14:25 PM

N.Y. Air National Guard Wing Hails CAP for Reaper Escorts

The New York Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing has saluted Civil Air Patrol members for more than three years of service flying escorts for MQ-9 Reapers from Syracuse to the Fort Drum training area.

Lt. Col. Aaron Brown of the Air National Guard cited CAP’s 100% safety record during the escort mission, in which more than 250 CAP members participated. Flying four to six days a week, CAP aircrews ensured the Reapers – a remote piloted aircraft used worldwide – were operating properly and were safely escorted from the Syracuse airport to military operating areas as part of the U.S. Air Force Reaper Training Program for pilots and sensor operators,

Lt. Col. Bill Hughes of Northeast Region Headquarters was recognized for successfully managing the program for over 150 weeks.

Capt. Eric Classen, public affairs officer for the Massachusetts Wing’s Hanscom Composite Squadron, presented his painting of an escort flight to the 174th to express CAP’s thanks for being allowed to participate in such an important mission. With the permission of CAP's chief operating officer, John Salvador, Classen is making prints of the painting available for purchase online.

The CAP Appreciation Day was accompanied by the Air National Guard squadron’s official naming ceremony, with several members of the unit receiving their call signs.

Lt. Col. Tim Nelson, Massachusetts Wing director of operations, who flew 56 weeks during the escort mission, was given the official call sign “Sade.” He’s the only CAP member to ever receive an official call sign from the New York Air National Guard.