Aside from these important missions, CAP also plays a role in providing Aerospace Education, which includes aviation and STEM careers. Members serve as mentors to 24,000 individuals who participate in the Cadet Program, which is something CAP also provides.

A meeting with Civil Air Patrol and the Experimental Aircraft Association was held on February 9 at the Louisiana Regional Airport in Gonzales. The joint meeting included a demonstration of the Civil Air Patrol conducting a Disaster Relief Mission.

Before the meeting began, there were plenty of small planes inside to check out, including the one they were going to be flying for the Disaster Relief demonstration.

"I don't think a majority of people know exactly what you all do," Parish President Kenny Matassa said at the meeting. "For example, if someone is missing on a boat, you help in the search for them. We really value your services and dedication to the community."

Matassa received an award from the Civil Air Patrol, which recognized the support of the parish for their operations.

The Civil Air Patrol is an all volunteer group, and an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, with over 1,500 units across the country. They have the largest fleet of single engine aircraft in the nation, and CAP flies about 100,000 hours annually. Seventy percent of the flights are support missions, while thirty percent of flights are training flights. The flight that occurred on February 9 was considered a training exercise.

Aside from these important missions, CAP also plays a role in providing Aerospace Education, which includes aviation and STEM careers. Members serve as mentors to 24,000 individuals who participate in the Cadet Program, which is something CAP also provides.

Two cadets were given awards at the meeting on February 9, including Cadet Morgan and Cadet Townson. These two were awarded based on their excellence in the Civil Air Patrol, and both have earned the Aerospace Excellence Award.

Lt. Col. Mickey Marchand explained some specific involvement of the Ascension Parish Squadron.

"We flew over 1,000 sorties for Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the Southwest Louisiana areas," he said. "During the Great Flood of 2016 in Ascension, we took over 3,000 geo-tagged photos and uploaded them to Digital Louisiana in order to better service the area in repairs and sending help. When the Mississippi River flooded, we worked 42 consecutive days, with continuous operations, and sent photos of the river to GOHSEP."

Since CAP is an auxiliary of the military, they report to the commander of Northcom, which stands for United States Northern Command. It is a Unified Combatant Command that provides military support for non-military authorities.

"We are a volunteer service, so our CAP volunteers do not get paid," Marchand said. "However, when we are offered a mission, and we accept it, we are then given a mission number that allows us to charge expenses. Expenses really only include the airplane fuel and maintenance on those planes."

Typically, CAP does one mission with one ground search team. One group of eyes from the sky, and another group of eyes on the ground. There are numerous ground search teams, and Marchand noted that St. Tammany and the Northshore squadrons have great ground search teams.

There are three spots in a Civil Air Patrol plane that are occupied. These spots include the pilot, who flies the plane, and the observer, who is looking out of the window for any clues, and then the scanner in the backseat, who scans for emergency signals and helps plot those points.

After CAP explained what would be happening during the mock Disaster Relief flight, the group helped prepare the plane for flight, brought it outside, and checked signals and connections inside of the plane. Then, it was time for takeoff.

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