Capt. Ian Johnston of the Alabama Wing’s Huntsville Composite Squadron prepares for a flight as mission pilot during the Deepwater Horizon Response.
Photo by Capt. Phil Norris, Southeast Region
Maj. Patricia Mitcham
Public Affairs Officer
ALABAMA – Members of two north Alabama squadrons are among the Civil Air Patrol volunteers supporting the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response on the Gulf Coast.
Capt. Ande Boyer and 1st Lt. Phil Haberlen of the Alabama Wing’s Redstone Composite Squadron and 1st Lt. Ray Downward and Capt. Ian Johnston of the wing’s Huntsville Composite Squadron deployed recently as part of an aircrew in support of CAP’s oil spill response activities. To date, 40 members have been involved in the response, contributing more than 3,000 man-hours to the mission.
CAP’s 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.
Aircrews like the one from Huntsville are making 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. On an average day, the aircrews take from 2,400 to 3,600 digital images.
The images include critical information that planners are using to help determine their response to the spill, which began April 20.
All four officers in the local CAP aircrew are active members in the organization. Boyer serves as deputy commander for the Redstone squadron and as director of emergency services for the Alabama Wing. Johnston is deputy commander of the Huntsville squadron, while Downward is the unit’s logistics officer and personnel officer. Haberlen serves as the Redstone squadron’s emergency services officer and finance officer.