TINKER AFB, OK – Oklahoma Wing of Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is currently flying photographic damage assessment missions in the eastern part of the state following last week’s record-breaking rainfall. This follows an intensive spring and early summer when the wing flew numerous sorties to provide high-resolution images of infrastructures impacted by flooding and tornados to the State of Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM).
“We are using aircraft and aircrew based in Tulsa and Muskogee to survey and document flooding and associated impacts along the Arkansas and Illinois Rivers,”
said CAP Lt. Col. Aaron Oliver, Oklahoma Wing director of operations. “We are also using an airplane and crew from Norman to document the impact on the Lake Eufala area. By the time we are finished, we will have provided images to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management of flood impacts from the Miami area south all the way to Broken Bow, an area of approximately 12,000 square miles.”
The current mission follows a very busy spring and summer for the wing, flying 90 air sorties for a total of 235 flight hours and providing more than 5,000 high-resolution damage assessment images to the Department of Emergency Management.
“Civil Air patrol is an invaluable resource in Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood. “By providing aerial photographs after flooding and winter weather, Civil Air Patrol helps the state more quickly assess damage left by the storms so we are able to better support impacted communities.”
“Storm damage assessment is one of the high-profile missions that we regularly perform, along with disaster relief, homeland security and search and rescue,” said Oklahoma Wing Commander Col. Dale Newell. “But we do much more than that. Civil Air Patrol administers one of the finest youth programs in the country, the Cadet Program, where young men and women are taught leadership, core values, character development, aerospace education and physical fitness. Approximately 10 percent of all U.S. Air Force Academy cadets got their start in our cadet program while Civil Air Patrol cadet officers (the top 15 percent of all cadets) are eligible to enter the Air Force as an Airman First Class upon enlistment.”
Newell added, “We may be an all-volunteer organization, but the nearly 800 members of the Oklahoma Wing are highly trained unpaid professionals, dedicated to serving their state and country.”