Homeland security, disaster relief among top accomplishments
Founded in 1941, the Maine Wing has long protected residents and the armed forces. The wing flew antisubmarine patrols during World War II, and in 1942 built and activated Coastal Patrol Base 20 in Bar Harbor. CAP aircraft now help provide antiterrorism and force protection for launch and sea trials of U.S. Navy vessels along the Kennebec River between Bath Iron Works and the Atlantic Ocean.
The wing was presented the Aegis Destroyer Excellence Award from Naval Sea Systems Command’s SUPSHIP for helping guard the destroyer USS Gridleyon. The wing supports the federal Drug Enforcement Agency in its marijuana eradication mission, flies Forest Service patrols and participated in Hurricane Sandy disaster recovery in 2012. After January 1998 ice storms left more than 230,000 Maine residents without power, wing members helped staff shelters, conducted damage assessment flights, established communication networks with ham radios and worked round-the-clock shifts supporting Red Cross relief efforts in federal disaster areas.
The wing helped launch Wreaths Across America in 1992 when a squadron in Machias assisted WAA founder Morrill Worcester, president of the Worcester Wreath Co., in taking wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery. Col. Dan Leclair, then Maine Wing commander, spearheaded CAP’s national involvement in WAA, which places nearly 1 million wreaths on veterans’ graves at more than 500 sites and 24 offshore locations each December. Wing personnel escort the annual weeklong “Veteran’s Parade” semitrailer truck convoy transporting wreaths to Washington, D.C.