Puerto Rico Wing
Hurricane relief, SAR top list of accomplishments
The Puerto Rico Wing, also encompassing the U.S. Virgin Islands, has handled many hurricanes, including Hurricane Hugo in 1989, where relief efforts lasted 17 days; Hurricane Marilyn in 1995, which destroyed 70 percent of infrastructure in its path; Hurricane Georges in 1998; and four major hurricanes that also slammed the U.S. coast in 2004. The wing’s response included aerial surveys, damage assessment, shelter management, communications, Red Cross assistance, evacuations and distribution of food, water and medical supplies.
After floods in 1978, cadets aided victims, evacuated homes, ran communications, formed patrols to discourage looters, set up shelters and served food.
The Puerto Rico Wing was recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard for the 1986 rescue of two men whose raft was carried out to sea by strong currents. A wing aircrew spotted the raft, and a second aircrew relayed communications to rescuers.
In May 1994 the wing was recognized by the commonwealth’s Legislature for its efforts after a Jan. 7 oil spill from a barge near the San Juan coast. Members flew damage assessment and survey missions, assisted with the Red Cross’ mass care activities, helped the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources save marine life and minimize environmental damage, and participated in cleanup and containment.
Wing member Hila Levy, CAP’s 2004 National Cadet of the Year, was the top graduate from the 2008 U.S. Air Force Academy and the first Puerto Rican and first CAP cadet to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University.