Devastating weather no barrier for wing’s ability to serve
It would be hard to come up with an emergency or disaster — floods, backcountry rescues, ice storms, blizzards, mudslides, forest fires or homeland security initiatives — that Civil Air Patrol’s Oregon Wing has not encountered and handled deftly.
In the late 1960s wing members, many injured on the mission, braved high winds and subzero temperatures to assist more than 200 residents trapped by 10-foot snowdrifts. The wing delivered fuel, food, medicine and blankets while evacuating those who would surely have died otherwise. In 1968 the wing helped combat out-of-control forest fires, started by lightning in southern Oregon, in a mission lasting six days.
The 1990s saw a series of devastating floods in the state. The Oregon Wing, with recent flood response training under its members’ belt, was on the scene, working at Red Cross shelters, evacuating the stranded, establishing communications and even transporting kidney patients to dialysis treatments.
On a national level the wing has staunchly supported homeland security measures. Following the 2001 terrorist attacks, through its counterpart in California the wing relayed nearly 2 tons of blood and blood samples from Portland to southern California. At the request of the Oregon Air National Guard’s 123rd Fighter Squadron, the wing also cooperates regularly with intercept practices, with CAP Cessnas serving as targets to train the fighter jet crews in forcing them to ground.