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Air crews from the North Carolina Wing of the Civil Air Patrol are conducting damage assessment flights following Hurricane Florence. High winds, torrential rain, tornadoes and flooding have caused widespread damage in the state and 37 deaths.
Participants include members of the CAP’s Tar River Composite Squadron based at the Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport located in southern Nash County near the Nash-Wilson county line.
The N.C. Division of Emergency Management, the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency have tasked the North Carolina Wing with more than 200 flyover targets for damage assessment photographs. Officials said 1,214 still images have been taken so far on the hurricane mission. The CAP is also conducting post-storm survey flights for the National Weather Service.
The N.C. Wing has flown 84 air sorties to date and expects to make more flights over the next few days as the rivers crest in affected areas. The wing has also conducted 49 ground sorties and 103 points-of-distribution sorties to date.
“We train regularly to serve our communities in times of emergency,” said Col. R. Jason Bailey, North Carolina Wing commander. “Our pilots, air crews, ground teams and points of distribution personnel have all performed selflessly. They demonstrate daily to our communities that we are ready, willing and able to help them and serve their needs.”
In addition to damage assessment flights, the CAP is also flying other missions around the state including transporting emergency response personnel and supplies into hard-hit areas.
The N.C. Wing is using its 18 aircraft and almost 2,000 volunteer members to support emergency services missions for FEMA, the N.C. Department of Emergency Management and other federal, state and local governments.
North Carolina Wing members are also currently:
• Staffing the N.C. Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh
• Staffing the N.C. Department of Emergency Management’s Regional Coordination Center-East in Kinston and Regional Coordination Center-Central in Butner.
• Moving disaster relief supplies to the eastern part of the state at the Department of Emergency Management’s request by both ground and air.
• Deployed to point-of-distribution locations that provide emergency supplies to the public.
Currently more than 100 personnel are serving at the CAP’s Wilmington-area distribution points. After the first two days of operation, the three Wilmington PODs have distributed 5,974 cases of water, 6,105 cases of MREs and 1,700 tarps.
The N.C. Wing is being augmented in its hurricane response by CAP members from the Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia wings.
The Civil Air Patrol, acting as the Air Force auxiliary, is supporting Air Forces Northern during Defense Support of Civil Authorities operations following the landfall of Hurricane Florence on the East Coast.