Civil Air Patrol Relocates Assets in Anticipation of Hurricane Matthew

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Florida, Georgia wings move 19 planes from coastal areas

Members of the Florida Wing and their counterparts in other Civil Air Patrol wings along the Atlantic Coast are busy preparing for the impact and potential aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, a Category 3 storm expected to make landfall in the Bahamas on Thursday and skirt the Florida coastline on Friday.

“Florida Wing has done a wonderful job getting out front and ahead of the storm,” said Col. Barry Melton, CAP’s Southeast Region commander. “Seventeen Florida Wing aircraft were successfully relocated to the Panhandle yesterday, and nightly HURCON teleconferences have been taking place since last Saturday evening. Georgia Wing is relocating their two coastal aircraft today.”

As Matthew made landfall in Haiti on Tuesday, the Florida Wing upgraded its military hurricane condition status to HURCON4. The upgrade from HURCON3 comes with an expectation the eastern coastline of the state will experience 50-knot or greater winds within the next 72 hours.

“The Florida Wing leadership continues to monitor the situation closely, executing plans detailed in the wing’s hurricane plan. Aircrews are being identified for potential asset relocation while qualified response personnel prepare equipment for potential post disaster response,” said Lt. Col. Robert Sims, also of the Southeast Region, in a message on the Florida Wing website.

The Southeast Region staff, along with wing commanders and their staffs in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, are scheduled to begin readiness teleconferences tonight.

“These wings stand ready to assist the Florida and Georgia wings,” said Melton. “Southeast Region is prepared to stand up an Area Command to coordinate resources if needed.”

Several states in CAP’s Middle East Region are also in the storm’s path. South Carolina and North Carolina wing leaders plan to provide personnel for their states’ emergency operations centers, beginning this weekend.

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 http://www.capvolunteernow.com for more information

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Steve Cox

Julie DeBardelaben
Civil Air Patrol
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