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Texas Wing

Known for disaster relief, emergency services missions

The Texas Wing flew 250 hours of fire-spotting missions in 1949, and by February 1997 that mission expanded to include 751 flight hours in 45 days. Participating members surveyed damage and transported six teams of search dogs and their handlers. In 2006, 1,150 wildfires destroyed 455,000 acres and killed four people. Thirty members participated in the fire spotting operations. Aircrews flew 200 fire detection sorties in 2008 for the Texas Forest Service.

Hurricane Celia in 1979 resulted in death and destruction, but before the storm members flew over beaches to warn swimmers and surfers below. In 2008, Hurricane Ike cut off electricity to more than 3 million residents. In response the wing flew 350 sorties, and ground teams distributed supplies.

In 1994 65 wing members responded to flooding by assisting with damage/pollution assessment flights. When the state saw flooding in 2015 from the Red River to the Gulf of Mexico, seven CAP planes with radio repeaters facilitated communications between ground rescue teams; 272 members took part in the operations.

In April 1957, a tornado devastated Dallas. Within 20 minutes the wing responded, providing vital communications assistance. Members also participated in response efforts after a Lubbock tornado in 1970. Damage assessment also was performed after tornadoes and wildfires in 2008, not to mention Hurricane Ike, which devastated the Texas coastline that same year.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks the wing assisted the U.S. Coast Guard, providing air support for port security and daily alert planes for the Port Arthur and Lake Charles waterways.

Lt. Col. Melanie Capehart walks among wreckage caused by Hurricane Ike on Galveston Island. Capehart rode to Galveston with other Texas Wing members to locate and silence emergency locator beacons. In addition to ground team emergency relief, CAP members provided comprehensive aerial damage assessment flights and more than 40,000 high-definition photographs to help emergency service providers study and repair infrastructure on the Texas and Louisiana coastlines. Photo by Susan Schneider, CAP National Headquarters
Lt. Col. Melanie Capehart walks among wreckage caused by Hurricane Ike on Galveston Island. Capehart rode to Galveston with other Texas Wing members to locate and silence emergency locator beacons. In addition to ground team emergency relief, CAP members provided comprehensive aerial damage assessment flights and more than 40,000 high-definition photographs to help emergency service providers study and repair infrastructure on the Texas and Louisiana coastlines. Photo by Susan Schneider, CAP National Headquarters
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