Md., National Capital Wing Members Assist in Coronavirus Missions
1st Lt. Jeffrey Robertson
Public Affairs Officer
Civil Air Patrol’s volunteers are providing multifaceted support for Maryland’s COVID-19 response.
Since commencing activities on March 23, 95 members from both the Maryland and National Capital wings have stepped forward and contributed more than 2,800 hours in volunteer support of Maryland communities. Some have driven 55 miles one-way to join assigned support teams, with many volunteering multiple times.
As COVID-19 response mission requirements evolved, Maryland Wing teams have adjusted their tempo from initially augmenting emergency operations centers with personnel trained in plans, operations and logistics, and have added personal protective equipment (PPE) delivery services across Montgomery County to respective operations portfolios. For several weeks now, Civil Air Patrol white vans have been a welcome sight at many local nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals and medical clinics.
“I am in awe of the outpouring of generosity and service of our members,” said Col. John Knowles, one of the Maryland Wing’s mission incident commanders. “The support staff led by Lt. Col. John Henderson, Maryland Wing vice commander, and Lt. Col. Bob Midkiff, Maryland Wing emergency services officer, have ensured that when volunteer resources are requested, our people show up. Maryland Wing Commander Col. Wes LaPre has been supportive of all received requests and volunteered his time to work alongside our warehouse team for a day.”
Since Montgomery County’s pandemic response activities commenced, its Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) has delivered over 3½ million pieces of PPE. Maryland Wing members have had a hand in each one of these deliveries. The wing continues to support the logistics mission through providing needed staffing and logistics planning skills at its warehouse. Often, allocated support is provided seven days a week.
In coordination with Montgomery County leaders, the wing has established an internship opportunity for high school- and college-aged cadets within the county DHHS. As part of this program, qualified cadets function in a dual CAP and DHSS capacity and agree to commit to serving up to three days per week over four to eight weeks.
As interns, cadets learn emergency management-oriented processes and techniques from CAP senior members and DHHS personnel while assisting with PPE deliveries and distribution, warehouse management and additional tasks, as needed.
The Maryland Wing, with the support of the National Capital Wing, is also assisting with traffic control at three COVID-19 testing locations across Montgomery County. Over a thousand vehicles pass through these three locations each week without incident.
In addition to Montgomery County’s pandemic response efforts, the Maryland Wing is also supporting the Maryland National Guard at a food distribution point in Baltimore. In this capacity, wing members, working in four- to seven-person teams, are assisting the Guard with receiving bulk deliveries, repackaging and distributing donated items. This five-day-per-week operation began May 7 and distributes over 2,600 meals per week to those in need within the greater Baltimore region.
Acting as a Total Force partner and the Air Force auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol is aligned with First Air Force to rapidly respond to non-military threats domestically when tasked in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance.