Published Friday, February 15th, 2008
Mike Marek, assistant professor of mass communications at Wayne State College, was named to the national staff of the auxiliary of the United States Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol.
Mike Marek, assistant professor of mass communications at Wayne State College, was named to the national staff of the auxiliary of the United States Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol. Marek will oversee the two-way radio communications program of the volunteer organization, which has more than 56,000 members.
The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is best known for its airborne search and rescue services, including the extended search for world-famous aviator Steve Fossett in 2007. CAP also provides other emergency services, disaster relief and homeland security services for federal, state and local agencies, including aerial photography.
“Radio communication is vital for an emergency services agency like CAP,” Marek noted. “During disasters, commercial phone and internet services tend to fail, and it is essential that emergency services agencies still be able to communicate, both among their own teams and with other agencies.”
The nationwide CAP communication system has close to 24,000 radios, including long-distance High Frequency (HF) radios as well as VHF land mobile and base station radios, deployed in CAP units in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, all managed by a volunteer staff organized along military lines. Marek, a member of CAP since 1984, holds the CAP rank of lieutenant colonel.
"We are pleased to have Lt. Col. Mike Marek as a member of the Civil Air Patrol's national team of advisers," said Interim CAP National Commander Brig. Gen. Amy Courter. "Lt. Col. Marek's expertise will empower our citizen volunteers to better serve their communities, which is what our organization is committed to do. Through his leadership, our volunteers will be better equipped to perform our missions and serve our communities."
“The biggest part of this volunteer job is working with people,” Marek said. “It is coordinating all of these dedicated communicators, but also trying to keep them all going the same direction, policy-wise. That requires use of a lot of the skills I teach – use of interactive electronic media, like the Internet and e-mail, and a good measure of internal public relations.”
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 56,000 members nationwide. CAP performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 103 lives in fiscal year 2007. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counter-drug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the nearly 22,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for more than 65 years.