15:11 PM

Middle East Region Ready to Respond Quickly after Florence Landfall

Civil Air Patrol’s Middle East Region has stood up an area command post so it can quickly support the CAP wings expected to bear the brunt of Hurricane Florence, including North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Region members from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia also reported to Federal Emergency Management Agency Headquarters to man the National Response Coordination Center. The center went to Level 2 activation, requiring all liaisons to report on Tuesday. It is now at level 1, the highest level to support the communities and residents expected to be affected by Florence.

Col. John Knowles, Middle East Region commander, said, “I am proud of our airmen who are standing ready to take on whatever missions we are tasked to support, upholding our motto of Semper Vigilans.”

The North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia wings have been relocating aircraft to inland hangars, including U.S. Air Force bases within the Mid-Atlantic states. First Air Force and CAP-USAF have been coordinating support for these missions.

CAP members in the Carolinas are serving at their states’ Emergency Operations Centers. Members of the North Carolina Wing also are staffing the state Department of Emergency Management’s Regional Coordination Center-East in Kinston and Regional Coordination Center-Central in Butner.

In addition, North Carolina Wing personnel are moving disaster relief supplies from Clayton to communities around the eastern part of the Tar Heel State to support FEMA’s Points of Distribution system. That activity will continue after Hurricane Florence, with members handing out needed supplies for those affected by the storm.

Col. R. Jason Bailey, wing commander, said CAP members in his state are ready to serve. “As Hurricane Florence bears down on North Carolina, our members have secured their families and property so they can deploy for days at a time to help others,” he said. “This is truly what Civil Air Patrol is about.”

South Carolina Wing aircrews, meanwhile, continued to fly evacuation route surveys for the Palmetto State. These surveys ensure any vehicle or obstruction is identified and reported to proper agencies on the ground to keep traffic flowing. That has become increasingly important with overnight forecasts that Florence is likely to dip southward once it hits the mainland near the North Carolina-South Carolina border.

On the ground, South Carolina Wing members are working in conjunction with the aircrews to ensure continuous communication during the evacuation flights, which are expected to continue through Thursday.

Knowles said the Middle East Region area command post has been coordinating requests for resources from the affected areas, lining up wings to support missions once the storm passes and reaching out to adjoining CAP regions — the Southeast and Northeast regions — for future needs.

Other wings in the Middle East Region — West Virginia, Maryland, National Capital and Delaware — have offered tie-down space for aircraft as needed and have also been working with their state Emergency Operations Centers.