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September 02, 2005

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After the dust settles this is going to be the mother of all political finger pointing sessions. In the end, we are supposed to be a civilized society, but I guess there are those that are more like animals than humans. Thankfully there are people that are willing to join CAP, Red Cross ect. who are willing to place others in front of themselves.

Right now, the LZ is too hot to place CAP members on the ground. Hopefully the political leadership will have the guts to come down VERY hard on the bad actors so we can start our work down there.

If nothing else, this will be a real learning experience for all. When the order is given to get out, that means get out, not get drunk. Maybe next time the official line should be "if you choose not to heed our warning to evacuate, please take a marker and write your SS# on our arm so we can identify your body."

aveighter

Frustrating isn't the half of it. People tend to focus on the chaos in New Orleans and forget about the utter distruction in MS and AL costal areas. Just last night on the FOX News was an interview with some residents (civilized types)in MS that had yet to see Federal response personnel or relief supplies. My personal opinion is that this is an outrage. An air bridge of low capacity blackhawks along with whatever else was available was eventually put into play in NO to get people out of the choke points. How about an air bridge of 172's and 182's jammed with MREs and water filters. Hey, it's not a C130 but we have a lot of aircraft in the SER that could have been airborne the next day. At least 500 pounds of MREs per plane and how many flights per day? Then there are the wing vans and trailers. We sit around and watch our neighbors suffering on live news while reading memos from leadership about "standing by". While all the beautiful people were "standing by" the only help some of those folks have gotten to this point is from private organizations, church groups, salvation army and the like. Meanwhile, I sit here with tremendous assets in the hanger and garage (less then 90 minutes away by air) and wait.................

aveighter

Here is another good one. We had a request to fly physicians to Jackson, MS and provide some personnel to help support a local (GAWG) Red Cross shelter. Nothing fancy, basically a few warm bodies. Evidently the NOC thought the "liability" was just to much for us rubes and bumpkins to handle. Laywer, pardon me, I mean mother, knows best I suppose.

Well, I think I'll go down to the hanger and blow the dust off our brand new G-1000 SDIS whiz-bang airplane. Maybe someone will bump an ELT switch and we will get a "safe" mission. For all you folks and neighbors out there in adjacent states; Hang in there. Those hard chargers, those heart breakers and life takers, those damn the torpedoes full speed ahead types of the Salvation Army will be with you soon if not already. I'll be watching on FOX. Wave now and then will you?

Don't worry, I'm sure NHQ's PAO office won't waste any time putting out press releases and writing articles boasting "look at what CAP did!!!".

EVERYDAY HEROES?
MISSIONS FOR AMERICA?

Right.
We are all seeing the REAL CAP now.

Would we have been utilized earlier and more often if we were not such a cadet-centered organization?

Maybe we could load up the race car and drive really fast down there with some Gatorade for the folks to drink. Then we could have a big press conference, which nobody showed up for so we can toot our horns.

Our motto should be "When the going gets tough, the tough check with the lawyers then sit on the sidelines."

Bubba with his airboat and his coon hound will save more people than the entire CAP. At least we won't get the new planes dirty.

Angelica Moore

All I can say is retention? We have folks that are UDF/GTL not being tasked. We have folks that are medically trained not being tasked. If we could at least get a note, acknowledging our presence to volunteer. If we are to learn anything from this it is to contact our states and require them to have a chain of command in case of a disaster within our state. Then, ask to be put in that chain of command so we can better utilize our immensely wonderful resources and capabilities.

Silliness comes home to roost

Why would anyone expect us to be involved in a SERIOUS situation when the USAF thinks we are all a bunch of Dwight Wheless-like doofuses? There is a long memory of idiotic activity - especially by those in positions of authority.

"Would we have been utilized earlier and more often if we were not such a cadet-centered organization?

PLEASE....Blame FEMA, Blame the Air Force, Blame Mike Brown, Blame the states, Blame the President, Blame the lawyers....all of these are fair targets....but not the cadets.....it is not their fault we are a lawyer driven nation or that all levels of our government FAILED.....CAP is saddly part of that government organization that FAILED but the issues are much much larger then just CAP.....you are right it is a leadership failure but not at the CC CAP level but rather FEMA, DOD, DHLS, and the White House and at least one state house.

Capt. Bob "Eclipse" Williams

As a CAP member who >WAS< deployed into the forward AO in Mississippi, let me just say that there has been a LOT of misinformation, and some pure bullshit being spouted by people who have absolutely NO CLUE about what we did, why we did it, or who we worked for.

