Known for disaster relief, SAR and Hawk Mountain
With plenty of disasters orchestrated by Mother Nature — including tornadoes in 1985 and severe flooding in the 1970s and again in 1996 — a 1972 blizzard particularly tested the skills of Civil Air Patrol’s Pennsylvania Wing as it came to the aid of some 500 stranded motorists and their families. For that mission, the wing was credited with saving eight, of whom one had suffered a heart attack and seven had severe exposure and frostbite.
It was the manmade disaster of Sept. 11, 2001, that had the wing providing manpower and communications support to emergency management agencies, while also standing by for aerial imaging of the wreckage of the fourth plane, Flight 93, which went down that day in Somerset County.
On a much smaller scale, after local police remembered hearing about a recent mission that stressed CAP’s air-evacuation capabilities in 1956, they contacted the wing, which promptly delivered a plane and pilot to fly a 13-year-old leukemia patient from Wilkes-Barre to a New York hospital for emergency treatment.
The wing continues to ensure CAP’s manpower and expertise will be there for future search-and-rescue missions by offering training at Hawk Mountain, located in central-eastern Pennsylvania and home to CAP’s Ranger School. Staffed by U.S. Air Force and CAP personnel, classes there teach needed skills, including pararescue, for CAP ground teams.