On October 7th, just short of a month after Irma struck and dealt a devastating blow to the Marco Island Senior Squadron (MICAP) hangar, the Squadron was operating from “temporary” facilities and launching its weekly Wilderness Waterway Coastal Patrol.
But that is not the total story, because now the real work begins - work that requires all the community help the squadron can get. Within the next few weeks, the destroyed hangar section of the Civil Air Patrol building at Marco Executive Airport will be cut away and removed. Once that has been accomplished, bids will be solicited for rebuilding the hangar.
Fourteen years ago, it was through the generosity of our community and CAP members that the building and hangar were successfully funded and erected. The resulting MICAP facility was the pride of the Florida Wing and envied by CAP Squadrons all over America.
"At the time of construction, the gold star standard was to build for a Cat 2 storm. Obviously, we’ll need to rebuild to current code specifications," said Marco Squadron Commander, Bob Corriveau.
Immediately after Irma left Florida, CAP aircraft were brought back into Florida and stationed at the Punta Gorda Airport performing aerial reconnaissance missions for FEMA in response to the Irma disaster. MICAP mission pilots and mission radio operators volunteered for these missions.
Meanwhile, back at the Marco Airport, arrangements were made for a temporary hangar was for the aircraft through the the generosity of squadron member 1st Lt. Bill Rodgers.
The CAP plane returned to MICAP on Sunday, October 1st. All hands were on deck during that first week of October to perform the following: wash and polish the plane to prepare it for further assignment and secure the plane in the temporary hangar.
The members also installed a temporary radio station and antenna at the south end of the airport terminal building. Under the direction of assistant communication officer, Major Jim Carrender, the communications system was tested and approved. This put the squadron on schedule and ready for the first coastal patrol mission scheduled for Saturday, the 7th.
“Communications are vital to our missions. Our aircraft needs to report its activity to mission base every 15 minutes, so without a radio station, missions cannot be performed,” explained Corriveau.
"Bringing the Squadron back to operational readiness would not have been accomplished without the untiring help and assistance of Collier County Airport Authority Manager Justin Lobb," said Corriveau.
Lobb commented, “we have a long and friendly relationship with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and will do whatever we can to facilitate their getting back to normal operations.”
Bob Boone - Dave Dumas - Bob Corriveau back on the job at temporary hangar
Jim Carrender puts up the temporary antenna
Dave Dumas - Justin Lobb - Bob Corriveau at the temporary communications room