Dozens of personnel from Civil Air Patrol‘s Texas Wing remain on duty in Moore, Okla., performing damage assessment of homes, public buildings and businesses more than a week after a twister tore a 17-mile-long track through the town of about 45,000 residents.
“Texas Wing has been absolutely monumental in us completing the mission that FEMA has given us,” said CAP Capt. Rick Rutledge, Oklahoma Wing Public Affairs Officer.  “They were able to send us members almost immediately after the tornado struck. We’ve had Texas Wing boots on the ground literally in less than 24 hours.”

The EF-5 twister mowed its destructive path through Moore May 20, killing seven students when it demolished Plaza Towers Elementary School. Moore is located in the central part of the state and is considered part of Oklahoma City’s metropolitan area. The area is known as “Tornado Alley.”

CAP’s role in the recovery phase involves detailing the destruction from both ground and air for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We’re literally having to send teams to each and every house and business that’s been damaged. From the air side, we’ve been able to provide [FEMA] with high-definition photographs for the entire 17-mile track of the tornado,” Rutledge said.

An estimated 80 CAP air and ground team members – many of them teenage cadets -- from Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Arkansas are augmenting 450 FEMA personnel who, by Memorial Day, had delivered 43,000 meals and 150,000 liters of water, along with thousands of cots, blankets and other comfort items. FEMA officials say 4,200 people have applied for disaster assistance. The agency has approved an estimated $3.4 million in emergency cash payments to victims of the tornado.

“Texas Wing is honored to have the opportunity to serve in the support mission for the Moore, Oklahoma tornado,” said CAP Col. Brooks Cima, Texas Wing Commander.

Cima says approximately 30 Texas Wing members are in Oklahoma, providing air and ground communications and mission support in addition to performing damage assessment. She said CAP Wings have a long tradition of supporting each other during emergencies.

“Oklahoma Wing has supported Texas when we’ve suffered from hurricanes,” said Cima. “We owe them that same loyalty.”

Moore previously suffered extensive damage from tornados on Oct. 4, 1998; May 3, 1999, May 8, 2003; and May 10, 2012. The 1999 twister was at the time considered the costliest in U.S. history.