Service marked by flooding, tornadoes
Missouri is the “Show Me State,” and Civil Air Patrol’s Missouri Wing has done just that with its hands-on service, particularly in the wake of natural disasters. This was never better showcased than during 1993’s spring flooding. In what developed as CAP’s largest single operation to date since World War II, the Missouri Wing toiled over 45 days, often in grueling heat and humidity, to restore its state — finding the missing, assessing damage to infrastructure, sandbagging and cleaning up. The effort involved more than 350 senior members, 170 cadets and 88 aircraft. Twice, CAP even delivered the U.S. mail.
Flooding still occasionally plagues the state, notably in 2011, 2015 and 2016. While the Missouri Wing continues to offer muscle on the ground, providing aerial damage assessment photos directly to officials to the most heavily affected spots has evolved into one of CAP’s major responsibilities.
The Missouri skies deliver more than floods, however, and the wing has also responded to numerous tornadoes over the years. In 2011, the Joplin area was overwhelmed when a Category EF5 multiple-vortex twister ripped out the heart of the town, killing 153 in what the National Weather Service described as the nation’s deadliest tornado since 1950. Not only did the wing respond with it usual ground teams and damage assessment, but with the town’s major hospital destroyed it also delivered much-needed doses of tetanus vaccine.
However it helps, the Missouri Wing is a constant in its service to the state and its citizens.