Lebanon man joins Civil Air Patrol to aid hurricane recovery efforts

Staff Reports • Updated Oct 21, 2016 at 2:00 PM

ALCOA – A Lebanon man joined nine other members from Civil Air Patrol’s Tennessee Wing in a deployment to North Carolina to assist with recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

Maj. Bruce Brunkow, of Lebanon, was one of those deployed. 

Tennessee Wing commander Col. Arlinda Bailey said Tuesday the volunteers have served in a variety of roles, including aerial inspection, photographic sorties over flood-damaged areas and various support roles.

Members of CAP, the volunteer civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, have spent two weeks serving communities during the approach and aftermath of the hurricane.

“Tennessee Wing is proud to support and provide reinforcement to the dedicated efforts of our colleagues in North Carolina,” Bailey said. “I deeply appreciate that our members, all unpaid volunteers, once again have answered the call to serve communities in need.”

Maj. Rob Borsari, of Knoxville, the wing’s vice commander and a mission pilot, led the deployment to North Carolina. 

Although the storm is over, flooding continues in North Carolina, as does the work of CAP and several agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In North Carolina, at least 24 peaks of record were set on local rivers, as heavy rain during Hurricane Matthew fell on the ground saturated just weeks ago by Tropical Storm Julia.

Since Oct. 8, CAP has flown more than 200 missions over North Carolina and South Carolina, taking photographs and relaying information and images to the FEMA and state agencies.

Bailey said Tennessee Wing personnel are relieving and supporting volunteer crews from the Carolinas, many of whom have been on duty for two weeks. The wing stands ready to assist further as requested, she said.

“These members are Volunteer State’s tradition of service to our neighbors,” Bailey said.

CAP’s Tennessee Wing, based in Alcoa, includes more than 600 adult volunteers and more than 400 cadets, who are youth between 12-21 years old.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent 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 78 lives annually.

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