Midway Six was down there with me as a GTL and I am sure he is raring with a post to correct a lot of these misconceptions, so I urge you all to stand by a while longer while he gets some personal things in line and cranks up the blog-o-matic.

What I will say as a preface is that more than 17 states participated in theater operations for CAP (no idea on the numbers) and much of what "aveighter" suggested in an earlier post was what was actually performed.

With a note to readiness and willingness being acknowledged by NHQ, it sounds to me like that may be a lower-echelon problem in your area. As a Group Staffer and Unit CC, my understanding was that all Wings were ordered to poll membership on readiness and deployment status and report back through channels on a regular, at some point daily, basis. That is happening right now again w/ regards to Rita. If word never got to you, blame your unit or group people, not NHQ.

It should also be noted that when we received our debrief by the Nat Vice CC, he indicated that several groups committed to deploying and NEVER SHOWED! (or even called). In addition to that, many members who indicated deployment capability balked when it came on short notice, or was longer than they expected. Other members, who purport to be GTM’s & L’s complained about the ability to deploy for such a long time without notice. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but in IL, when we give a GT-badge, especially one with a star, we expect that you have 4-days of gear packed and waiting. Any less and you are not considered a ready-asset.

This is not a ding against anyone, volunteers have to deal with personal issues, and keep their day jobs, but it is also a challenge when NHQ finally pulls the trigger and people decide not to answer the phone. Or worse commit to help and then blow it off like this was a training mission on a summer Saturday.

I'm sure there are any number of you out there gnashing right now saying "I was waiting to be called...". Thank you. I hope not getting called this time doesn't dampen your fire. At least a bunch of us DID get to go, which is an indication it actually can happen for real. With global weather patterns, budget cuts, and a prolonged war deployment of troops, the indications I am getting from higher HQ’s and CAP-USAF people is that using CAP is going to increase in the coming years. Let’s get ready.

This did bring to light the issue of what, exactly, many of us expect to do in these scenarios.

SDIS and other photo work? Sure we may be trained to take pictures in a methodical, professional way, for next to no cost, but how many pics of buildings under water do you need?
Between satellites, Coast Guard, USAF, DOD, every local agency, and the mass media, there was little down there of interest not already photographed. With that said, we DID do a lot of SDIS work, and ARE doing more for Rita. Our flight line had 9 aircraft alone. In fact this is one of the largest mobilizations of CAP air assets since WWII. At one point we had 4 high-birds up at once!

Medical Assistance? Not yet. Remember, we are not allowed to provide anything but the most basic of first aid, and our training is primarily to protect ourselves and our teams. We're not tasked, trained, or covered (insurance), for that role. I have been very vocal locally that we need to curtail "extra-CAP" training as it puts our members at risk liability-wise.
After seeing how our medics performed in the AO, as well as seeing their potential, I have changed my mind 180° on this subject, and will encourage those under my command to seek-out interagency co-operation and extra training. BUT, and this is important, until the regs are changed nationally, we still can't go out as first responders. As someone with a house and kids, I can't risk their financial future on my Charlie-Bravo-ing looking to save people.

We have an MD up our way who is an active CAP member as well as in the ARC. He was deployed for two weeks in the same area as we were for them. Since medical licenses are not federalized, he was not allowed to practice medicine in MS. Now, this is a former special forces, combat field medic. If he can't do it, how could we ever do it? More needs to change than just CAP. If local ES and police agencies are going to become “expeditionary” forces, we need to federalize not only medical licenses, but also police powers. And let’s not forget POSSE-COM
which many people disdain, but is a cornerstone of our democracy. Our USAF affiliation puts us under that umbrella, like it or not. One factor in our stand-down was that the situation was stabilizing and the MS Gov wanted ALL Federal assets out of the AO. It starts to be politics once people aren’t dying anymore, and they want the money, not the boots on the ground. We bugged out with the Army, USAF, and any other unit not under state control.

So that brings us to "boots on the ground" which is what we were. I don't want to kill M-6's thunder, so I'll leave the details to him. But we kicked ass and (literally) took names.

Back to the original point here - the scuttle we heard was that in many cases it was local state CC's who were the issue. Many states do not have active or coherent ES programs – in one state in particular, we were told by a field-grade member, his group CC refuses to issue upgraded 101 cards.

“He won't authorize training or missions because he doesn't want to deal with the paperwork."
"Well how do you get qualified?" "We don't"
“The only people here are old-timers with grand-fathered ratings"
“What about your aircrews?"
“They go to other states for their forms 5's, etc."

