Maj. Patricia Mitcham
Public Affairs Officer
NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS -- Seven Alabama Wing staff members are among the Civil Air Patrol members supporting the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response on the Gulf Coast.
Majs. John Neil of Birmingham and David Hester of Ashland served as CAP incident commanders. Maj. Anthony Beresford of Madison worked as an incident staff member and served as part of an aircrew. Maj. Gary Bishop of Tuscaloosa and Capts. Ande Boyer of Huntsville and Donnie Todd of Pell City deployed as an aircrew and mission staff. Capt. Carl Hultin of Lillian is providing continual communication support for staff and air crews.
Hultin serves as a communications officer for the wing. Neil is the wing’s director of operations, Hester the director of communications, Bishop the assistant inspector general, Todd the standardizations and evaluation officer for flight crews, Beresford the chief of staff and Boyer the director of emergency services.
To date, 98 CAP volunteers have supported the response, contributing more than 5,600 man-hours to the mission.
CAP’s critical Gulf Coast mission has included flying VIPs over coastal waters to get a look at the integrity of oil containment barriers, transporting vital mission equipment, collecting data and flying shoreline photo reconnaissance missions.
Volunteers like these from across Alabama make daily flights over 700 miles of shoreline from Louisiana to Florida and taking digital images of the oil containment barriers and adjacent land area near the shoreline possible by working as staff or being on an air crew or both.
On an average day, the aircrews take from 2,400 to 3,600 digital images. The images represent critical information planners are using to help determine their response to the spill, which began April 20.