Civil Air Patrol
  • Aircrew returing to base

Maryland Wing crews deploy to Puerto Rico for disaster relief mission

10/1/2017 – BALTIMORE –Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol aircrew members are headed to Puerto Rico later today to assist with disaster relief following Hurricane Maria.  The crew, departing from Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River, will fly the wing’s GippsAero GA8 Airvan to the island with plans to serve for 10-15 days.

Mission pilots Lt. Col. Peter Loewenheim and Lt. Col. Tony Vallillo, who lead the pilot standards and evaluations section of Maryland Wing, are joined by 1st Lt. Richard Marko of the Montgomery Senior Squadron in Gaithersburg and 1st Lt. Michael Heuss of the Apollo 1 Senior Squadron located at Tipton Airport near Fort Meade.  Marko and Heuss will serve as aerial photographers during the mission.

Aircrews expect to be tasked with aerial imagery sorties, where CAP photographers will capture images which will provide a clear, visible picture of the situation on the ground for both state and emergency management officials.

“Maryland CAP aircrews, along with crews from across the country, train hundreds of hours a year to be ready to serve when the call for assistance is made. Our crews are dedicated volunteer professionals who understand they will be operating in very primitive conditions due to the amount of devastation in Puerto Rico,” states Lt. Col. John Henderson, Maryland Wing vice commander for operations.  “They are eager to step up to support operations, understanding the grave situation currently being faced by the citizens there.  It is our hope, along with the many professionals already on the ground there, that we can provide manpower and resources to support the recovery operations.”

Nearly 1,500 CAP members serve in Maryland. Last year wing members flew 13 search and rescue missions. The wing was credited with four finds. Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland. Members flew 2,245 hours in all mission categories. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For more information, contact the Maryland Wing at

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. Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit for more information.


Photo:  Maryland Wing’s GA8 Airvan, N608CP.

Lt. Col. Brenda A. Reed, CAP
Public Information Officer, Maryland Wing

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