16:33 PM

Middle East Region Members Serve as FEMA National Center Liaison Officers

11 Fill Role So Far at Natl. Response Coordination Center in D.C.

As Civil Air Patrol continues its missions in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and turns its attention to the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, a group of CAP members continue around-the-clock support at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Response Coordination Center at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Manning CAP’s desk at the center as laison officers, the group works with other Department of Defense liaison officers, providing advice and coordination thorough FEMA, 1st  Air Force and CAP’s National Operations Center at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

The NRCC began 24-hour operations Aug. 25. Col. John Knowles, Middle East Region commander, worked the first shift as CAP liaison officer, beginning continuous support to the coordination efforts now shifting to focus on Irma.

Making things more challenging, CAP’s 2017 National Conference took place Aug. 29-Sept. 3 in San Antonio, just as Harvey recovery efforts were kicking into high gear. Several of the CAP leaders who typically serve as liaison officers were required to travel to Texas for the conference, leaving gaps to fill.Col. Jerry Weiss, Middle East Region vice commander, stepped in to coordinate the manning of CAP’s desk at FEMA, recruiting additional members to serve as liaison officers.

All of the liaison officers assigned to FEMA have many years of experience in emergency services, and most hold such ratings such as CAP Incident Commander Level 1.

Along with Knowles and Weiss, as of today the following have stepped up to help coordinate CAP’s response to Hurricane Harvey with federal agencies:

  • Col .James Covel, Virginia Wing emergency services training officer
  • Col. Gene Egry, Middle East Region chief of staff
  • Col. Bruce Heinlein, Middle East vice commander
  • Col. Rick Moseley, Virginia Wing adviser to the commander
  • Col. Larry Trick, Middle East character development instructor
  • Lt. Col. Wes Lapre, Maryland Wing critical incident stress management officer
  • Lt. Col. Clay Wilkins, Middle East disaster relief officer
  • Maj. Nick Rushizky, Virginia Wing safety officer
  • Maj. Rick Stuart, Middle East Region deputy chief of staff for emergency services and operations

When Vice President Mike Pence toured the center during a visit recorded by C-SPAN, Stuart was on hand to tell him about CAP's involvement in the mission.