NATCA Member Assists Tornado Relief Efforts Through Civil Air Patrol Duty
Friday, June 07, 2013

Over the past few weeks, many hearts have been broken over the devastation in Oklahoma. The tornado that hit Moore, Okla., on May 20, 2013 killed 24 people, destroyed over 10,000 homes and caused countless other damages. This was the strongest tornado the United States had seen in two years, with a destruction path 17 miles long and almost two miles wide.

Many have felt the need to put forward their civic duty and help the people who were affected by the tornado. That includes NATCA Region X member Russell Davis, an engineer for the Federal Aviation Administration since 1998. Davis works for the second level engineering organization which resides at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, located on the grounds of Oklahoma City/Will Rogers Airport (OKC).

Davis is also a member of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), which has been a key part of the relief efforts in the Oklahoma City area. CAP is a Congressionally chartered and federally supported non-profit organization that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force. CAP is a purely volunteer-based organization, consisting of 61,000 unpaid professional members nationwide, and operates a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) and is credited with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP has three main missions: cadet programs, aerospace education and emergency services.

For the tornado in Moore, Okla., Davis said CAP has been focusing their efforts in on emergency services. CAP has been helping with relief efforts by taking aerial and ground photography of the destruction path of the tornado to document the damages. These high-quality images are crucial to people like those who work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as well as state and local emergency management officials so they can concentrate their efforts accordingly. By taking aerial and ground images, it allows those in the emergency management community to determine the most tactical way to tackle these damages. Local governments that have Geographic Information Systems(GIS) will also be able to use these photographs to keep track of facilities and properties that were damaged and have a gross overall view of what needs to be done, whether it is repairs or the demolishing of a home.

“CAP’s unpaid professionals are ever vigilant, trained and ready to serve our fellow citizens when disaster strikes,” said Davis, whose role in the Oklahoma mission was CAP’s incident commander. “Additional CAP volunteers from across the nation will join forces with us, as needed, to get the job done.”

Davis has been a part of CAP since 2002. His wife and son are also involved. He is the Director of Professional Development, which is responsible for keeping its senior members up-to-date and tuning skills of its members in different specialty tracks like public affairs, recruiting, information technology and finance.

To learn more about the Civil Air Patrol and how you can help with relief efforts, please click HERE.

To view images of the May 20 tornado's path and destruction, captured by the CAP, please click HERE.

Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress in 1941 with a 501(c)3 designation and pre-dates the Air Force. CAP consists of 61,000 unpaid professional members nationwide, and operates a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.

The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 26,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP is a force multiplier to the Air Force. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 71 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans.