LETTER: Civil Air Patrol memories from 9/11

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In the late afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, the most crowded skies of the world became silent. There were no high streaks of contrails mixing with clouds. The ever present life-saving chatter of air traffic controllers ceased. A kind of strange eerie void had restored the heavens to its pristine past. Nothing man-made moved in the skies above the United States.
Nothing, except a single small airplane lifting in the late afternoon from Bowman Field en route to the New York area with rare and precious medical supplies.
The Kentucky Wing of Civil Air Patrol had been task by the United States Air Force just two hours earlier. The receiving airports could not accommodate large Air Force type aircraft that had to transport the unique medical supplies that were located in Kentucky.
Pilots, Capt. Larry Herzog and Lt. Tony Koenig, likened the flight to being the only vehicle on a normally congested California expressway. As one of them said, “Drifting through the night skies alone on 9/11 was both thrilling and downright weird.”
The mission was very successful. Lives were saved.
The Civil Air Patrol sometimes refers to itself as the “professional volunteer silent service.”  Events such as this, as well as Katrina, missions for the state, search and rescue, emergency communication systems, etc., may help to change that.
Since 1942, the Civil Air Patrol has been an example of the kind of volunteerism that has helped make our country great.
Tom Schmitt, Lt. Col. CAP
Kentucky Wing Vice Commander