THREE FORKS, Mont. -

The call can come at any moment.

"The Sheriff's Departments can call us out to do anything from photograph an area to search for lost hunters, we've searched for lost kids," said Civil Air Patrol Captain Steven Potratz.

But perhaps what the Civil Air Patrol is best known for is searching for planes that disappear over Montana's vast wilderness, often serving as the eyes in the sky for search and rescue.

"Last year an aircraft went down and it was searched for for two days and then they called us out and we found it in twenty minutes," Potratz said.

The Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary of the United State's Air Force. It's made up completely of volunteers who train regularly for both air and ground search and rescue missions. They hold monthly training exercises.

"The way I try to approach these training events is to put them into a position where they're forced to think on their feet," said Nolan Teel.

Teel worked as Incident Commander on a recent exercise. The simulation involved a plane crash landing with the pilots unable to get to safety. Civil Air Patrol Cadets, some as young as twelve, assisted with the rescue.

16-year-old Chris Navarro, a 2nd Lieutenant Junior Cadet, played many roles during the exercise, from helping move the wounded to securing the area.

"My job currently was the perimeter I was just worried about making sure that no one came through on that perimeter and everything was secure," he said.

"A lot of your training really does kick in and you say, ok I need to assess the situation: what is safe? What is not safe? What patients need what? What members do I send it to take care of them," said Senior Cadet Austin Troth.

The crash victims have to be secured and rushed to a waiting ambulance.

"We do a lot of training to help develop these kids to get them to a point where they can handle that kind of a situation," said Potratz.

The Civil Air Patrol's mission goes beyond just search and rescue. It also helps patrol the border and is routinely assigned to counter drug missions by the Department of Homeland Security as well as participating in aerospace education and outreach.

Members say the training they receive goes well beyond the skills needed in helping on a search and rescue missions.

"A lot of them will go on and be teachers and be managers in businesses, firemen and police officers and the skills that they're learning aren't necessarily military skills, they're leadership skills that they can take into anything they do," Potratz said.

To learn more about the Montana Civil Air Patrol you can visit their website by clicking here.