Hurricane Tracker

Cadets Essential in Post-Hurricane Data Collection

August 29, 2018, 1:36 PM HST
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The Hawai‘i Wing Civil Air Patrol (CAP) reports that cadets formed the bulk of a Ground Photography Team on Maui Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, gathering photographic evidence of the flash-flood impact resulting from Hurricane Lane, while an O‘ahu cadet filled an essential role on the Big Island as Mission Radio Operator at the Kona Incident Command Post.

Maui Composite Squadron cadets examine the Ulu Malu sinkhole in Maui on Tuesday. Photo by Capt. Chantal Lonergan, Hawaii Wing.

The Maui Composite Squadron cadets were led by Squadron Commander Major Charles Dryden and Captain Chantal Lonergan, the Hawai‘i Wing Inspector General. The cadets were Senior Master Sergeants Xiana Crenshaw and Jaden Pladera, Master Sergeant Kaiya Meier, Staff Sergeant Arnubi Gomes, and Senior Airman Jonah Wilsey-Botelho.

The Ground Photography Team was sent out to examine and photograph four locations identified as flood-impact areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), covering a distance of over 50 miles. FEMA has asked members of the Hawai‘i Wing and the general public to download the agency’s app to their smartphones and use it to take photos of high-water marks (HWMs) from receding floodwaters and water “wreck lines” left by flash floods.

Maui Composite Squadron cadets discuss their findings with Squadron Commander Major Charles Dryden at a washed-out bridge on the Hana Highway in Maui. Photo by Capt. Chantal Lonergan, Hawaii Wing.

In an email to Incident Command Post personnel dated Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018, FEMA Geospatial Information Officer Christopher Vaughan applauded CAP’s contributions to the FEMA mission, writing, “The deployment of CAP ground teams to collect HWM’s will drastically change how quickly we (GIS) can generate initial flood extents following impact.”

In Kona, Cadet Captain Zachary Simbajon was the Mission Radio Operator for the Incident Command Post. Simbajon maintained communication between the Incident Command Post and the Maui Ground Photography Team in order to monitor the status of their operations, their location, and their welfare. The Maryknoll Cadet Squadron member also served as a Mission Staff Assistant to the Incident Command Team, doing whatever tasks would allow adult team members to keep up with phone calls, correspondence, and customer requests.

Cadet Captain Zachary Simbajon serves as Mission Radio Operator for the Kona Incident Command Post. He is a member of the Maryknoll Cadet Squadron. Photo by Capt. Jen Herrington, Hawaii Wing.

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Civil Air Patrol is a volunteer organization whose mission is to support America’s communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development, and promotion of air, space, and cyber power. The cadet youth throughout Hawai‘i make up a large proportion of Hawai‘i Wing’s trained ground team members.

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Major Dryden praised the cadets’ performance Tuesday stating, “The cadets executed the mission well. They faced and overcame a number of challenges to help make the mission a success. One of the biggest challenges was incorporating multiple technology platforms so that the team could translate location data received from the FEMA tasking into viable routes using available roads and paths. They also practiced radio communications, and at one site, they interviewed local residents affected by the storm.”

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