Also, what was both heartening and disappointing to see was that CCC issues were not unique to CAP. We saw more different door badges and ES vehicles than will (hopefully) ever be assembled again in one place. Every commander had his own idea and agenda, and somehow they had to work together.

At the end of it we saw the strengths and weaknesses of not only CAP, but also the US ES system as a whole. It re-lit my CAP fires, and I hope it does yours as well. When the crews from
NY and other Eastern states were taking pictures of Ground Zero and performing other important functions, I was proud for them and jealous they got to go, but I didn’t resent them for it. It just reaffirmed that when we’re really needed, we’ll get the call.

The only way we will be more ready to go next time, is stop worrying about whether we are second-class citizens, or whether are ID cards are vertical or horizontal. When the shit hit the fan those of use who went were able to go because we were:

Trained
Qualified
Proficient
>and<
Available

And once in theater, those of us who were successful in our missions did so because of:

Appearance
Performance
Knowledge

The deployed forces down there, both civilian and DOD didn’t give a second thought to what color our nametapes were or that some 101’s were gold, some white, and some pink.

What they cared about was seeing troops who new when to STFU, who were wearing their uniforms correctly even after 3 days without a shower, and could execute a mission as briefed without whining about their assignment.

But I’m sure M-6 will have more on that….

Fire the lawyers

Based on what I saw we did a great job getting a census done for MEMA......so all who worked the mission maybe we could get jobs, we have experience.

http://www.census.gov/

NIN

Capt Williams,

Awesome comment. Wow.

I do want to clear something up, however:

You said:
"SDIS and other photo work? Sure we may be trained to take pictures in a methodical, professional way, for next to no cost, but how many pics of buildings under water do you need?

Between satellites, Coast Guard, USAF, DOD, every local agency, and the mass media, there was little down there of interest not already photographed. With that said, we DID do a lot of SDIS work, and ARE doing more for Rita. Our flight line had 9 aircraft alone. In fact this is one of the largest mobilizations of CAP air assets since WWII. At one point we had 4 high-birds up at once!"

I have a friend (you'll hear about this from M-6, actully, too) who is a former CAP member from the UK. Since he's a doctoral student in GIS & Emergency Planning, he was invited to come to the US to "observe" the operations at the command center in Baton Rouge. Of course, "observe" winds up being "lend a hand with his expertise." While working in the GIS section, he took the publicly available WMRIS SDIS photos, handily geo-referenced, off the NHQ WMRIS pages and jammed them into the GIS database so that the data would be available to whomever was looking for information. The SDIS photographic data surpised at least one two-button (Army/Navy?) who had no clue that CAP could provide that kind of stuff.

CAP's SDIS _is_ able to provide a fairly unique capability in that our imagery is geo-referenced and available in that format. The only way to make it better would be to work with the folks from ESRI (the makers of ArcView, pretty much the gold standard of GIS software) to turn our imagery into "ready to import" fully-referenced datasets instead of just individual photos with lat/long superimposed on them.

We have a great capability there: a flexible, responsive platform that benefits from having the "man in the loop" at the sharp end. Now we need to take it a step or two further.

Capt. Bob "Eclipse" Williams

That's great to here, got some back channel on those Brits myself, which is great news to us.

As you say, SDIS has some great benefits. It's up to us to get positioned so that the coasties can continue saving people and we get the imaging calls.

To the above anon poster who thinks all we did we take a census - please do some research on how important a census can be.
When you have tens of thousands os people displaced, your entire ES plan, assuming you have one, is broken. MEMA and like agencies have to know where people are if they are to put resources in place to start helping them.

Also, I lost count of the number of people who said we were the first uniformed people they had seen, and let's not forget the potentially hundreds who saw us as a symbol that the US Gov was finally there and people were there to help.

Sometimes flying the flag is enough to give people a sense of normalcy, and reassurance.
That alone would make the trip worth it, but we did a lot more than that.

aveighter

Glad to here it Capt. Bob. I am proud you got to do the job. Wish we had. Semper Fi and Vi.

As much as you guys and gals think you are trained to do the job, the military is doing the job better and quicker. The Air Force or any other government agency doesn't want the CAP around. Get it? So pack your little toys and play out of the way of the real players.

It is to bad with all the low tech equipment you guys say you have the AF takes one UAV comes along for 30 hours overhead without landing and can take pictures day or night with the lastest software out the NAS. Lets face the reason you folks have not been tasked to do anything that would make any difference. Pack up and go home before you get hurt.

