Signal Mountain CAP Volunteer Serves In Puerto Rico

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Major Gary Fiser, a resident of Signal Mountain and volunteer member of the Civil Air Patrol, answered the call from CAP’s Tennessee Wing headquarters last week and was flown to Puerto Rico to assist in photographic reconnaissance missions at the request of FEMA. 

Leaving Chattanooga’s Lovell Field early on Friday morning, he and the Tennessee Wing Group 2 Commander, Captain Deming Gray, flew one of CAP’s Cessna 182’s to Tyndall Air Force Base near Tallahassee, Fl.  From there Major Fiser boarded a Boeing C-40 Clipper, a military version of the Boeing 737 operated by the U. S. Air Force and was flown, along with five other CAP members, to Isla Grande Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

Major Fiser said the locals were very gracious and made him, and the other five members of the mainland based team feel welcome.  Major Fiser said “The squadron there is small, and many of the members had already been tasked with disaster relief and tending the needs of other storm victims. They really appreciated our efforts there.” 

While there, Major Fiser was tasked to an aircrew and served as airborne photographer for two days of photographic reconnaissance flights, capturing digital photographs of the storm damage on some of the islands around Puerto Rico including St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix, Vieques, and some of the less inhabited islands.  Once the images were captured, processed and delivered to FEMA, the mission was complete, and on Monday he was flown back to Tennessee. 

Major Fiser said “The islands of St Thomas and St John were hard hit by the hurricane, and most of the buildings were severely damaged or destroyed.  The islands of St Croix and Vieques also sustained damage, though not as extensively.  Please continue to keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers.” 

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, 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 80 lives annually. 

CAP’s 57,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com for more information. 

“Major Fiser has been a member of CAP for more than a decade, and has served as the Choo Choo Squadron’s commander, and is currently our Group 2 Safety Officer,” said Captain Deming Gray, Tennessee Wing’s Group 2 Commander.  “In addition to being a qualified mission pilot and airborne photographer, he frequently serves as mission safety officer, responsible for the safe execution of many of our search and rescue exercises.  He is clearly a valuable member of our organization, and a fine example of the volunteer spirit of Tennessee.” 

Major Fiser is a local real estate investor and builder working in the Chattanooga area.  

 




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