Florida CAP noted for natural disasters, SAR
When hurricanes bear down on the Gulf Coast, Florida Wing members are often among the first called to help. During Hurricane Donna in 1960, wing members provided emergency and communication capabilities, flew with the U.S. Coast Guard to survey damage and transported typhoid vaccine. When Hurricane Camille hit nine years later, wing members worked with Civil Defense to establish ground radio networks throughout the Gulf Coast region.
In the 1990s, wing members sprang into action again for hurricanes Andrew, Opal and Floyd, transporting people and equipment, monitoring evacuation routes and providing aerial damage assessments. Cadets played key roles in setting up and staffing shelters. Florida Wing cadets also showed their skill by becoming the first Civil Air Patrol team to win the Commander-in-Chief Cup in the All Services Division of the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot III, the nation’s largest high school cyber defense competition.
CAP members played an early role in helping determine the impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, providing more than 28,000 aerial photos to state officials.
The wing’s sundown patrol mission also helped stranded boaters and rescued people from aircraft that plunged into Florida’s waters. In 1995, members helped rescue 11 people in two separate incidents involving boats either lost or sinking in the Gulf of Mexico. They also helped rescue four men after their helicopter crashed in the Florida Bay.