The Civil Air Patrol (CAP), acting in its capacity as the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, is providing mission support to multiple state/local and Federal partners in response to the nationwide outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Lt Col Bob Sides, CAP, of Frisco, is the organization’s incident commander in Texas, overseeing the transport and delivery of Personal Protective Equipment and test kits to remote areas of the state, delivery of used test kits to labs for analysis and support of local distribution points and emergency operations centers.
“As first responders and health care workers continue to fight COVID-19 across the state, it is vital that they have the protective equipment necessary to keep themselves safe and healthy,” Sides said. “Likewise, the ability for local health officials to perform testing will help us tamp down new outbreaks more effectively. Civil Air Patrol, Texas Wing, is happy to assist communities by ensuring that these materials are accessible and that tests are analyzed rapidly.”
Civil Air Patrol air crews in Mesquite, Addison and Sherman in North Texas are on call, as well as units in Georgetown, Stinson, San Marcos and Austin. The bulk of the missions have been in South and West Texas, including San Antonio and El Paso.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90% 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 more than 80 lives annually. CAP’s more than 65,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to nearly 28,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.