Alabama Wing aerial photos taken Friday dramatically illustrate the devastation wrought by a tornado that plowed through (2-4) Tuscaloosa and (1, 4-6) Jefferson counties two days earlier.
Lt. Col. Susan A. Romano,
Office of Public Affairs
Continental United States NORAD Region
1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern)
Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.
In an effort to assist those affected by the tornadoes that swept through the Southeast last week, Civil Air Patrol is flying over areas with major devastation to provide photographs for first responders and state and local officials to use in assessing damage to the region.
Pilots from Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia wings have captured aerial photographs of the affected localities while also providing airborne communication support as needed.
To date, CAP has made 20 flights, shot more than 2,000 high-quality photos and provided nine aircraft – each with a pilot, observer and scanner aboard.
“It’s important to remember that CAP pilots participate in Air Force missions strictly on a voluntary basis,” said Mark Obrien, CAP liaison officer for Air Forces Northern at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. “In instances like these, when people’s lives and homes are at stake, it goes without saying that the generous and selfless nature of our CAP pilots comes immediately to the forefront, and we often find ourselves with more volunteers than actual assigned missions.
“It’s a clear example of the caliber of people who volunteer their time and energy to the Air Force auxiliary.”
CAP, in its role as the Air Force auxiliary, performs its missions for the Department of Defense, federal agencies or state and local authorities when federal or national-level interest or assistance is requested. When federalized, CAP lies under the operational control of the Joint Forces Air Component commander, Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean.
“We stand ready to support any state or local agency that may need our assistance,” Dean said, noting that CAP “is one of many assets my organization has available to help out during natural disasters.
“Currently, we have our emergency preparedness liaison officers from the affected states on standby should the call from a governor or parish president come to us.
“We hope our fellow American citizens who have been so deeply affected by these storms know they have our support, prayers and hope for a rapid recovery,” he said.