Urban Search & Rescue By Texas State Guard

Texas State Guard members have no ravines or cliffs to maneuver. Instead Columbia Center instructors have teams on the brick streets of Nacogdoches. Members go over maps.  " We're going essentially down two blocks, down that street and over to the left," said one leader. A competitive member suggested,  "We do double time we can beat them. "

Compasses, maps and of course GPS help them get around town to complete their assignment. The instructor asked,  " What's our target? What are we looking for? A blue flag. " There are apparent differences for the guard when they're in a field as opposed to a downtown setting and it's not necessarily that their uniforms provide them no camouflage whatsoever. Chief Randy Davis said,  " You don't have the ability to just go straight through a jungle or field environment. You have to take into account buildings. " Other challenges aren't so obvious. The steel in buildings and man made objects can interfere with GPS and compasses.   That's when Boy Scout orienteering skills are applied. Instructor Troy Kinch said, " What we're teaching is also not only to get a certain direction, but also they have to be pretty precise in the estimates as well. "

The skill is important to learn. In real life, the target isn't a blue flag. Sgt. David Cornelius said,  " Whether it's victims. Whether it's infrastructure. We need to know where to find them. " All the blue flags were recovered. They'll leave the brick streets with the knowledge it takes to find their way any where they may go.