Civil Air Patrol takes flight to Denver

More than 500 Civil Air Patrol members are headed to Denver Aug. 15-17 for the U.S. Air Force auxiliary’s Annual Conference.

In the Mile High City, CAP members will focus on CAP’s increasing role in defending America, according to officials.

“Our direct support to the Department of Defense and our defense support to civil authorities are expanding exponentially,” said CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Chuck Carr. “We want to call special attention to the ways our unpaid professionals contribute to our nation’s defense.”

In its role as the official Air Force auxiliary, CAP is a force-multiplier, not only for the Air Force but also for other branches of the uniformed services, as well as federal and state governments. In the past year, CAP’s contributed man-hours topped $155 million.

“Many of those contributed hours were spent performing defense-related missions for America,” said Carr. “Two missions that stood out were our responses to Hurricane Sandy and to the Oklahoma tornadoes.”

Working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, several states and other relief agencies, Carr said CAP members from 20 wings in the organization’s Northeast, Middle East and Great Lakes regions “performed magnificently” in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked havoc on much of the Eastern Seaboard.

“Aircrews and image evaluation teams on the ground captured and processed a CAP record 158,000 digital photos of Sandy’s destruction,” said Carr, adding that the aerial photo review process for this mission was streamlined through crowdsourcing, using 6,000 volunteers – many of them CAP members – to access images placed on a website created for that purpose. “This effort helped FEMA and other emergency management agencies respond faster and more effectively than ever before.”

Carr said CAP’s photo skills were put to work again when two powerful tornadoes swept through Oklahoma on consecutive days in May. Again working with FEMA, many of the more than 100 adults and cadets involved in CAP’s response to the Oklahoma tornadoes went block-to-block, lot-to-lot to photograph 14,000 home sites and other properties damaged by the storms.

“This mission, like the Hurricane Sandy mission last fall, drew rave reviews, showing the vast capabilities of our members,” said Carr.

Among special guests for the conference, to be held at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, is retired Air Force Gen. Stephen R. Lorenz, who will lend his perspectives on leadership during the CAP annual banquet. Lorenz currently serves as president and chief executive officer of the United States Air Force Academy Endowment.

CAP members will be honored for their service during an Awards Recognition ceremony on Aug. 17. Honorees include Cadet of the Year Cadet Lt. Col. Sara Fishbein of Ohio and Senior Member of the Year Lt. Col. Willard F. Gordon of California. Several CAP units will also be recognized, including the New Mexico Wing’s Albuquerque Heights Composite Squadron, which was selected as the 2013 Squadron of Distinction.

Members will attend seven preconference workshops Aug 13-14 customized to fulfill their professional development needs. Many of the workshops focus on new CAP technology, such as operation of the auxiliary’s new Geospatial Information Interoperability Exploitation Portable go-kits, which feature self-contained communications equipment and other hardware that allows for real time or near-real time full-motion video, digital imagery and in-flight chat capability. A Cessna G1000 Ground School is scheduled as well. In addition, 40-plus learning labs are planned for Aug. 16-17. The seminars target topics of interest to members, such as disaster relief, finance, homeland security, communications, safety, cadet programs, aerospace education and public affairs.

Aug. 17 will be Cadet Day, offering 12- to 20-year-old members an opportunity to find out how to get selected for the U.S. Air Force Academy, build and operate robots and learn about remote-controlled aircraft.

For more information: GoCivilAirPatrol.com

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