Civil Air Patrol
  • Aircrew returing to base

Civil Air Patrol aircrews provide eyes in the sky over Chesapeake Bay

May 28, 2019 — MIDDLE RIVER, Md. — Maryland residents are taking advantage of summer weather and enjoying the Chesapeake Bay and all its waters have to offer. Making sure everything is okay, Civil Air Patrol is on Bay Patrol.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Civil Air Patrol aircrews fly weekend and holiday missions scanning the Chesapeake Bay from above to identify and report what officials call “unusual observations in the vicinity of vital facilities,” as well as identifying, reporting and coordinating the provision of assistance to boaters in distress.

“The Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol has a successful history of conducting missions along the Chesapeake Bay,” said Col. Joseph Winter, CAP Maryland Wing commander. “This is in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the United States Coast Guard, local Marine law enforcement, and the Governor’s office of Homeland Security.”

Civil Air Patrol, or CAP, provides emergency services support such as search and rescue, disaster relief, counterdrug and Homeland Security as part of the organization’s role as the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary and its mission to provide “defense support to civil authorities” under Title 10. CAP also provides assistance to state and local authorities in many cases.

Winter said CAP has the ability to provide mission critical support by expanding its footprint to include critical infrastructures on the Chesapeake Bay.

“By adding another resource to monitor for environmental, ecological or hostile human threats to the State of Maryland and the United States, CAP adds a cost effective force multiplier to increase our overall capability to protect these assets that are critical to the health of the state and nation,” Winter said.

Nearly 1,500 members serve in Civil Air Patrol’s Maryland Wing. Last year, wing members flew 13 actual search and rescue missions. Overall, the Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland, flying 2,245 hours in all mission categories, and was credited with four finds. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For information, contact the Maryland Wing at or follow the wing on Facebook.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, 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 82 lives annually. CAP’s 61,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 25,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit or for information.

Civil Air Patrol Lt. Col. Tom Curran (left), pilot-in-command, and mission observer 1st Lt. Rudy Barich, fly a Bay Patrol mission over the Chesapeake Bay May 26, 2019. (Civil Air Patrol photo by Senior Member David McNally)

SM David McNally
Assistant Public Affairs Officer
Harford Composite Squadron

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