Capt. Bob "Eclipse" Williams

Ah...the power of the internet - where ill-informed crackpots can lob gas into a fire anonymously with no ramifications.

To even respond to the above nonsense lends it more credence than it deserves, but what the hell:

The above anonymous coward is making an assumption that the only role CAP has is photo recon, which is nonsense, in fact that role is only slowly ramping up.

UAVs are prohibitively expense - a system costs between $25 & 40+ million dollars each.
Which is 1-2 times the entire annual budget of CAP.

And the reality is that UAV's are not available at Walmart - they are few and far between.

I suppose you are unaware of the fact that U-2's and other "outdated" assets were used for recon in TX after Rita.

There's room for a lot of gear and levels of response. UAV's are not the only answer by a long shot.

UAV's cannot:

Move blood, organs, food, or water to FOB's for relief efforts. Nor can they move Dr's, EMT's or political leaders.

Consoul a worried mother about her child’s health, or direct her to a medical facility.

Find an elderly woman trapped in her home, too weak to utter anything but the faintest
of cries for help.

Speak in sign-language to a deaf woman who had no contact with anyone, since the storm,
or any knowledge or where to get emergency food and water.

Assure people that the Federal Government cares about THEM, and not just the value of the property destroyed.

Perform >any< ground relief whatsoever, which was the bulk of our work down South.

As details begin to come out, it happens that we ran in excess of 200 air and ground sorties, nearly 5000 contacts and accounted for the well being of over 8000 people. This is in MS alone.

But UAVs' look real cool on the news, so they must be better.

MidwaySix

"The Air Force or any other government agency doesn't want the CAP around."

Sure. You're obviously well informed.

But before too many people point at you and laugh, go read this:

http://aimpoints.hq.af.mil/index.cfm?date=2005-09-20%2000:00:00.0

BTW: Just how many days were you deployed in support of JTF-Katrina?

- MDW-6

I feel your pain and believe me I have been there right along side of you all. But the facts or facts. The very fact of the NOC was NOT calling anyone gives a pause to think the other forces did not have or want the CAP in the SE part of the US at this time. We are not trained to do there job. Never will be as long the church groups and the Red Cross get there before you. Went was the last time you cooked a hot meal for these folks? Can you set up a field kitchen and feed a 500 folks that have not had a meal days? The answer is "no." Taken out text is this message. We had a request to fly physicians to Jackson, MS and provide some personnel to help support a local (GAWG) Red Cross shelter. Nothing fancy, basically a few warm bodies. Evidently the NOC thought the "liability" was just to much for us rubes and bumpkins to handle. Do I have to say any more.

I feel your pain and believe me I have been there right along side of you all. But the facts or facts. The very fact of the NOC was NOT calling anyone gives a pause to think the other forces did not have or want the CAP in the SE part of the US at this time. We are not trained to do their job. Never will be as long the church groups and the Red Cross get there before you. Went was the last time you cooked a hot meal for these folks? Can you set up a field kitchen and feed 500 folks that have not had a meal in days? The answer is "no." Taken out text is this message. We had a request to fly physicians to Jackson, MS and provide some personnel to help support a local (GAWG) Red Cross shelter. Nothing fancy, basically a few warm bodies. Evidently the NOC thought the "liability" was just to much for us rubes and bumpkins to handle. Do I have to say any more.

Capt. Bob "Eclipse" Williams

Yes, you >DO< need to say more - like the specifics of who made the requests and to what agancy in what order.

The NOC will take its lumps for being too conservative, but in many cases it was Wing CC's who refused to send people when asked.

Also, for whatever reason, it appears that cross-country flights were one thing the NOC was not approving, or were allowing in very limited numbers. Frankly that may be a ding on our pilots - cross country flights are a different animal from 1-hour SAREx hops.

Let's be clear on something, the CAP-NOC, FEMA, IEMA, MEMA, and most of these other agencies are NOT OUT-CALL SERVICES. They are not tasked with checking on YOU to see if YOU need help. YOU have to call THEM and ask with the right code words.

This is the system for most state and federal agencies, not just us. Which means you have to spend time BEFORE the crisis to establish relationships and put procedures (and occasionally the dreaded MOU) in place, so that when the fit his the shan they know who to call.

Can I assume you goobers will stop the anonymous coward postings once you obtain a clue, or some actual facts?

Really, lobbing gas in here anonymously is such a waste of time. I figure you guys have about 2 or 3 postings left until you're either blocked, ignored or your postings are just deleted out of hand - good thing this isn't my board.

