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South Carolina Wing assisting in flood response

posted Oct 8, 2015, 11:28 AM by Matt Hamrick   [ updated Oct 8, 2015, 11:32 AM ]


October 6, 2015

COLUMBIA, South Carolina – Twelve Civil Air Patrol aircrews from three wings are making damage assessment flights today over flood-drenched South Carolina in the wake of record rainfall that has left dams broken and rivers swollen across the state.

Eight CAP planes from the South Carolina and two each from the Georgia and North Carolina wings took to the air today, providing photos of the floodwaters’ impact for state and emergency agency officials to use in deciding where to focus recovery efforts most effectively. On Monday, a South Carolina aircrew flew along the Saluda River from Saluda, North Carolina, to Lake Greenwood, South Carolina, for the same purpose.

In addition, the aircrews are “focusing on the state’s rivers for possible search and rescue operations,” said Col. Francis H. Smith Jr., South Carolina Wing commander and CAP incident commander for the flood mission. The wing’s incident command staff is working with the state’s Emergency Operations Center in West Columbia.

Squadrons across the wing expect to perform air, ground and communications operations in support of disaster relief efforts throughout this week.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of Regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 70 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol’s 58,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its Airmen additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Civil Air Patrol received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. Congressionally chartered 74 years ago, the nonprofit organization also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit for more information.

CAP contact: Capt. Matthew D. Hamrick, South Carolina Wing Public Affairs Officer – – 843-693-4700