Members of Civil Air Patrol’s Ohio and Indiana wings will take to the skies today, four days before the Super Bowl, as part of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region-1st Air Force’s exercise preparing fighters to protect the airspace around Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium, site of the football championship game.
The NORAD air defense exercise is set for 7 p.m.-9 p.m. to allow interagency partners to practice airspace violation procedures. The exercise consists of a series of training flights conducted in coordination with the FAA, Customs and Border Protection, and CONR’s Western Air Defense Sector, along with CAP.
Two CAP aircrews will be involved, with an Ohio Wing plane serving as an intercept target for a Customs and Border Protection aircraft and an Indiana Wing plane flying “highbird,” handling communications from the ground and other aircraft.
CONR officials have conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
With its participation in these missions, “CAP provides critical target support for our fighters, helping ensure continued security in the U.S,” said Mark OBrien, Civil Air Patrol-U.S. Air Force liaison to 1st Air Force.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years.
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