Mich. Wing Transporting COVID-19 Test Kits
1st Lt. Bill VanderMolen
Public Affairs Officer
Maj. Kevin A. Adams Memorial Composite Squadron
The Michigan Wing has answered the call to help transport COVID-19 test kits and related supplies from Lansing to locations in the state’s Upper Peninsula.
The State Emergency Operations Center asked Civil Air Patrol to facilitate COVID-19 testing in remote areas of Michigan faster than traditional ground transport would allow. Aircrews from the Michigan Wing are flying the kits and supplies to and from Lansing, and state troopers are continuing the support with ground transport to specific locations.
Upon landing, the aircrews perform an exchange with the troopers, who were awaiting their arrival at the airports. The troopers receive fresh test kits and supplies to be distributed in the region, and the aircrews receive test kits to fly to labs in Lansing for processing.
“It’s an honor to be able to help with the nationwide effort to control the spread of the virus,” said Maj. Chris Ballard, a CAP aircrew member who participated in the mission. “Providing testing kits to more remote areas of the state is extremely important, and we are able to efficiently supplement the tremendous efforts of the Michigan State Police by using CAP airplanes and aircrew.” Ballard belongs to the Maj. Kevin A. Adams Memorial Composite Squadron, based in Ann Arbor.
Lt. Col. Chris Felton, a pilot on one mission, added, “It is always such a pleasure to fly for Civil Air Patrol. We are an organization of real professionals who volunteer both time and energy when our nation and communities need us most. Thank you to the Michigan State Police for trusting us to help in their important COVID-19 response.” Felton serves as the director of safety for CAP’s Great Lakes Region, which includes the Michigan Wing.
The State Emergency Operations center is overseen by the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division and coordinates response and recovery efforts by state agencies and local government. It’s staffed by members of state agencies for decision-making and information coordination during disasters or emergencies.
Acting as a Total Force partner and the official civilian auxiliary of the Air Force, 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.
The mission is in its second week, with flights to and from the Upper Peninsula scheduled on most days during that period. In the first week, about 2,000 kits were delivered to the remote regions. Almost 1,000 have been returned to Lansing so far for processing.