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Civil Air Patrol's Texas Wing set for first disaster drill in Nacogdoches

The Texas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol will undergo its semiannual evaluation this weekend by the U.S. Air Force. For the first time, this exercise will be carried out at the Texas Wing’s new headquarters in Nacogdoches, Texas. Capt. David McCollum of Spring, Texas, said the Air Force will evaluate the Texas Wing’s search and rescue response and a how it functions in a natural disaster scenario. He estimates about 70 members of the Civil Air Patrol will participate in the mock drill.

"If a hurricane were to strike the Texas coast or tornados would hit in central Texas -- picture a natural disaster -- they would want to know that we can perform our missions in a very competent and capable manner. So, this biannual review is the Air Force’s way to give us a grade," McCollum said.

During the weekend, McCollum said, Nacogdoches residents may notice a number of planes flying at relatively low altitudes in zigzag patterns. Also, ground teams clad in battle fatigues may walk around town, or possibly go door to door in some neighborhoods. He said don’t be alarmed because there’s nothing afoot.

"Depending on what the scenario the Air Force provides us, they could be looking for lost people, injured people, simulated downed airplanes. So, there should be no cause for concern, and we’re concerned that people might feel that way given the terrorist activities recently," McCollum said.

The exercise will get under way on Saturday morning and end midday Sunday. The Civil Air Patrol is the auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and is credited with saving more than 100 lives this year alone through its volunteer ranks.