South Dakota Civil Air Patrol has received a rare award for excellence. The Unit Citation Award, given by the organization’s national headquarters, recognized unprecedented growth and accomplishments during 2019.
In the online presentation ceremony, CAP North Central Region Commander, Col. John O’Neill, praised South Dakota CAP members. He noted that the award is rare that he has never seen one presented.
“You very clearly earned this award in 2019, but you haven’t stopped,” he said. “2020 has been a crazy year, and you in South Dakota Wing have stepped to the forefront, still, and continued this tradition.”
Among the Wing’s accomplishments in 2019:
- Recruitment – An increase in squadrons in the Wing Aerospace
- Education – Camps in rural and underserved communities
- Legislative Squadron – Huge increase in membership. Nearly all 105 members of the South Dakota State Legislators are also members of the legislative squadron, as well as the growth of other units
- Emergency Services — First wing to use sUAS (drones) in a real mission
- Emergency Services — Developed national training standards for the use of sUAVs
- Emergency Services — Conducted a variety of missing persons and disaster relief missions
In the last several days, the South Dakota Wing has assisted the South Dakota Department of Health with COVID-19 vaccination transport flights. Additional flights are anticipated.
South Dakota Wing has over 400 members in units in Brookings, Custer, Miller, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Spearfish, and Tea. Wing aircraft and aircrews are located in Sioux Falls, Pierre, Rapid City, Spearfish, and Brookings. The wing can deploy its six aircraft and ground teams where needed to assist in emergency response and other support to local, state, tribal, and federal agencies.