A Cessna 182 of the Civil Air Patrol. [CAP Archive Photo]
As Hurricane Florence makes its way towards the Carolina coast, the North Carolina Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is preparing for a statewide response to the storm. Although the exact path of Florence is still unknown, Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency in advance of the hurricane’s landfall.
CAP is prepared to conduct emergency services and disaster relief missions as requested by CAP’s local, state and federal partners. These missions will be conducted using the North Carolina Wing’s highly qualified ground teams, aircrews, and 18 aircraft, which are already being relocated to protect them from the storm.
CAP missions may include flying hurricane evacuation routes, conducting aerial photography of the storm’s aftermath, flying government officials and supplies into disaster areas, and providing aerial communication relays. CAP personnel are also preparing to staff the State’s Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh and to staff “PODs” – Points of Distribution centers providing emergency supplies around the state.
CAP’s North Carolina Wing Commander, Col R. Jason Bailey, stated, “When other state and federal agencies need our air and ground team resources, we will be there for them. CAP’s North Carolina Wing has almost 2,000 trained volunteer members who are prepared to support our State when needed.”
The North Carolina Wing also plans to offer media flights of the affected areas after the hurricane makes landfall.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer auxiliary of the United States Air Force, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which comprises regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees.
CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC.) CAP is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually.
Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program.
Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.