U.S. Coast Guard Honors Connecticut Wing for Critical Air Support in FY18
By Lt. Col. Andrew Liput
Government Relations Advisor
Civil Air Patrol’s Connecticut Wing has been awarded the U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Merit “for exemplary performance through its critical role in supporting Coast Guard operations” during the past fiscal year.
The Certificate of Merit, presented Oct. 13 at the wing’s annual conference in Middletown, surprised Wing Commander Col. Jim A. Ridley, who accepted the award. It was presented by Lt. Cmdr. Michael Friend and Lt. Bradley Nelson of the Coast Guard’s Long Island Sound Sector Command on behalf of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the commandant of the Coast Guard.
The letter of explanation accompanying the citation for the award was read aloud by Friend to all in attendance, including CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, Chief Operating Officer John Salvador and members of the command team of the Northeast Region, led by Col. Jack Ozer.
The letter cited the extremely close rapport the Coast Guard and wing have developed over the past few years and the professionalism and skill the aircrews of the wing have displayed in the performance of their duties, noting they are always ready to launch at a moment’s notice when needed and often did in 2018.
It concluded by stating, “The Connecticut Wing’s actions are most heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest standards of public service.”
The partnership between the Coast Guard and the wing resulted in two highly successful CAP missions in 2018. Under a grant from the state’s Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the wing provided aerial reconnaissance of the Long Island Sound in the summer and of the inland waterways during the winter.
The missions, while benefiting the state, were managed by the Coast Guard’s Long Island Sector command.
Wing aircrews flew over 120 hours of recon sorties in support of the Coast Guard’s ice breaking efforts on Connecticut’s rivers in the winter. During the summer, they flew 162 hours providing invaluable support to the Coast Guard by patrolling the Long Island Sound from the air.
Ridley said, “I am very proud of our members. They are professionals and they train all year in preparation for such missions.”
Several of the aircrew members who patrol the Long Island Sound, including 1st Lt. Brian Proulx, the officer who coordinated the sorties with the Coast Guard, were on hand for the presentation. Ridley, who earlier had presented Proulx with an award for his performance in 2018, said, “Brian was instrumental in the success of the mission we perform for the Coast Guard and he is a major reason why the wing was awarded this honor.”
The Coast Guard was not the only partner organization honoring the Connecticut Wing at the conference. Past and current state commanders with the Veterans of Foreign Wars also presented Ridley with a plaque in appreciation of the wing’s help in placing flags on the graves of veterans and providing color guards for Memorial Day.