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Civil Air Patrol’s Virginia Wing recognized for top aerospace education and disaster relief mission efforts in the Mid-Atlantic Region

August 16, 2021

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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (Aug 13, 2021) - The Civil Air Patrol’s (CAP) Virginia Wing was selected as the 2021 Mid-Atlantic Region recipients of both the Aerospace Education and Disaster Relief Mission Awards. The wing has earned the Aerospace Education Mission Award for the third consecutive year.  

The Aerospace Education (AE) Mission Award is awarded to the wing that has demonstrated the most effective aerospace education program in the region. The award is based wing's annual educational activity both within the organization and with external partners. In 2020, the wing extended its outreach to homeschoolers and entire school districts to provide STEM opportunities (which include STEM kits that include class projects ranging from robotics kits, rockets, drones, and flight simulators) across the Commonwealth. Teachers can join CAP to receive AE and science, technology, engineering, and math resources; the wing has grown this membership from nine in 2017 to 116 in 2020. Just over 1,000 eighth graders in Suffolk County were able to receive hydraulic machine STEM kits after coordination between the wing, the school board, and a manufacturer, including training for both teachers and students.  

The wing accomplished 436 orientation flights for cadets, of which 140 were for the first time. $6,000 was distributed in flight scholarships and an additional $1,000 was distributed enabling four cadets to pay for their first hour of flight instruction. CAP is increasing flight opportunities for cadets in an initiative to help address the critical pilot shortage in military and civilian aviation.  

The wing also coordinated a partnership for the entire organization with Cornell University and Astrobotic Technology where a microchip the size of a postage stamp will carry the names of 27,014 CAP members to the moon as a payload as part of the Peregrine Lander, set to launch to the moon later this year.  

The Disaster Relief Mission Award identifies the wing with the most effective activity with regards to disaster relief efforts. The award is based on the results of required evaluations, quality and quantity of training activities during the year, performance during actual missions, and cooperation between CAP wing and state and local agencies. During calendar year 2020 Virginia Wing successfully supported multiple partner agencies with disaster relief support, including the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia National Guard, the United States Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Weather Service, and the Virginia Department of Transportation. In support of COVID-19, 1,056 miles were driven and 262 test kits, 765 samples, and additional support materials were transported on four different days. In support of Hurricane Isaias, seven air sorties (flights) were conducted to provide pre/post storm assessment of shoreline areas, major shipping lanes, buoys, Norfolk harbor, and of tornado damage. Over 500 photos were submitted to the partner agencies.  

The wing also conducted manpower support operations with the Prince William County Food Distribution Program and Empowering Culpeper Point of Distribution as part of the COVID-19 disaster relief mission. 206 on-site volunteer-days were provided and over 671,078 pounds of bulk food were handled by CAP personnel for Prince William County and over 4,000 pounds of food and 24 on-site volunteer days were provided to Culpeper County.  

Most impressively, the majority of these missions were managed remotely by mission staff working from home due to the impacts of COVID-19, which required CAP to adopt and implement new technologies to successfully coordinate missions with key staff located across the state instead of in a centralized mission base. 

Colonel Liz Sydow, the Virginia Wing Commander commented, “These awards are the result of training and hard work on the part of many members across the wing. Your dedication to the missions of Civil Air Patrol is reflected in these accomplishments. Congratulations and well done!”  

For More Information:

Maj Jacob Bixler, CAP

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