On July 14, 1959, the Tooele County Sheriff’s Jeep Patrol was organized under direction of Sheriff Fay Gillette. George Kramer was elected as commander with the rank of Major. Executive Officer of the patrol was Captain Fred West. James Winchester was elected as Secretary/Treasurer; Dave Buck was the Communications Officer, and Bill Fish as the Historian/Public Affairs Officer. Other members of the patrol consisted of Jay Erickson, Glen Murray, Dr. Rex Stutznegger, George Buzianis, George Cochrane, and Huey Graves. Only 11 days later, five members responded to their first call out, a fire north and west of St. Johns.
The 11 members of the Jeep Patrol were members of the Civil Defense and worked with the Civil Air Patrol. At one point, the patrol thought about being part of the CAP for the equipment and training part of that organization. According to by-laws, individuals could be members of the Civil Air Patrol but the patrol as a whole could not be members of the CAP because then they would be under the direction of the Air Force and not the Sheriff.
During that first year, the patrol looked for parts to fix up jeeps, tried to find radios to mount in the jeeps, designed their uniform, and changed the commander to a Captain. They also responded to two fires, looked for missing children twice, had a fundraiser at the Motor Vu Theatre to help with search and rescue equipment, sponsored a contestant for 4th of July Pageant, became members of the State Patrol, and Charter members of the National Jeep Patrol.
Our search and rescue members have been meeting on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month since January 1960. At these meetings, we have training in CPR, First Aid, Land Navigation, rope tying and rappelling, radio communication, defensive driving, rescue techniques, and many other things that a search and rescue organization needs to help the citizens and sheriff of Tooele.