Knowing that there is someone looking out for you always give you a good feeling. Seeing a police officer on your morning jog or lifeguards when you go to the beach or the pool provide you with a peace of mind that someone is out there helping keep you safe.
We also get that same feeling from our local Civil Air Patrol squadron. With four pilots and more than 30 volunteers, the St. Simons Island squadron of the Civil Air Patrol is ready to handle any emergencies handed to it. The News got an up-close look at that Saturday while the CAP conducted a quarterly drill.
One of the drills conducted Saturday involved finding an Electronic Location Transponder that was hidden in Jesup by a CAP volunteer. The ELT emits emergency notice if a plane’s altimeter measures a sudden descent that would indicate distress. Pilot Bob Speight and volunteer Greg Moore had no trouble finding the hidden ELT.
With two busy airports in the Golden Isles, a plane being in distress is bound to happen. It’s nice to see that are local CAP is ready to help out when called on, which happens regularly in the U.S.
The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center regularly calls on CAP squadrons across the country to respond in such emergencies. Nationwide, some 90 percent of calls to the center are ultimately entrusted to CAP squadrons.
Of course, our local CAP also has other duties that help out the area. They help keep our beaches and beachgoers safe with their Sundown Patrols. Four days a week, Thursday through Sunday, CAP pilots take to the skies looking for anything out of the ordinary.
Those patrols will be very important as the crowds get bigger this summer at the beach as the patrol adds another layer to helping make sure there are no swimmers that are caught in the tide.
Our local CAP is among the oldest in the nation, started during World War II to help keep a watch out for enemy submarines along the coast. We thank all of the pilots and volunteers of the CAP for helping keep our area safe. The mission may be a little different now, but their dedication to protecting residents remains the same.