Civil Air Patrol Revs Up Missions over Storm-Ravaged N.Y., N.J. – Great Lakes Region gets involved
CONCORD, N.H. — Civil Air Patrol launched 23 aircraft Friday from every state along the Northeast seaboard, including aircraft from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina, to photograph hurricane damage in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and to conduct low-level missions over waterways around New York and New Jersey to pinpoint oil spills and navigation hazards for the U.S. Coast Guard.
“We have a tremendous amount of taskings to complete in the next two days,” said Lt. Col. Rick Crepas, operations section chief at the Northeast Region’s command post in Concord, N.H. “The logistics for getting all this to happen is tremendous. Coordination with air traffic control centers, the FAA, the New York City Police Department and other agencies all must be done for a successful operation.”
One of the priorities is to complete a photo mosaic of the storm-struck Northeast for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “We have thousands of images to go,” Crepas said. “Those tasked with photo missions will be taking photos every five seconds.”
Another priority is to help the Coast Guard locate oil spills, including sources of spills, as well as debris in the waterways that pose navigation hazards and/or public health risks. The Coast Guard, Crepas said, also wants CAP aircrews to photograph the waterways around New York and New Jersey at different times that would correspond to varying tidal conditions.
He said a third high priority is to give personnel from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a first-hand view of ravaged areas so they can better assess where to deploy recovery crews for optimal impact.
Each of the planes — all technologically advanced CAP G1000 Cessna 182s — will have a three-person crew who fly two sorties during the day. Some of the aircrews will travel many hours to get to their target areas, Crepas said. “We’re fighting weather, shorter daylight hours and some very high air traffic areas.”
He said 700 to 750 CAP members are supporting the post-hurricane missions daily throughout the Northeast and Mideast regions, putting in up to 7,000 man-hours a day. “We’re bringing in talent and personnel to handle this” from as far away as Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. They’re dedicated volunteers, most of whom have put their personal lives on hold to serve the American public.”
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 71 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.
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