If yo honestly believe that NHW and the USAF looks at us as "rubes and bumpkins" just quit and go away.

Demoralized

Unfortunately, personal experience and the internet has led me to believe the majority of the USAF does consider us in a very negative light.

Just spend some time over looking threads posted at Baseops.net. These Title X officers, gentlemen, and keepers of the core values enjoy nothing more than heaping tons of ridicule on us CAP “military posers”.

And every so often, so jerk throws more fuel on that fire: case in point – someone sent them a posting a year ago under the avitar “CAPSoftSandy” telling them how we do CAS and other “hooah” duties for the USAF. It was nothing more than flame bait, but the members of that board couldn’t throw out the derogatory comments on CAP members fast enough. And they love to regurgitate it every so often and make sure everyone knows how “uber-gay” and what “tools” we are.

No doubt there have been some idiots in CAP that have given the rest of us reputations. However, I'm trying to believe there has been a bigger push in the past couple of years to weed these people out.

I’m highly disappointed in the USAF, especially CAP-USAF, CAP-RAP and others in high places for not doing enough within their own ranks to help squelch this unfair and unjust reputation. I’m now convinced that the reason they don’t is because they believe it themselves.

I’ve decided that they are more than welcome to start fielding those 3 AM phone calls from AFRCC to go look for an ELT that is going off in Grandpa’s garage. Maybe if they spend all their extra time with the cadets, more will join the USAF instead of enlisting in the OTHER services after they finish school (kinda like the AF had hoped for in the first place?)!

Oh well. They can enjoy their UAVs. At least our aircraft still have pilots, even if it is a spam-can Cessna. (Does UAV time count on a Southwest Airlines application????)


Capt. Bob "Eclipse" Williams

We bring it on ourselves, people

Appearance
Performance
Knowledge

Work these right and you will not get any grief because your nametape is blue.

Active and reservists have work to do like the rest of us. You present them with solutions and they will respect you.

Walk around looking 9 months pregnant in blue blouse and you deserve EVERYTHING you get.

Capt. Bob "Eclipse" Williams

Posted today.
The crow is at the end of the buffet - please feel free to take seconds..

http://www.af.mil/news/story_print.asp?storyID=123012047

Total force proves beneficial to hurricane recovery


by Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein
Air Force Print News

10/6/2005 - WASHINGTON -- More than 6,900 active-duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen supported Hurricanes Katrina and Rita relief operations, proving that the total-force concept works, said the Air Force chief of staff here recently.

“America’s Air Force answered the call for emergency assistance in this crisis,” said Gen. T. Michael Moseley. “Our total force -- active, Air Guard and Air Force Reserve -- using a mix of air support, transportable hospitals, logistics and vital statistics are superbly trained and well equipped to respond to calls for help.”

Working to meet local and state requirements forwarded to the Department of Defense through state governors and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Air Force deployed a large number of its aircraft -- from cargo airlift to search-and-rescue helicopters. The response to Hurricane Katrina alone was the largest peacetime air operation on U.S. soil.

In support of Katrina and Rita relief efforts, the Air Force delivered more than 17,300 tons of cargo, air evacuated about 2,600 patients, while more than 55,400 evacuee passengers were flown out of the devastated regions. Air Force medics treated more than 16,000 people, and more than 6,900 people were rescued, making Hurricane Katrina efforts the largest search-and-rescue operation since Vietnam.

The relief and recovery efforts allowed several individual units to execute at their best.

The 823rd Red Horse Squadron from Hurlburt Field, Fla., cleared 31,000 tons of industrial and housing debris during its Joint Task Force-Katrina deployment.

The Civil Air Patrol had about 176 members on the ground in Mississippi conducting door-to-door searches of homes to make sure survivors had adequate food and water. As of mid-September, more than 2,500 homes in four counties were visited.

Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., was selected as the hub for all international aid air shipments for Hurricane Katrina. The Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency at Tyndall AFB, Fla., managed about $35 million in contingency response service through the Air Force Contract Augmentation Program. The program allows the agency to provide contracted support during contingency and humanitarian operations.

The Air Force Reserve “Hurricane Hunters” flew into Hurricane Rita as the storm approached the coast to provide up-to-date information on weather conditions and forecasts. Fuels Airmen from Ellington Field, Texas, distributed more than 800 gallons of diesel fuel to evacuation buses there.

Having all the Air Force components work together showcased what the service is all about, said acting Secretary of the Air Force Pete Geren.

“Our goal was to save lives and help the people recover from this disaster,” he said.

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