17:37 PM

Post-Dorian Aerial Search, Impact Assessment Flights Begin for S.C. Wing

1st Lt. Rachael Mercer
Public Affairs Officer
South Carolina Wing

As the sun rose over South Carolina today, three red, white and blue Civil Air Patrol planes took off from airports across the state with grid patterns in hand for flights in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

Their mission: Perform a uniform search to identify any situations requiring rescues. Aircrews are also taking damage assessment photos for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and others to use in gauging the storm’s impact and planning the most effective response.

“South Carolina Wing personnel departed inland bases today and arrived on the coast at first light to perform search and rescue operations,” said Lt. Col. Chris Peterson, the wing’s incident commander. “Once confirmed search and rescue was not required, the aircrews transitioned to impact assessment of key infrastructure items, which was relayed to FEMA and the state (Emergency Operations Center).”

The search grids for the South Carolina Wing aircrews stretched from the Savannah River at the Georgia-South Carolina border all the way north to the South Carolina-North Carolina border. During the search, aircrews also took note of flooding, damage to homes and impassible roads.

Meanwhile, more than 50 wing cadets and senior members in Columbia reported for their first day of service at Mission Base in Wing Headquarters near Columbia Metropolitan Airport. They’re supporting the pilots in the air by operating a communications network statewide, setting up computer networks for uploading the thousands of photographs that will be taken throughout the Dorian response and planning for future operations.

CAP members in North Carolina are standing by after Dorian made landfall on the state’s Outer Banks early this morning. North Carolina Wing aircrews expect to fly on similar missions Saturday, weather permitting.

Photos by 1st Lt. Norwood Bodie, Aiken Composite Squadron, South Carolina Wing