Nevada Wing Members Participated in Hurricane Harvey’s Aftermath
Nevada Wing Members Participated in Hurricane Harvey’s AftermathBy 1st Lt Maryan Tooker, CAP Nevada Wing Public Affairs Officer
San Antonio, TX – In the days and weeks after Harvey pounded the Gulf Coast in August, the Civil Air Patrol actively supported relief efforts by providing support for the state of Texas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of their response to Hurricane Harvey. The Category 4 storm caused nearly140,000 homes to be damaged or destroyed. The storm stalled over Texas, dumping more than 20 inches of rain. Damage estimates are at about $180 billion, which would make it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. Approximately 1,000 of Texas Wing’s 3,200 members live along the Gulf Coast from Brownsville to Houston with the largest concentration of members residing in the Houston area. CAP airplanes were initially moved out of the coastal area on Thursday and secured at locations further north.
Mission activities coincided with Civil Air Patrol’s National Conference at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter, and a temporary incident command post was set up at the hotel before being relocated to the San Marcos Regional Airport once the conference ended.
Four Nevada Wing members attending the conference stepped up to offer their assistance: Col. Carol Lynn, Wing Commander - Incident Commander; Lt. Col. Deborah Pierce, Wing Vice Commander; Maj. Rich Hazeltine, Wing Chief of Staff; and 1st Lt. Maryan Tooker, Wing Public Affairs Officer.
Maj. Rich Hazeltine served as Mission Safety Officer. “This is the first incident that I have worked outside of the Nevada Wing. I am happy to report that the training we receive can be used anywhere. The roles and duties of different positions are very similar if not the same in all of our CAP operations like this one. I am proud to have contributed to this disaster relief.” Hazeltine said.
As a Mission Staff Assistant, Lt. Col Pierce worked with 2d Lt Moishe Rubin, Texas Wing, setting up aircrews and determining potential mission base staff on standby from conference attendees. She also assisted Maj Hazeltine with Mission Safety Officer duties.
Airborne Photographer, 1st Lt Tooker joined one of the eight aircrews in a five-hour sortie surveying damage in the Beaumont/Port Arthur area. “This is what we are trained for, this is what I have been waiting for.” Tooker said. She also reflected on how difficult it was to grasp the enormity of the widespread flooding. “TV and photos cannot begin to capture what I witnessed from the air. My heart goes out to everyone effected by this disaster.”
The hurricane-battered area photographed covered roughly 255 miles of coastline from the Corpus Christi landfall impact zone to Beaumont and Port Arthur. The collection area goes roughly 90 miles inland, covering approximately 23,000 square miles, including the city of Houston and eight major rivers. Both agencies will use the imagery to assess damage in these hard-hit areas.
Over 279 members from 33 Civil Air Patrol wings contributed to the Harvey response mission and aerial damage assessment photo flights have topped more than 291 hours in generating more than 200,000 images of flooding and other damage caused by the storm.