Marco’s Civil Air Patrol (CAP) has helped many Marco Islanders during an emergency situation, but most locals are unaware that the CAP is ready, day and night, for air and ground search and rescue, disaster relief, civil defense and assistance to other emergency services.
CAP Major Robert Corriveau explained the mission of the Marco Island Senior Squadron, SER-FL-376, at recent luncheon meeting of the Marco Island Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) at the Hideaway Beach Club.
“Besides having a specific mission,” Major Corriveau explained, “our task is to be mission –ready for missing boats, downed planes, fires, aerial photography, any scenario in the air or on the ground. And we monitor channel 16 emergency frequency.”
Patrols operate from the Marco Island Airport past Goodland to Seminole Park, to Port of the Islands, Everglades City, Pavilion Key, Indian Key, Cape Romano and along the shore to Big Marco Pass. The Squadron also provides emergency services transporting medical technicians, lifesaving medicines and human organs for transplant.
Major Corriveau told the DAR about the challenges of recent hurricanes.
“After Irma, Maria and Matthew, FEMA asked us to assist in aerial photography for damage assessment for state and federal agencies. We have a three-man team: pilot and co-pilot, who acts as navigator. In the back seat is the photographer who shoots out a special photo window.”
Major Corriveau said the CAP has more members on the ground than in the air. “It takes a lot of people to have that three man crew in the air. Less than a third of our members are pilots. We run like any company; we have logistics, finance, personnel, radio operators, maintenance, Internet techs and public relations.
“The CAP pilots are mixed. We have a lot of military retirees and helicopter pilots, retired commercial and charter pilots and those who got their license for recreational flying, which is what I did.”
Major Corriveau said the national CAP is the largest customer for single engine aircraft with 525 planes across the country.
“Every year, the CAP retire and buy aircraft for 50 states and Puerto Rico. But in 2017, the FL Wing was awarded two new aircraft and the Marco Island CAP got one of them. So, our plane has the latest, greatest technology.”
The Marco CAP’s biggest challenge now is rebuilding its hangar, which was destroyed by hurricane Irma. The CAP will receive some money from FEMA to rebuild, but it needs more and welcomes donations or assistance.
Marco’s young men and women ages 12 – 18 might be interested in the CAP cadet program. Meetings are every Monday at 1830Hrs (6:30 PM) held at the Naples Airport: 360 Aviation Drive Naples, FL 34104. For more information, contact Commander Major Kevin Dinger at KDinger@flwg.us.
The Civil Air Patrol was chartered 74 years ago as a US Air Force Auxiliary and now has 58,000 members nationwide. To learn more about Marco Island’s CAP, to donate or volunteer: email@example.com, 239-389-1273, http://units.flwg.us/FL376.aspx.
DAR has 180,000 members in 3,000 chapters worldwide. Members are women 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot in the American Revolution.
Monthly luncheon meetings are at 10:30 AM on the third Thursday of each month. Members also meet casually between meetings, just for friendship and fun. Potential members and visitors from other chapters are welcome. Please contact Pat Hancock firstname.lastname@example.org, 319-530-5006.