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Nebraska Wing

Nebraska CAP a leader in communications

Both life and death have marked Civil Air Patrol’s Nebraska Wing’s service over the years.

In the late 1940s, the wing lost two volunteers whose plane crashed during Operation Snow Bound, a mercy mission carrying food, clothing and medicine to isolated farms. Twenty years later, however, another mercy mission helped save the lives of premature triplets; CAP flew the infants and their mother from a small town ill-equipped to handle the situation to a medical team in Denver.

With weather often the source of disaster in this Midwestern state, the wing’s response has ranged from filling sandbags to taking aerial photos to cleaning up debris — most notably after tornadoes in Omaha in 1975 and Hallam in 2004, as well as after major flooding in 1984 and again in 2011.

Outstanding communications has been the hallmark of the Nebraska Wing. Before cell phones were the norm, tornadoes and floods usually took down phone lines, but the wing provided communications by radio, responding to inquiries about friends, relatives and property and providing a way for responding agencies to talk with one another. Today, the wing remains a leader in communications, with one squadron even converting a donated ambulance into a mobile mission base with both internal and emergency generators, giving members the ability to communicate with air and ground crews on separate frequencies at the same time.

More than 200 members from the seven CAP wings of the North Central Region gathered in Lincoln in 1982 for the region’s first search and rescue competition. Kathleen Morris briefed members of the Nebraska Wing team (from left) Randy Sutton, Rita Sutton and Barry Bruns before a practice mission. The wing won Best Aircrew and Best Overall Wing Performance recognition in the competition. Photo by Rand McNatt
More than 200 members from the seven CAP wings of the North Central Region gathered in Lincoln in 1982 for the region’s first search and rescue competition. Kathleen Morris briefed members of the Nebraska Wing team (from left) Randy Sutton, Rita Sutton and Barry Bruns before a practice mission. The wing won Best Aircrew and Best Overall Wing Performance recognition in the competition. Photo by Rand McNatt
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