1st Lt. John Brown (right) of the Singing River Composite Squadron, mission pilot, plans the day’s flight with Kevin Posey (left) of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and Darrin Stewart of the Department of Marine Resources, who’s also a first lieutenant in the Col. Berta A. Edge Composite Squadron.
A containment boom installed to protect the waterway inlet in Hancock County washed ashore by high winds and wave action.
Containment and protection booms surround a destroyer docked at the Northrop Grumman shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss.
Vessels move quickly to deploy and reposition containment booms installed between the northeast tip of Deer Island (visible at the top of the image) and the city of Ocean Springs, Miss.
CAP aircraft stand ready for pre-damage assessment and imagery flights along the Mississippi Coast.
Col. Becky Tilton
Public Affairs Officer
MISSISSIPPI – The Mississippi Wing has launched pre-damage assessment flights for the state’s Department of Marine Resources and Department of Environmental Quality as a gigantic oil spill in the Gulf Mexico creeps closer to the Mississippi Coast.
The flights along the Magnolia State’s shoreline began Monday from Civil Air Patrol’s Mississippi Wing mission base in Gulfport. Aerial video and photos taken by a state employee who is also a mission scanner in the Col. Berta A. Edge Composite Squadron will be used by state officials to assess potential damage from the spill, triggered by a deadly oil rig explosion about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana.
To date, the wing has made six flights totaling more than 17 hours.
“We have a long-established working relationship with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources,” said Capt. David A. “Hank” Rogers, the wing’s emergency services officer. “They knew immediately that CAP was the single best asset available for this mission. We have been able to provide flights as needed and with minimal response time. The training really pays off at times like these.”
Employees from the two state agencies are getting a firsthand look at the oil spill area and checking on placement of oil containment booms designed to protect the Mississippi coastline and barrier islands. The flights are also allowing officials to assess potential impact zones and to plan for future containment measures.
Daily flights will continue throughout the month as requested by the agencies.
Rogers is mission coordinator for the CAP flights. Serving on aircrews are:
- Mississippi Wing Headquarters — Maj. Keith Riddle, inspector general.
- Col. Berta A. Edge Composite Squadron — 1st Lt. Darrin Stewart, officer for safety and for transportation.
- Diamondhead Composite Squadron — Maj. Gary Hornosky, commander.
- Singing River Composite Squadron— Maj. Danny Watson, commander, and 1st Lt. John Brown, maintenance officer.