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First Air Force continues pandemic supply transport; bolsters response through CAP

  • Published
  • By CONR - 1 AF/AFNORTH Public Affairs

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, New Hampshire Wing, enters the seventh week of COVID-19 pandemic-related missions. The most visible task the wing has carried out is the transport and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE).

In its capacity as the U.S. Air Force auxiliary, and at the request of the State Department of Health and Human Services and the state Emergency Operations Center, wing members have picked up and transported hundreds of cases of PPE daily.

“Assisting the people of New Hampshire during this time of great need is an honor we take to heart,” said Maj. Gen. Brian Simpler, Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander, 1st Air Force (AFNORTH). “Providing this additional capability through CAP means a more robust pandemic response for our citizens.”

The wing members are transporting trailer loads of PPE directly to hospitals and other major facilities in addition to setting up central points of distribution around the state, where first responders, health-care professionals and other critical service providers can pick up the equipment.

“When agencies providing critical services throughout New Hampshire are at risk of running out of the PPE, Civil Air Patrol is working daily to make sure they don’t,” said Col. William Moran, New Hampshire Wing incident commander. “On any given day, we have up to four CAP vehicles and trailers, escorted by state troopers, traveling hundreds of miles to transport PPE or issue it from points of distribution.”

The Wing has distributed more than 1,500 cases of PPE, including masks, face shields and gowns since being tasked with the mission by First Air Force on March 25. Wing members and the New Hampshire National Guard have been working daily to distribute a delivery of 91,000 pounds of additional PPE that came to the state from China.

"Every day for the last month, CAP airmen across the Granite State have been engaged in supporting our first responders in the fight against COVID-19. Distributing PPE is a critical need that our airmen are proud to fill," said Col. Darin Ninness, New Hampshire Wing commander.

Three legislators were among the members volunteers distributing PPE: Majs. Mark Pearson (Rockingham, District 34), and Tim Lang (Belknap, District 4) and Lt. Col. Jess Edwards (Rockingham, District 4), who are state representatives and belong to the wing’s Legislative Squadron.

Acting as a Total Force partner and official civilian auxiliary of the Air Force, Civil Air Patrol is aligned with First Air Force to rapidly respond to non-military threats domestically when tasked in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance.

Contributions to report from: Maj. Michael Kieloch, Civil Air Patrol New Hampshire