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NC and SC Receive AFNORTH Commanders Award

Award Presentation
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NC and SC Wing Commanders Receiving the AFNORTH Commanders Award. (L-R, Maj Steve Askew, SC; Col Francis Smith, SC/CC; Col David Crawford, NC/CC; Maj Gen Trulan Eyre, AFNORTH ; Maj Gen Joe Vazquez, CAP/CC). CAP Photo by Col Jane Davies (click image to view full size)
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Most Meritorious Civil Air Patrol Mission in 2013

8/26/2014––During a ceremony held at the 2014 Civil Air Patrol National Conference in Las Vegas, NV on August 16th, 2014, the North and South Carolina Wings of the Civil Air Patrol were awarded the AFNORTH Commanders Award for the Most Meritorious Civil Air Patrol Mission in 2013.  The award was presented in recognition of the two wing's outstanding support to the United States Marine Corps during "Shadow Support", a mission to provide escort for a USMC un-manned aerial system conducted at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point during August and September 2013.

The respective Wing Commanders (Col David Crawford, NC and Col Francis Smith, SC) along with a representative of the aircrews (Maj Steve Askew, SC) were on hand to receive the award which was presented byMaj. Gen. Trulan Eyre, Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander, Continental U.S. Northern Aerospace Defense Region-1st Air Force (AFNORTH).




Members of the North Carolina and South Carolina Wings, Middle East Region, distinguished themselves in the performance of outstanding service to the United States of America from 25 August 2013 through 10 September 2013 in support of the United States Marine Corps Unmanned Aerial System Airspace Integration Exercise conducted at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.  The NORTHCOM exercise demonstrated to the Federal Aviation Administration and others that the Marine Corps could safely operate unmanned aerial systems in the National Airspace System without incident.  Successful accomplishment of this objective required the Civil Air Patrol team to develop new, and modify existing procedures to maneuver, conduct precise rendezvous, and fly close escort of the unmanned system in confined airspace.  The task was further complicated by the unmanned aerial system’s extremely small size, cruise speeds near the CAP aircraft minimum flying speed, and precise rendezvous timing requirements measured in seconds.  Civil Air Patrol ground personnel coordinated simultaneously with Marine Corps operators and up to three airborne Civil Air Patrol aircraft in order to accomplish specific exercise goals.  Another Civil Air Patrol first occurred when a United States Army Blackhawk helicopter participated in the exercise. Civil Air Patrol personnel quickly developed communication procedures, as well as rendezvous and hand off procedures, to smoothly integrate unmanned aerial system escort transfer from a rotary wing aircraft to a fixed wing aircraft.  It is believed this is the first time in aviation history this has been accomplished.  Civil Air Patrol aircrews from the two wings flew 99 flight hours over 65 sorties without incident and completed 100% of the exercise goals at minimum cost in this first-of-its-kind event in Marine Corps history.  The singularly distinctive accomplishments of members of the North Carolina and South Carolina Wings reflect great credit upon themselves, the Middle East Region, Civil Air Patrol and the United States Air Force.