Nevada Wing COVID-19 Remobilization
Nevada Wing COVID-19 RemobilizationLt Col Pete Goertzen
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to the people of the United States and the world. Its effects have also been widely felt throughout Civil Air Patrol, contributing to an unprecedented drop in our membership and reducing the ways in which we can contribute to all of our three missions – emergency services, aerospace education and the cadet program. Almost all in-person activities, except for actual emergency services missions, were shut down in March 2020. Squadrons and wing staff quickly moved most operations to a virtual format so members could still meet and conduct certain training and other business.
Almost as quickly as the pandemic hit us, CAP began to take steps toward recovery. This process is called “remobilization” and began in May with a memo from Maj Gen Mark Smith, CAP National Commander.
While adhering to guidance from national headquarters, each of CAP’s 52 wings were directed to create their own custom plans for how to safely resume in-person meetings and activities.
Remobilization is broken into three phases, with each successive phase allowing more activities and greater participation numbers. Phase I allows regular squadron meetings to be conducted with a maximum of 10 members, as well as flight training activities including cadet orientation flights. Phase II increases the maximum participation to 50 members while allowing a greater diversity of activities. Both Phase I and Phase II require social distancing and wearing of face coverings at all times but discourages participation by members who are considered at a high level of risk from the effects of COVID-19. The final phase, Phase III, will essentially allow for full remobilization, including overnight activities and unlimited membership participation. Throughout all three phases, options for continued virtual participation are encouraged so that members can still be involved if they are not able to be physically present.
In order to move Nevada into Phase I as soon as practical, Lt Col Pete Goertzen, commander of the Henderson Composite Squadron, was directed to lead the remobilization effort. Nevada Wing staff members were asked to create plans and write documents explaining how we could move from the virtual world to the real world while protecting our members from spreading or becoming infected with COVID-19. Representatives from flight operations, cadet programs, health services and the Cadet Advisory Council all contributed ideas and documents so a package could be submitted to national headquarters for approval. State of Nevada directives and guidance were also added.
National headquarters approved our remobilization plan in late November 2020. However, due to the inevitable surges in COVID-19 expected from winter weather and holiday travel, our planned Phase I entry date will be 1 March 2021. Nevada Wing will only enter Phase I if COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are at an acceptable level and the wing commander feels it is safe to do so.
As we get close to the Phase I entry date, more guidance will be sent to commanders for how to safely reopen their squadrons to their membership.
Updated remobilization information and COVID-19 statistical reports are sent weekly to squadron commanders and wing staff in order to help keep the membership apprised as to where we stand in our efforts. Information for all Civil Air Patrol members is kept updated at https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/covid-19-information-cena.