Wings' Plans Take Shape as Irma Approaches Fla.
Saturday, September 9, 2017
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Photo Caption:
Aircrew taxi during aircraft relocation sortie in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

By Lt. Col. Andrew Oppmann, Southeast Region
Maxwell AFB, Ala.--
As Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida, Southeast Region commanders focused Friday on readiness for disaster relief response once the massive storm again makes landfall.

Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, slammed by Irma on Wednesday, six volunteers from mainland CAP units were deployed Friday to provide support for the wing's aerial assessments and photography missions for federal relief agencies.

Irma, now a Category 4 hurricane, is expected to reach Florida early Sunday, then travel north toward Georgia and on to Tennessee before losing strength. The storm is expected to cover all of Florida as it moves further inland.

“Our members are taking all necessary measures to protect their families and personal property, so they will be able to respond to the situation when called upon to do so,” said Col. Barry Melton, Southeast Region commander.

The Florida Wing’s commander, Col. Luis Garcia, said Friday afternoon his units were at HURCON 3 status, which calls for CAP facilities and assets to be secured for the storm no less than 24 hours before landfall.

Garcia also directed a review of the wing’s mutual aid and support agreements and said pilots, other members and equipment should be identified and deployed for relief missions as soon as it’s safe.

“All of our aircraft has been evacuated to the Florida Panhandle,” Garcia said. “All members are reporting they are prepared or are conducting final preparations.”
Irma packed a wallop to infrastructure in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as it traveled through the Caribbean.

Melton said CAP has restored communications with its Caribbean units but is limited by the availability of electricity.

On Friday, the Georgia Wing was getting ready for Irma after it passes out of the Florida Peninsula. If projections hold, the storm will take a path through the middle of Georgia toward Atlanta.

Col. Andrea Van Buren, Georgia Wing commander, said her Irma team has developed three plans for relief deployment, with possible mission base locations selected for CAP planes depending on landfall scenarios.

“Depending upon projections, one of those game plans will be executed and assets staged,” Van Buren said.

“Then, we batten the hatches until it’s safe and we are called to serve.”
Article Information
Reviewed by: Lt. Col. Judy Steele
Syndicated to: Region Hq, Alabama Wing, Florida Wing, Georgia Wing, Mississippi Wing, Tennessee Wing, Puerto Rico Wing
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Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of 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 and 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 for more information.
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