Okla. Wing Deemed Mission-Ready By CAP-USAF Evaluators
Lt. Col. Johanna Augustine
Public Information Officer
Oklahoma Wing Operations Evaluation
Neither rain, nor cold, nor dark of day could stop the Oklahoma Wing from performing its duties assigned by the Civil Air Patrol-U.S. Air Force evaluation team. After four days of evaluating the wing’s resources and responsiveness to tasking, the CAP-USAF team deemed the wing ready to perform all Air Force-assigned missions.
Lt. Col. Rick Woolfolk, Southwest Region director of operations, took the helm as incident commander for the biennial evaluation. Woolfolk and the deputy incident commander, Col. David L. Roberts Jr., Oklahoma Wing commander, led the 93 members through various scenarios that could happen or have happened in Oklahoma.
As a storm headed for Oklahoma under one scenario, wing members began coordinating with state officials to photograph key infrastructure subject to stress by flooding. Aircrews were dispatched to photograph bridges, dams, train trestles, power stations and water treatment plants in and around Ardmore, Prague, Ponca City and Shawnee.
After torrential rains swept through northern Oklahoma, the central and eastern areas of the state experienced catastrophic flooding. The morning of March 30, aircrews were once again tasked to take aerial photographs of key infrastructure.
This time, though, Mother Nature intervened for real. The weather turned cold and blustery, and the sky was dark and gray over Norman, raising concerns that aircrews wouldn’t be able to fly. But after a few hours the clouds lifted enough for the wing members to take to the air and complete their assigned missions.
As the evaluation continued, a ground team was dispatched to find a simulated missing aircraft while another was sent to find a missing person. Two additional ground teams assisted on both missions, which ended successfully.
Another aircrew was tasked to deliver needed blood to Ardmore. Wing members were evaluated on how quickly the plane was launched and whether they successfully transported the blood and passenger to Ardmore.
Woolfolk, the incident commander, was pleased with the results of the evaluation. The CAP-USAF team determined that the Oklahoma Wing was mission-ready in all aspects and found no deficiencies.
“It has been my experience that usually there are a couple of recommendations for additional training or effort needed on different parts of the effort,” Woolfolk said. “I see these zero deficiencies as being a really big deal for the Oklahoma Wing.”
Lt. Col. David McCollum, wing director of emergency services, served as the planning section chief for the evaluation. During their team debrief, the CAP-USAF evaluators continually stressed how impressed they were with the wing’s sense of urgency while staying aware of the challenges posed by the weather.
Four wing members were recognized for their outstanding contribution to the evaluation. Lt. Col. Aric Holly, Southwest Region CAP-USAF commander, presented a coin to McCollum and:
- Lt. Col. Aaron E. Oliver, Oklahoma City Composite Squadron commander
- 1st Lt. Gregory R. Sturge, Starbase Composite Squadron deputy commander for seniors and wing director of communications
- Cadet Airman 1st Class Margaret M. Painter, Cleveland County Composite Squadron.
Roberts, the Oklahoma Wing commander, was extremely pleased with the results. “The wing has always excelled in operations, and I knew our team would bear that out,” he said.
“Lt. Col. Woolfolk did an outstanding job in allowing the volunteers to show what they could do.”