BENNINGTON >> Herb Loretan and Charles Suss are certified general aviation pilots and volunteer members with the Southern Vermont Senior Flight of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in Bennington. They were recently recognized by commander Major Ronald Ascher at an achievement ceremony for earning their qualifications necessary to be assigned as a CAP Transport Mission Pilot (TMP). Loretan and Suss successfully completed written and flying examinations which demonstrate that the candidates possess the aeronautical knowledge, aircraft systems knowledge and flying skills needed to perform any missions/flights within the stringent safety programs of CAP. A TMP may be assigned to fly people or supplies, such as blood products quickly to smaller airports that larger aircraft may not be able to access. Additionally TMP's can fly as a "high-bird", practically acting as a radio repeater supporting a myriad of missions for CAP and its partners. Each pilot has over 4,000 hours of flying time.
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 www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.
In Vermont, CAP has seven squadrons, three light aircraft, nine ground vehicles, a sophisticated radio communications network, and over 160 volunteer members. In addition to their cadet and aerospace education program, they provide low-cost Aerial Imagery/Incident Awareness and Assessment, Search and Rescue, Emergency Airlift & Light Air Transportation, Communications, and Disaster Relief Services. Visit vtcap.org to learn about opportunities for all Vermonters.