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South Carolina Wing

Service includes SAR, disaster relief

Hurricane Donna’s 192 mph winds caused widespread damage in 1960, but that didn’t deter 48 members of the South Carolina Wing from responding with 30 mobile relief units, 32 vehicles and 800 flight hours. In 1986, wing members located three victims of a boating accident who were on the verge of shock and hypothermia after spending 11 hours in the water.

Hurricane Hugo in 1989 prompted a wing response that included assisting the Red Cross with damage assessment and communications in the Charleston area. Members worked in support of the state emergency management office after Hurricane Fran in 1996, flew visual reconnaissance missions after Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and joined with 16 other Civil Air Patrol wings in 2004 to respond to hurricanes in Florida.

Wing members set a new search and rescue record in 1994 when a pilot and observer located a downed plane only one minute after takeoff. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the wing provided communications support to the state emergency operations center.

2015 was a year of unprecedented flooding. Wing members, some of whom faced flooded homes themselves, showed up in minutes to carry out rescue missions and make impact assessments. In all, 167 members took part in the 10-day mission, helping gauge the extent of flooding and infrastructure damage.

Floodwaters reach the rooftops of homes in the Georgetown region of South Carolina in 2015. For 10 days, CAP aircrews and their photographs helped emergency officials on the ground gauge the extent of the flooding and infrastructure damage. Photo by Maj. Brenda A. Reed, Middle East Region
Floodwaters reach the rooftops of homes in the Georgetown region of South Carolina in 2015. For 10 days, CAP aircrews and their photographs helped emergency officials on the ground gauge the extent of the flooding and infrastructure damage. Photo by Maj. Brenda A. Reed, Middle East Region
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