Lo­cal Civil Air Pa­trol ready when needed

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Ed Helmick

There is a Civil Air Pa­trol Squadron based at the Springville-Span­ish Fork Air­port that is one of the most qual­i­fied and mis­sion-ready of the 13 squadrons in the state of Utah. The Utah Wing of the Civil Air Pa­trol has nine air­planes, two of which are based at our lo­cal air­port. Fur­ther­more, the squadron uti­lizes the most ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy in the coun­try. That is some­thing in our com­mu­nity that we should be proud of, and it is some­thing that most peo­ple don’t know any­thing about.

The Civil Air Pa­trol is the vol­un­teer aux­il­iary of the United States Air Force and a part of the To­tal Force def­i­ni­tion on par with the other parts of the USAF Team. CAP is tasked with three broad mis­sions: pro­vid­ing aero­space ed­u­ca­tion to the gen­eral pub­lic, of­fer­ing a cadet pro­gram and sup­port­ing lo­cal civil au­thor­i­ties and na­tional in­ter­ests with emer­gency ser­vices. Utah County has had a CAP squadron since the late 1940s. To­day’s squadron, known as the Phan­tom Squadron, is named af­ter the fa­mous McDon­nell Dou­glas F-4 fighter bomber. The squadron is com­posed of a Se­nior Flight with 43 adult mem­bers and a Cadet Flight with 35 mem­bers rang­ing in age from 12 to just un­der 21 years of age.

His­tor­i­cally, a ma­jor ac­tiv­ity of the CAP has been search and res­cue mis­sions for over­due air­craft, hunters, hik­ers and the like. Dur­ing the past few years, fewer hours have been de­voted to that type of ac­tiv­ity due to ad­vances in other tech­nolo­gies such as cell phone track­ing. The squadron has a new role in com­mu­ni­ca­tion sup­port uti­liz­ing an air­borne plat­form. New aerial imag­ing tech­nol­ogy be­ing in­te­grated into the CAP to aid in nat­u­ral dis­as­ter anal­y­sis sup­port­ing the Federal Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency or in-state dis­as­ter man­age­ment. Another in­ter­est­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity our lo­cal squadron has been given is Home­land Se­cu­rity train­ing in­volv­ing Hill AFB F-16s to main­tain their pro­fi­ciency at in­ter­cept­ing slow-mov­ing small air­planes that in­trude into re­stricted airspace.

As is typ­i­cal of the mil­i­tary or­ga­ni­za­tion model, the CAP has a train­ing and pro­fi­ciency re­quire­ment for each job or po­si­tion re­quired to carry out its mis­sion. For a num­ber of years, our lo­cal squadron has been fo­cused on mis­sion readi­ness. As a re­sult, the Phan­tom Squadron has more mem­bers qual­i­fied for both flight and mis­sion sup­port base op­er­a­tions than any other squadron in Utah and most other squadrons around the coun­try. This is the re­sult of the com­mit­ment to the mis­sion and de­sire to be ready when needed. I also think it has a bit to do with our lo­cal cul­ture. What a great ex­am­ple of our motto to serve daily.

CAP ac­cepts vol­un­teers with­out re­spect to race, gen­der, age or phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity. CAP vol­un­teers come from all walks of life and do not need to have an avi­a­tion or mil­i­tary back­ground. All that is needed is a de­sire to help our com­mu­nity and a will­ing­ness to learn.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www. go­civi­lair­pa­trol.com or fol­low the Phan­tom Squadron on Face­book at www. face­book. com/ Civil- Air- Pa­trol- Phan­tom-Squadron.

Lt. Col. Jim Ste­wart, who as­sisted in the preparation of this ar­ti­cle, is also avail­able to con­tact at 210- 724- 6342.

Civil Air Pa­trol air­planes are shown at the Springville-Span­ish Fork Air­port. The CAP squadron op­er­at­ing at this lo­cal air­port is one of 13 CAP squadrons in Utah.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.