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Search and rescue or SAR is an operation to locate and extract personnel who have been stranded, either by accident or through hostile action. If performed under combat conditions it may be known as Combat Search and Rescue, or CSAR. SAR can be performed to rescue large numbers of people from doomed planets and starships, or to rescue individuals who have been stranded or captured in the line of duty. SAR operations may be performed by either Starfleet crews, by dedicated rescue teams or even by civilians. (Star Trek: New Order: …That Others May Live , ...The Hardest Part)
Just prior to the 24th Century, Starfleet determined that dedicated Search and Rescue units would be beneficial to rescue spacefarers in distress and extract stranded personnel from within enemy controlled territory. The inspiration for such units and personnel came from a similar force of the United States military called the United States Air Force Pararescue command.
Just like 20th and 21st Century Pararescuemen, SAR Operatives were to be proficient not only in emergency medical treatments and diagnosis, but also combat skills to defend their patients from hostile forces.
Starfleet SAR units draw their organization from similar units from Earth's 20th and 21st centuries. There are three flights in a SAR Squadron. Although larger operations, specifically CSAR operations may require additional forces, including air support units and fire support from larger Starfleet vessels. The three main components of a SAR squadron are:
- Extraction flight - One company of security personnel that are also highly trained in emergency medical procedures and first responder treatments.
- Evacuation flight - Highly trained surgeons and emergency physicians and various medical specialties.
- Technical Support Flight - Maintenance personnel (engineers), small craft pilots, operations specialists, supply experts, transporter experts.
Each member of a SAR Squadron flight is required to be proficient in his primary area, and additionally must crosstrain in the area of another flight in the squadron. Owing to the fact that the units operate behind enemy lines on a routine basis, a premium is placed on combat lifesaving and combat training.
Selection and trainingEdit
Any Starfleet personnel may volunteer for the year and a half long selection process held on various locations on Earth. Selection is a physically and mentally trying period, with some classes (notably Class 04-2356) not graduating a single being. SAR Class 06-2367, which Lieutenant Henry Kano of the USS Voyager was part of, started out with 117 sentients and graduated only 34.
The eighteen month course is known as 'The Pipeline' and consists of the following schools:
- Search and Rescue Preparatory Course (2 weeks) - Located in San Antonio, Texas on the former site of Lackland Air Force Base, this course provides physical training under the oversight of sports physiologists and swimming trainers to familiarize and teach the trainees the required skills to succeed in the Indoctrination Course.
- SAR Indoctrination Course or 'Indoc' (10 weeks) - Also located in San Antonio. At this school, participants undergo extensive physical conditioning with swimming, running, weight training and calisthenics. This course helps prepare students for the rigors of training and the demands of Search and Rescue. Other training includes physiological, obstacle courses, rucksack marches, diving physics, dive tables, metric manipulations, medical terminology, dive terminology, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, weapons qualifications, history of Search and Rescue, and the leadership reaction course. Graduation of this course is the "ticket to ride the pipeline" and begin learning the special skills that make Search and Rescue Operatives very highly regarded.
- Combat Water Survival Course (six weeks) - Located in Key West, Florida. The course is divided into four blocks of instruction: (1) Diving Theory, (2) Infiltration/Exfiltration Methods, (3) Open Circuit Diving Operations, and (4) Closed Circuit Diving Operations. The primary focus of CWSC is to develop total comfort in aquatic environments. Primarily it is to prepare candidates for zero-gravity training for the aerospace operations phases of training. A typical day at this school would start with a morning run at 0530 and swimming three to eight thousand meters, followed by what can be described as near drowning experiences. Buddy breathing with a snorkel under constant harassment by instructors(called 'Sharking') and the 'Object Retrievals' (retrieving items such as phaser rifles, equipment canisters, weights, etc) follows shortly thereafter. The object is to create calm where terror of drowning once existed. This phase is responsible for almost half the attrition of a class, although the Indoctrination course is responsible for the majority of drops.
- Aerospace Insertion Training (three weeks) - Located in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Students learn every method of inserting onto the surface of a planet ranging from shuttlecraft landings to orbital skydiving.
- Zero Gravity and Spaceborne Operations (five weeks) - Located at Earth Spacedock, this course teaches basic operations in Zero G and starship environments.
- Starfleet Basic Survival School (two and a half weeks) - Located in various locations throughout Earth, ranging from the Brecon Beacons of the British Isles to the wilderness of Alaska on the North American continent. This course teaches basic survival techniques for remote areas using minimal equipment. This includes instruction of principles, procedures, equipment and techniques that help individuals to survive, regardless of climatic conditions or unfriendly environments, and return home.
- Search and Rescue EMT Training (twenty two weeks) - Located in Bindoon, Australia. This course teaches how to manage trauma patients prior to evacuation and provide emergency medical treatment. Phase I is five weeks of emergency medical technician basic (EMT-B) training. Phase II lasts 17 weeks and provides instruction in minor field surgery, pharmacology, combat trauma management, advanced airway management and military evacuation procedures. Field Exercies are typically executed on the terrain of the Australian Outback. Graduates of this course are awarded their Level II Emergency Medical Certifications.
- Search and Rescue Specialist Course (twenty four weeks) - Also located in Bindoon, with training exercises taking place on other locations on Earth to simulate various terrains for Class M planets, this course qualifies Starfleet personnel of all ranks as SAR Operatives for assignment to any SAR unit in Federation space. Training includes field medical care and tactics, mountaineering, combat tactics, transporter operations, and starship operations. It is here that candidates are assigned their respective squadrons and learn which flight they are to be assigned.