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New Mexico Wing

New Mexico adept at saving lives

Finding people no matter the terrain or the weather is a distinguishing characteristic of the New Mexico Wing. During the blizzard of 1956, CAP members brought food and medicine to ranch families isolated after one of the worst snowstorms in 50 years. That same year, the wing performed 12,321 hours of aerial search missions directed by the U.S. Air Force Air Rescue service.

In 1989, wing members helped locate a downed Continental Express commuter plane that had crashed with 17 aboard. They were able to locate the plane near Durango, Colorado, with search and rescue teams being credited with six assists and two saves.

Since 2009, wing pilots have performed lake patrols from Memorial Day to Labor Day, scanning lakes and coastal waters looking for boaters in trouble. The wing runs three patrols annually around Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard and the state park service.

New Mexico is considered the hot-air ballooning capital of the world, thanks to its weather. In 2014, under the direction of Group 800 Commander Maj. Ben Noyce, the wing launched a hot-air balloon program and held its first CAP Balloon Ground Crew Clinic. The program’s goal is to offer aerospace education and the ability for cadets to work with another airframe.

Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Raily Blankley (left) and Cadet Master Sgt. J.D. Downing hold open the bottom of the Phoenix for inflation. The hot-air balloon was used by New Mexico Wing members at their first CAP Balloon Ground Crew Clinic in 2014. Photo by 1st Lt. Ryan M. Stark, New Mexico Wing
Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Raily Blankley (left) and Cadet Master Sgt. J.D. Downing hold open the bottom of the Phoenix for inflation. The hot-air balloon was used by New Mexico Wing members at their first CAP Balloon Ground Crew Clinic in 2014. Photo by 1st Lt. Ryan M. Stark, New Mexico Wing
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