Ky. Wing Participates in Eclipse Activity Response
Mission Focuses on Hopkinsville
Kentucky Wing members helped ensure that Great American Eclipse-related activity around Hopkinsville – which laid claim to being the closest city on Earth to the celestial wonder – remained under control over the weekend and through Monday evening.
The wing worked with Kentucky Emergency Management in anticipation of the extremely large crowds expected at numerous venues and camping and viewing areas in and near the southwest Kentucky city..
The three Civil Air Patrol planes and aircrew the Kentucky Wing based at Muhlenberg County Airport flew route and event location sorties over four days. High-bird communications were on standby in case local emergency management ground personnel had to be deployed for any reason.
Seven wing members also worked at the Regional Response Coordination Center in Hopkinsville. Members under the direction of Lt. Col. Wilson Polidura, logistics officer and air operations branch director, were assigned to oversee all air operations and coordinated flights with CAP, Kentucky State Police, Louisville Metro Police and the Kentucky Department of Aviation.
Lt. Col. Jaimie Henson, public information officer, worked with multiple agencies at the Joint Information Center ensuring other agencies and the public had the most up-to-date information regarding routes, event traffic and health and safety issues.
Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton visited the coordination center for a briefing after the eclipse. Hampton is commander of the Kentucky Wing’s Legislative Squadron.
“This was a critical mission for western Kentucky,” said Maj. Keith Clapp, incident commander. “The CAP personnel involved were some of our most highly qualified and performed seamlessly in their duties with their agency counterparts.”
State Emergency Management officials praised the members’ efforts, saying the wing’s knowledge, experience and assets were invaluable in helping ensure a safe weekend for those who visited the area for the eclipse.