Civil Air Patrol Capt. Justin Ogden, whose work with cell phone forensics has helped save numerous lives, will receive the 2010 Distinguished Volunteer Public Benefit Flying Award next month at an awards ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.
The National Aeronautic Association, in partnership with the Air Care Alliance, a nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations, sponsors the awards, which honor men and women and organizations who fly for the benefit of others.
“Just as in years past, this year’s Public Benefit Flying honorees symbolize the very best of the people, organizations and equipment which make up the aviation community in America,” said Jonathan Gaffney, president and CEO of NAA and chairman of the Selection Committee. “These awards reflect the selflessness of our industry and the benefit it provides to people throughout our continent. We are very proud to be part of this program.”
Ogden, based in Arizona, is CAP’s national go-to resource for cell phone analysis. Combining his passion for electronics with his devotion to volunteering, he has developed a system for triangulating signals emanating from victims’ cell phones that help locate the sites of air crashes and missing persons. A valuable search-and-rescue tool for the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, Ogden, just 29 years old, has already participated in 77 searches, which resulted in 28 finds and 10 saved lives.
“I’m very excited about being this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Volunteer award,” said Ogden. “Having been nominated by CAP National Headquarters in the first place is very meaningful to me.”
Ogden has been a member of CAP since he was 12 years old. As a cadet and senior member working entirely as a volunteer — on his own time and at his own expense — he has combined his interests in electronics, CAP and community service to develop an analysis program that keeps pace with current technology and helps protect all Americans. “I enjoy contributing on searches where cellular forensics are involved,” he said. “It’s been a passion of mine for over four years now.”
Ogden attributes many positive things in his adult life to experiences as a cadet. “I’m grateful to be able to contribute something back to the organization, as I feel I’ve gotten so much out of CAP in my life,” he said. “Being selected as the recipient of the award takes the recognition to the next level.”
The Public Benefit Flying Awards were created in 2003 to honor volunteer pilots, other volunteers and their organizations engaged in flying to help others, and those supporting such work. Since then, dozens of awards have been presented at the celebratory Above and Beyond Awards Ceremony, held each fall at the U.S. Capitol. Previous recipients include CAP radar analyst Capt. Guy Loughridge, based in Colorado, who received the Distinguished Volunteer Award in 2007 and often works in tandem with Ogden, particularly in cases involving downed aircraft.
Besides Ogden, 2010 Public Benefit Flying award recipients include:
- Distinguished Volunteer Pilot – Gene Schmidt, Bahamas Habitat
- Outstanding Achievement in Public Benefit Flying – Bahamas Habitat
- Teamwork Award – all volunteer pilots and other volunteers conducting flights in support of the Haitian relief efforts.
The 2010 honorees will be recognized at a special invitation Public Benefit Flying “Above and Beyond” Awards Ceremony on Sept. 16, scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Lyndon B. Johnson Room of the U.S. Senate.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 60,000 members nationwide. 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 has been credited by the AFRCC with saving more than 100 lives this fiscal year. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counter-drug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the more than 24,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 68 years. For more information: GoCivilAirPatrol.com