Civil Air Patrol Performs Aerial Photo Recon Mission To Assess Flooding Effects In Humboldt County

Posted By on February 27, 2017

by Major Dale Brown, CAP, public affairs officer, Douglas County Composite Squadron, Nevada Wing · 4 min read

MINDEN, Nev. — The Douglas County Composite Squadron, Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), headquartered in Minden, Nevada, completed an aerial photo reconnaissance mission in support of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department to assess the extent and damage of recent flooding.

“We were doing camera training when the call came in that the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department had requested photo support to help assess damage from recent flooding,” said Lt. Colonel Brad Spires, the mission pilot commanding CAP2722, a CAP Cessna 182. “Our incident commander Lt. Col. Dennis Gordon gave us the areas the sheriff wanted searched, and I developed a search plan that evening.”

The crew–Lt. Colonel James Baushke as mission observer (copilot) and 1st. Lieutenant Jack Hampel as mission scanner (photographer) met Col. Spires for breakfast the next morning. Col. Spires briefed the mission to his crew, and they were airborne a short time later.

Photo taken from CAP2722 of flooded fields and ranches 2 mi. southeast of Paradise Valley
(photo courtesy of Humboldt County Sheriff’s Dept.)

“It was flown on the weekend when the Nevada Wing staff meeting and commander’s call was being held in Hawthorne, so Minden had the only crew available to fly,” remarked Col. Baushke. “We really lucked out with the weather.”

The four and a half hour mission took the crew from north of Rye Patch Reservoir, Paradise Valley, Orovada, Kings River Valley, and as far north as McDermitt, Oregon. “Some ranchers are going to have to use a rowboat to get to their homes,” Col. Baushke remarked. The crew then proceeded south to Winnemucca and then headed back to Minden.

The searches in the target areas were flown at one thousand feet above ground and flying about 90 miles an hour. Lt. Hampel took over one hundred and fifty high-resolution digital photographs of swollen rivers, streams, ranches, and roads, which were all made available to the sheriff a short time after CAP2722 returned to Minden.

“Humboldt County did not experience significant flooding or structural damage,” Col. Baushke commented. “Now they have proof. You don’t know and can’t confirm unless you have eyes in the sky.”

The crew of CAP2722 of the Douglas County Composite Squadron, Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol review their Humboldt County photo reconnaissance mission. Seated: 1st. Lt. Jack Hampel, mission scanner. Standing l to r.: Lt. Colonel James Baushke, mission observer, and Lt. Colonel Brad Spires, mission pilot (photo by Dale Brown).

“Excellent crew work, with Jim sharing en route flying,” Col. Spires said. “Great camera work by Jack, and great job by Dennis in the mission base and Capt. Carl Kennedy in communications. For me, routine. It’s what we do every day. We like that we are getting more tasking from local law enforcement and fire units.”

The Douglas County Composite Squadron, Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol has 35 volunteer Senior members and 21 cadets, and welcomes new members to train to perform emergency services missions such as this, and much more. Contact Capt. Susan Kennedy, squadron commander, at 775-783-1008, and visit us on Facebook at

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach
about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit for more information.