LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan Wing of Civil Air Patrol, acting as the official U.S. Air Force auxiliary, has answered the call to help transport COVID-19 test kits and related supplies from Lansing to locations in the Upper Peninsula.
The State Emergency Operations Center asked Civil Air Patrol to facilitate COVID-19 testing in remote areas of Michigan faster than traditional ground transport would allow.
Aircrews from the Michigan Wing flew the kits and supplies to and from Lansing, and state troopers continued the support with ground transport to specific locations.
Upon landing, the aircrews performed an exchange with the troopers, awaiting their arrival at the airports. The troopers received fresh test kits and supplies for distribution in the region, and the aircrews received test kits to fly to labs in Lansing for processing.
“It’s an honor to be able to help with the nationwide effort to control the spread of the virus,” said Maj. Chris Ballard, a CAP aircrew member who participated in the mission. “Providing testing kits to more remote areas of the state is extremely important, and we are able to efficiently supplement the tremendous efforts of the Michigan State Police by using CAP airplanes and aircrew.” Ballard belongs to the Maj. Kevin A. Adams Memorial Composite Squadron, based in Ann Arbor.
Lt. Col. Chris Felton, a pilot on one mission, added, “It is always such a pleasure to fly for Civil Air Patrol. We are an organization of real professionals who volunteer both time and energy when our nation and communities need us most. Thank you to the Michigan State Police for trusting us to help in their important COVID -9 response.” Felton serves as the director of safety for CAP’s Great Lakes Region, which includes the Michigan Wing.
The State Emergency Operations center is overseen by the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division and coordinates response and recovery efforts by state agencies and local government. It’s staffed by members of state agencies for decision-making and information coordination during disasters or emergencies.
Acting as a Total Force partner and the Air Force auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol is aligned with First Air Force to rapidly respond to non-military threats domestically when tasked in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance.
Upon mission completion, aircrews from The Civil Air Patrol flew seven days between May 6 and May 15 delivering over 2,400 test kits to and from The Upper Peninsula and Lansing, Michigan.
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About Civil Air Patrol Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine Cessna aircraft and 1,550 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 110 lives in fiscal 2019. CAP’s 66,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies and, as a nonprofit organization, plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Members also serve as mentors to over 28,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. One of the premier public service organizations in America, CAP benefits the nation with an estimated economic impact of $209 million annually. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com or www.CAP.news for more information.