09:11 AM

La. Wing Launches Damage Impact Photo Flights in Laura's Wake

The Louisiana Wing is flying damage assessment photo missions over storm-devastated areas in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.

On Sunday, three wing aircrews flew over areas the Federal Emergency Management Agency identified as targets, using specialized photographic and navigational equipment. A fourth aircrew flew over Alexandria, using conventional cameras to produce damage imagery requested by city emergency managers.

A fifth Civil Air Patrol plane served as high bird, flying at a relatively high altitude between the photo airplanes and their Baton Rouge mission base in order to serve as an aerial relay station for radio messages between the other planes and mission base.

“The weather gave us a break,” said Maj. Tracy Breithaupt, Louisiana Wing incident commander for the mission. “Our highly trained aircrews safely and successfully executed their flights today. We’ll be doing more tomorrow.”

Acting as a Total Force partner and the U.S. Air Force auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol is aligned with First Air Force to rapidly respond to nonmilitary threats domestically when tasked in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance.

"This mission illustrates the need for CAP to remain operationally ready, even during COVID, to support emergency services when called upon," said Brig. Gen. William D. Betts, 
vice commander, First Air Force, Air Forces Northern.

CAP’s Southwest Region has activated three incident command posts and one area command post to support state and local emergency management operations in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Over 100 CAP members have been activated to support hurricane-related missions as assigned by FEMA and state and local emergency services agencies in those three states.

A fourth command post will be established in Oklahoma.

All posts are being conducted online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our members never fail to respond,” said Col. Larry Mangum, area command incident commander. “It is a privilege and an honor to help guide their efforts.”