In an effort to assist those affected by the tornadoes that swept through the Southeast United States this week, the Air Force Auxiliary is flying over areas with major devastation to assist first responders and state and local officials as they assess the damage to the region.
AFAUX pilots from Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia have volunteered their time and aircraft to capture aerial photographs of the affected towns and villages, while also providing airborne communication support as needed.
To date, AFAUX has flown 20 sorties, shot more than 2,000 high quality photos, and provided nine aircraft - each with a pilot, observer and scanner aboard.
"It's important to remember that CAP pilots participate in Air Force missions strictly on a voluntary basis," said Mark Obrien, CAP liaison officer for Air Forces Northern here. "In instances like these, when people's lives and homes are at stake, it goes without saying that the generous and selfless nature of our CAP pilots comes immediately to the forefront, and we often find ourselves with more volunteers than actual assigned missions. It's a clear example of the caliber of people who volunteer their time and energy to the Air Force Auxiliary."
The Civil Air Patrol, in its role as the Air Force Auxiliary, performs its missions for the Department of Defense, federal agencies, or state and local authorities when federal or national-level interest or assistance is requested. CAP, when federalized, flies under the operational control of the Joint Forces Air Component Commander, Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean.
"We stand ready to support any state or local agency that may need our assistance," said General Dean. "AFAUX is one of many assets my organization has available to help out during natural disasters. Currently, we have our Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers from the affected states on stand-by should the call from a governor or parish president come to us. We hope our fellow American citizens who have been so deeply affected by these storms know they have our support, prayers and hope for a rapid recovery."
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