Florida Wing Chaplain Part Of Joint Forces Ministry Team
Helping Volunteers Deal With Stress
Although the Civil Air Patrol is receiving high marks and
accolades for the daily flights aircrews are performing in support
of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response, flying is not all CAP
is doing to support this mission. Since mid-May, Florida Wing
Chaplain Lt. Col. Marcus L. Taylor has acted as CAP's
representative on the newly-formed Joint Force Ministry Team at the
Deepwater Horizon incident command post, or ICP, in Mobile. He puts
in 14 hours a day six days a week visiting the ICP's 1,200 workers,
encouraging and uplifting them as well as providing counseling.
Lt. Col. Marcus Taylor
"Though the days are long, the pace and stress levels in the ICP
are consistently high, and the challenges come on a daily basis, it
is truly a high honor to be able to serve and represent CAP in this
capacity," said Taylor. He also conducts three worship services -
two on Sunday and one mid-week service on Wednesday evening - and
is adviser to the command staff on moral, spiritual, morale and
welfare issues concerning all oil spill response personnel.
In addition, he attends and participates in change of command
and other various ceremonies and makes visits in the communities
affected by the oil spill, attending town hall meetings designed to
spread goodwill and to keep Gulf Coast residents abreast of the
cleanup efforts. Taylor, like all of the more than 600 CAP members
who have participated in the response, are unpaid professionals
donating their diverse skills and service to the effort. To date,
more than 2,100 hours have been flown by CAP aircrews in connection
with the oil spill response. Volunteers from 10 states, including
the Gulf states of Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, have worked
for 109 days as part of the response, accumulating more than 18,000
Last week, Florida Wing - at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard
- suspended its flights in support of the Deepwater Horizon
Response. The wing's aircrews will remain on standby in case they
are needed. The federally-supported mission, however, continues for
CAP aircrews in Alabama and Mississippi, who are still flying out
of Mobile and Gulfport, MS.
Taylor initially flew two weeks with a CAP aircrew out of Elgin
Air Force Base in Florida in early May, before taking on his new
role with the Joint Force Ministry Team in Mobile. He was assigned
to the ICP by Southeast Region Commander Col. James Rushing and
Chaplain Col. Whit Woodard, National Chief of the CAP Chaplain
Corps, after it became obvious that the stress levels of the
Deepwater Horizon Response personnel needed to be addressed.
Taylor quickly gained the confidence and support of U.S. Coast
Guard Chaplain Lt. Joseph Johnson, at the time the sole chaplain
present at the ICP. "I know my own prayers were answered when the
Lord sent Civil Air Patrol Chaplain Taylor to help," said
Soon after, the Alabama Army and Air National Guard assigned
chaplain teams and the Joint Forces Ministry Team was formed.
"Being here is no doubt a high honor and moment of achievement for
CAP, and one that is truly making history for our organization,"
said Taylor. "The number of man-hours given, the quality of the
product being produced and delivered and the level of
professionalism displayed as we perform our assigned missions and
duties speak volumes for CAP as a major player in this crisis."