Hurricane Season Spurs Multiple La. Wing Missions
Lt. Col. Amos Plante
Chief of Staff
The Louisiana Wing recently capped a busy hurricane support season that began in late July with Hurricane Hanna, which was followed by hurricanes Laura, Sally, Beta, Delta and Zeta.
For much of the three-month period, Louisiana Wing members flew photo-gathering missions over wind- and flood-battered areas of southwest and central Louisiana under the direction of Air Forces Northern.
After hurricanes Laura and Delta, the wing delivered more than 2,730 high-resolution aerial photographs taken with precision cameras with embedded GPS capabilities.
“We provided the services in response to Department of Defense-approved requests from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP),” said the wing’s commander, Col. Patrick Yglesias.
The wing also used a new high-tech system consisting of strut-mounted cameras and interconnecting navigation equipment in three of its Civil Air Patrol airplanes. Using that system, aircrews collected and delivered over 7,530 gigabytes of photographic data incorporated into 210,900 very high-definition images, Yglesias said.
Louisiana Wing aircrews captured photo data and images involving almost 440 square miles of storm-afflicted area. In doing so, they flew 142 sorties totaling 317 hours of flight time in nine planes using 15 airports. Nine of the wing’s fleet of ground vehicles were involved as well.
The wing also conducted overview flights providing representatives of FEMA, GOHSEP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with first-hand views of the hurricane damage to help guide recovery efforts.
“This hurricane season has been a test of our readiness, skills and endurance,” Yglesias said. “I’m very pleased that we exceeded that test in all counts.”
Acting as a Total Force partner and the Air Force auxiliary, CAP helps First Air Force rapidly respond to nonmilitary threats domestically in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance.
“We send well wishes and hope for swift recovery conditions for the people in Louisiana who are suffering the effects of an intense hurricane season,” said Lt. Gen. Kirk Pierce, commander, 1st Air Force, Air Forces Northern. “Our highly dedicated Air Force auxiliary conducted a vital role as CAP flew imagery missions to enable emergency responders to support those in need.
"I’m proud of CAP’s professionalism and proficiency in support of U.S. Northern Command to assist civil authorities.”