A Maryland Wing aerial photo shows heavy flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Lt. Col. Jim Steinmeier, communications officer for the Fort McHenry Composite Squadron and former Maryland Wing deputy commander for seniors, mans the CAP desk at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Operations Center in Reistertown. At the state agency's request, wing members began around-the-clock staffing of the desk at noon Sunday.
While touring the Delaware Emergency Management Agency’s emergency operation center in Smyrna, Gov. Jack Markell (right) takes a moment Tuesday to visit with Capt. Richard Hamm, Delaware Wing public affairs officer. Seated beside Hamm are Capt. Richard Foxx (left), Tri-State Cadet Squadron commander, and Maj. Brian Schmidt, wing director of emergency services.
The Fort McHenry squadron's Steinmeier briefs Maj. Mike Crockett, Maryland Wing Group 1 deputy commander, as the latter begins his shift at the EOC’s CAP desk.
Capt. Rick Stuart, Carroll Composite Squadron deputy commander for seniors, starts his EOC shift.
Lt. Col. Bill Parris, Maryland Wing vice commander, oversees preparations at Martin State Airport, staging area for the wing’s air operations.
Lt. Col. Chris Howell, Group II commander, prepares the staff roster for operations at Martin State Airport.
Col. Kay Joslin Walling
Public Affairs Officer
Capt. Richard S. Hamm
Public Affairs Officer
MIDDLE EAST REGION — The Maryland Wing began photo imaging flights today to document Hurricane Sandy's damage in Calvert County and along the Chesapeake Bay shoreline, while the Delaware Wing's imagery flights for the Federal Emergency Management Agency entered a second day.
Meanwhile, along with those two Middle East Region wings, Civil Air Patrol's National Operations Center reports that five Northeast Region wings are flying Hurricane Sandy relief missions – Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island..
At first light this morning, Lt. Col. John Henderson, the Maryland Wing’s homeland security officer, flew Christina Macey of the Calvert County Emergency Operations Center over specific points of critical infrastructure in the county; CAP's photographs will be compared with baseline photographs of the same area to determine the extent of the damage. The photos were taken by Majs. Jim Schmidt and Jeff Koubek, the Harford Composite Squadron’s communications and assistant communications officers, respectively.
North of Maryland, three Delaware Wing mission pilots – Majs. Bob Buccino, wing director of operations; Ray Stone, wing counterdrug officer; and 1st Lt. Steve Cannon, assistant operations officer for the Coastal Patrol Base 2 Memorial Composite Squadron – began flying out of Dover Air Force Base and New Castle County, Summit and Sussex County airports late Tuesday afternoon. They continued flying until low visibility that evening prevented further photography.
The Delaware Wing flights, expected to continue through Friday, are concentrating on roads and bridges and providing images to access routes encumbered by trees, mud, water, electrical wires or other obstacles. FEMA will use the photos to assess storm damage and to allocate the resources needed to restore the roadway infrastructure.
In Maryland, Capts. Marty Sacks, assistant operations officer for Group 2, and John Ralph, Bowie Composite Squadron commander, will fly imagery missions today to provide the state Emergency Management Agency with damage assessment photos of the Chesapeake Bay shoreline as well as areas around Ocean City on the Atlantic coast.
The hardest-hit areas -- including the barrier islands and the Atlantic coastline from the Delaware to the Virginia state lines; the west side of Chesapeake Bay from Gunpowder Falls to Dundalk, Baltimore Harbor and Riviera Beach; and the west side of Chesapeake Bay from Green Haven through Annapolis and to Chesapeake Beach -- are designated as top priority.
The Maryland Wing will also take photographs of Kent Island, the eastern shoreline in Talbot County, the eastern shoreline of Dorchester County and the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay from Chesapeake Beach south to California, in St. Mary’s County. The final sortie will cover the southern part of Chesapeake Bay, including Deal Island south to Crisfield, the islands west of that area and north along the coast to Taylor’s Island.
The Maryland sorties are expected to continue through Friday, when the Susquehanna River is expected to crest.
"These flights provide a critical service to the state of Maryland in determining infrastructure needs and problems in real time," said Col. John Knowles, Maryland Wing commander. "I salute the members of the Maryland Wing for the innumerable ways in which they have stepped up in this crisis, from setting up a staging area and conducting flights to repositioning aircraft and manning the state EOC."
Along with aerial imagery missions, the Delaware Wing also provided 24-hour emergency radio coverage at the state Emergency Management Agency from Oct. 28-Oct. 30, as Sandy was bearing down on the area. The coverage included operation of a statewide radio net with regularly scheduled check-ins.
That support also included high-frequency communications in case the emergency reached a point where the normal communications infrastructure was unavailable.
“The Delaware Wing participates in homeland security and disaster response exercises that tests the readiness of local, state and national organizations responding to national-level emergencies, including both natural disasters and terrorism incidents,” said Col. William “Ziggy” Bernfeld, wing commander.
“The support the wing is providing in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is the type of activity our members are trained to support, and they are doing an excellent job.”
For full coverage of CAP's role in the response to the superstorm, check VolunteerNow's Hurricane Sandy page.