RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol is assisting the state Department of Health in delivering the first allocation of coronavirus vaccines.

The Civil Air Patrol said it's flying the Pfizer vaccine to smaller communities in South Dakota with its fleet of single-engine Cessna aircraft, flown by its volunteer pilots and crews. Other volunteer members will assist with mission planning and logistical support, the patrol said.

“We are proud that the State of South Dakota asked us to help them with this life-saving mission,” said Col. Nick Gengler, SDWG commander. “Since the early days of World War II, the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol has helped the state and nation with missions important to our safety and security.”

The patrol has planes and air crews in Sioux Falls, Pierre, Rapid City, and Spearfish, Pierre, and Brookings. The wing can deploy its six Cessna aircraft and its vans where needed to assist in emergency response and other support to local, state, tribal, and federal agencies.

The South Dakota patrol has more than 400 members in units in Sioux Falls, Tea, Brookings, Mitchell, Miller, Pierre, Rapid City, Spearfish, and Custer.

The Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.

South Dakota health officials on Tuesday reported 345 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest number since Oct. 27. The number of confirmed cases since the start of pandemic stands at 91,699. Two deaths were reported in the last day, lifting the total to 1,261.