircrew ready. Within about 15 more minutes, Group 2 had readied 2 more Ground/UDF teams that were ready to roll.
First I wish to thank Capt Steve Rodgers, Maj Gerry Baumgartner, 2nd Lt Emmit Hoosman and 1st Lt Chuck Newel for reporting ready. I also wish to thank 2nd Lt Mirek Suliba and 1st Lt Charley Macdonald for reporting not available. Unfortunately no cadet reported but that is understandable as Thursday was a school day.
We quickly put together myself and Capt Rodgers as a UDF team and Maj Baumgartner, Lt Hoosman, and Lt Newell as an aircrew. We reported both teams ready for when the REDCAP would become active.
Now it’s not often that we get advance notice of these events. This time there was paperwork being chased to let this become an actual mission. So that means that we our teams were formed but we had to wait. And wait we did. At about 10:45pm we received notice that the Magnus Composite Squadron (IL067) was closest to the estimated target location and the remaining units should stand down. So after sitting ready for 2 hours, the SPCS members were able to put their PJ’s on and head to bed. Shorty after that, the actual REDCAP alert was sent out with the message “No additional resources needed”.
The Magnus UDF team reported at O’Hare around midnight and was granted access to the nation’s busiest airport via a Chicago Department of Aviation escort.
As it turned out this ELT was indeed at O’Hare. O’Hare itself thought it was in a maintenance hanger so United and American airlines were contacted and they did a self search. The target then became Delta but that was also a false lead. At that point CAP was officially called in. The UDF team from Magnus identified the ELT coming from a regional jet parked at a terminal gate. The airline had taken delivery fo the aircraft earlier that day and had been ferried in from MKE (Milwaukee). They were unaware the ELT beacon had been activated. The maintenance crew was contacted and they disabled the battery to ultimately silence the ELT around 3am.
I wish to congratulate IL Wing for another non-distress find, but I wish to really thank members of Shorty Power for being ready to respond should our services have been needed.
I also wish to thank Lt Col Ray Walden for some of the details of the mission.
Lastly I would like to encourage all members of Shorty Powers to become ES qualified to help on missions like this. Any qualification is likely to be of real help when missions come up. In the past, from home, I performed as an MSA to the IC for a mission in Southern Illinois. Everybody on the response team gets awarded credit for the find, not just those in the field.
Maj Edward E. Danley, CAP