BARNEGAT, NJ - A few weeks ago, Barnegat Mayor Al Cirulli took advantage of the opportunity to fly with Ocean County’s Black Sheep Squadron. Admitting that he didn’t know much about the group’s operations, Cirulli sang the praises of the services performed from the air.

“The Black Sheep Squadron is a group of volunteer pilots, observers and logistic people that patrol all of Ocean County on at least a weekly basis from the air.” shared the mayor. “They map out at least fourteen checkpoints of Ocean County and fly all over these areas.”

Also referred to as the Ocean Air Support Squadron, the group works in conjunction with the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, Emergency Services Unit and the United States Coast Guard. Their sunset missions typically last 90 minutes and occur during the Jersey shore’s high tourist season from May until September.

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Volunteers join together to assist authorities in monitoring both motor vehicle and boating accidents. They also look for issues dealing with pollution spills as far as identifying sources and keeping track of them.

Mayor Cirulli shared further information he learned during his ride with the Black Sheep Squadron. “They report on fires… swimmers in trouble, illegal ATV riders and illegal dumpers, and anything suspicious to all the appropriate agencies.”

Unfortunately, the heat affected Cirulli during his excursion, however, the mayor said he would go back up there in a “flash.”  He marveled at the view of the Pinelands from 1,000 feet.

Another Barnegat government representative flies as a part of the Black Sheep Squadron. An experienced pilot, Deputy Mayor John J. Novak commended the organization. “They’re an excellent group,” shared Novak. “Best pilots in the world.”

According to the Ocean Air Support Squadron website, the group is dedicated to flying aerial surveillance missions along the Ocean County coastline and inland areas. They focus on aviation, public safety and homeland security.


Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing and resume service. Feel free to contact her at