Wright
          Brothers 282nd Aero Composite Squadron - Civil Air Patrol

CIVIL AIR PATROL MISSIONS

INTRODUCTION
The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is the civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force. We are a volunteer, non-profit organization made up of aviation-minded adult and youth cadet members committed to serving the nation and our communities.

MISSIONS
As an official auxiliary of the Air Force, CAP has three principal missions - Emergency Services, Aerospace Education, and a youth Cadet Program.

HISTORY
Civil Air Patrol was organized December 1, 1941, as part of the U.S. Office of Civilian Defense. During World War II, its members provided orientation flights to thousands of prospective aviation cadets and recruits. Members also flew more than 24 million miles on coastal patrol operations, searching for German U-boats off the coasts of the United States. Civil Air Patrol coastal patrol pilots summoned help for 91 ships in distress and 363 survivors of submarine attacks. Patrol crews spotted 173 enemy submarines, dropped bombs or depth charges on 57 of them and received credit for sinking or seriously damaging at least two. Others were destroyed by planes and ships summoned by Civil Air Patrol pilots.

Civil Air Patrol crews flew many other wartime missions, including a courier service for airlift of personnel and light cargo; target towing and tracking flights for training anti-aircraft gunners; powerline and pipeline surveillance; forest fire patrol; and patrol along the southern U.S. border. Sixty-four members died while performing operations in support of the armed forces in the early years of the Civil Air Patrol.

The organization became a permanent peacetime institution on July 1, 1946. On that date, President Harry S. Truman signed Public Law 476 of the 79th Congress, incorporating Civil Air Patrol in its present form.

Civil Air Patrol became a permanent civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force in May 1948 with the enactment of Public Law 557 of the 80th Congress.

EMERGENCY SERVICES
This is perhaps CAP's best-known activity, at least in the public eye. It entails air and ground search and rescue, local disaster relief, homeland security, passive counter-drug activity, as well as cooperation with and assistance to other emergency services agencies. CAP members fly 80 percent of all the hours flown on search and rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC). The AFRCC coordinates search and rescue efforts within the inland search and rescue region (48 contiguous states). Civil Air Patrol is also active in Alaska where it is directed in its search operations by the Alaskan Air Command Rescue Coordination Center. In Hawaii, CAP works under the direction of the Pacific Air Forces Joint Rescue Coordination Center. In Puerto Rico, Civil Air Patrol works in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard and local civil authorities.

Often, CAP members also help out in missions which may involve airlifting blood or donor organs, medication and civil or relief officials to disaster areas. Disaster relief missions may also involve air surveillance of disaster areas, as well as the air evacuation of the stranded, sick or injured. Rescue work and aid are provided during floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other emergencies. Civil Air Patrol pilots are reimbursed for their search and rescue and disaster relief expenses by the U.S. Air Force.

CAP members also assist local and federal law enforcement by providing passive assistance in locating illegal narcotics operations. CAP members do not have any law enforcement powers nor do they become involved in the apprehension of suspects. In 2007, CAP members flew over 12,000 hours in support of this cause with a total result of $400 million in confiscated drugs. The counterdrug mission is supported by airborne video and thermal imaging equipment.

In addition to aircraft, the CAP Corporation owns 950 ground vehicles to support their missions. Many of these vehicles are equipped with sophisticated communications equipment for use during disasters or extended search and rescue missions.

The Civil Air Patrol operates one of the largest communications systems in the country with more than 6,000 fixed land stations and more than 10,000 land and airmobile radios operated by over 20,000 trained communicators. This system consists of voice and automatic digital communications capabilities. Hundreds of individual networks are linked together to form a highly flexible nationwide traffic handling system. Because the system doesn't rely on telephone lines, it is highly survivable in the event of natural or man made disasters.

AEROSPACE EDUCATION
America's love of manned flight started with the Wright brothers and continues unabated during this century. World War II showcased the important role aviation would play in the future and national leaders recognized the importance of stimulating public interest in aerospace activities. Civil Air Patrol, as the civilian Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, was most suited to perform this mission. Their efforts focused on two different audiences - internal CAP members and the general public.

The internal programs ensure that all CAP members have an appreciation for and knowledge of aerospace issues. A targeted educational program is tied to promotions at every level in the CAP organization. Aerospace educators working out of CAP's National Headquarters provide materials that are current and reflect the highest standards of educational excellence.

The congressional charter also tasked CAP to stimulate public interest in aerospace issues. These external programs are primarily conducted through our nation's education systems. Each year, CAP sponsors nearly 200 workshops in colleges and universities across the nation which reach more than 5,000 educators. These workshops highlight basic aerospace knowledge and focus on advances in aerospace technology. Textbooks, learning tools, and visual aids geared to stimulate interest in aerospace matters also are provided for teachers to use in their classrooms. Started in 1951, these workshops have reached hundreds of thousands of young people.

CADET PROGRAM
The cadet program is designed to inspire the country's youth to become leaders and valuable citizens through their interest in aerospace. Young men and women who are American citizens or aliens "lawfully admitted for permanent residency" may become Civil Air Patrol cadets.

Cadets take part in a number of programmed and special activities. From these they develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to understand the total impact of air and space operations on society. They learn discipline by studying leadership and by learning military drill and courtesies. They become physically fit through a special physical training program.

Through studies and other activities, cadets work their way through a series of achievements. As cadets progress, they earn increased rank, ribbons or certificates and also become eligible for nationally sponsored special activities and may compete for academic scholarships.

The most sought-after activity of advanced cadets is the International Air Cadet Exchange. Each summer, about 120 cadets and their adult escorts travel to one or the other of some 20 foreign countries. In return, cadets from foreign lands visit the United States as guests of Civil Air Patrol and the U.S. Air Force. Such trips promote goodwill and understanding among the world's youth who share a common interest in aviation.

OFFICER PROGRAM
Civil Air Patrol depends upon a dedicated group of adult volunteers to carry out the CAP missions and oversee the daily operations of the cadet and composite units.

In addition to assisting with the cadet program, senior members have their own training program that includes milestones and awards designed specifically to recognize the accomplishments of our officers. Officers may choose from a number of "specialty tracks" that allow them to study areas of the Civil Air Patrol that appeal to their personal interests or experiences. As members accomplish training objectives, they also earn advanced grade and rank within the Civil Air Patrol.

Some of Civil Air Patrol's activities necessitate the use of adults to complete the assigned objectives. For instance, counterdrug flight activities and several pilot qualifications require that the member be at least 18 years of age. For these reasons and many more, CAP officers are essential to the success of the organization.

PERSONNEL
CAP has nearly 64,000 volunteer members, including more than 20,000 teenage cadets and nearly 38,000 adult senior members. Members may wear a uniform similar to that of the U.S. Air Force but with special CAP insignia, or they may also choose to wear a CAP distinctive uniform. Nearly 11,000 officers are FAA-licensed pilots. Thousands more are qualified observers and fly on various CAP missions.

Time served in CAP does not count toward military service, nor does it obligate members to any active military duty. Cadets who earn the Mitchell Award are eligible for advanced placement should they decide to enlist in the armed forces.

RESOURCES
The CAP Corporation owns 550 light aircraft, primarily Cessna 172s and 182s. Additionally, CAP members own another 4,700 aircraft that can be used to support assigned missions. Civil Air Patrol operates the world's largest fleet of civil aircraft and flies nearly 130,000 hours each year.

In addition to aircraft, the Civil Air Patrol owns 950 ground vehicles to support our missions. Many of these vehicles are equipped with sophisticated communications equipment that becomes invaluable during disasters or extended search and rescue missions.

U.S. AIR FORCE ASSISTANCE
Besides providing advisors and liaison officials, the U.S. Air Force provides equipment from Department of Defense excess items. Examples include aircraft and spare parts, motor vehicles, office supplies, communications equipment, rescue equipment, and training aids.

When possible, the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve provide airlift for many CAP activities. U.S. Air Force and other DOD agency housing, medical and dining facilities, classrooms, offices, training aids and teachers are also provided to insure the success of CAP activities.

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"Civil Air Patrol's accomplishments are increasing; membership is stabilizing; flying hours, assigned missions and 'saves' are looking good; and the accident rate-- none better."

Lt Gen. Jay W. Kelley, U.S. Air Force
Commander, Air University
Maxwell AFB, Alabama

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"Your efforts in the Civil Air Patrol reflect the commitment to voluntary community service that will be essential to solving our nation's most pressing social problems. By reaching out to those in need, you are setting an outstanding example for your fellow Americans. I commend you for your generosity and concern for others."

Former President George Bush

 

 

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