Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the Air Force,
is a volunteer, non-profit organization with its national headquarters
at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
The Civil Air Patrol performs three main functions -- aerospace
education, cadet training and emergency services.
CAP's emergency services includes air search and rescue, disaster
relief and civil defense. Its members fly 80 percent of the search
and rescue mission hours directed by the Air Force Rescue and Coordination
Center at Langley Air Force Base, Va.
In 1993, aircrew members flew more than 34,600 hours in support
of federally funded programs to include search and rescue, disaster
relief and counterdrug operations. Civil Air Patrol was credited
with saving 120 lives in 1993.
On Nov. 14, 1985, CAP agreed to assist the U.S. Customs Service
in its counterdrug efforts by flying air reconnaissance missions
along U.S. boundaries. In early 1989, similar agreements were made
with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Forest Service.
CAP participation only involves reconnaissance, transportation and
communications support. Members do not carry firearms, make arrests
or give chase to suspected drug traffickers.
The Civil Air Patrol's aerospace education programs provide its
membership, and the educational community, information about aviation
and space activities. Each year it supports about 200 aerospace
education workshops for teachers at 150 colleges and universities
around the country, preparing approximately 7,000 teachers to teach
aerospace-related subjects in their classrooms. The organization
also develops curriculum and publishes aerospace educational materials
for use in the nation's schools. Together with the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration, and the Federa Aviation Administration,
CAP co-sponsors the National Congress on Aviation and Space Education,
the annual national convention for aerospace teachers.
The purpose of the Cadet Program is to inspire the country's youth
to become leaders and good citizens through their interest in aerospace.
It is open to U.S. citizens and legal residents of the United States,
its territories and possessions. Candidates for the program must
be 13 to 18 years of age, or have satisfactorily completed the sixth
Through studies and other activities, cadets progress through achievements
that include special activities, aerospace education, leadership
programs, moral leadership and physical fitness. As cadets progress
they earn increased rank, awards or certificates. They may become
eligible for CAP national or international special activities and
compete for academic and flying scholarships. Upon completion of
their initial training phase, cadets receive the Gen. Billy Mitchell
Award, which entitles them to enter the Air Force as an Airman First
Class, should they chose to enlist.
Civil Air Patrol has eight geographic regions composed of 52 wings
-- one wing for each state, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
Wings are subdivided into groups, squadrons and, sometimes, flights.
There are approximately 1,700 individual units.
Headquarters Civil Air Patrol-United States Air Force at Maxwell
Air Force Base, Ala., is staffed by military and civilian personnel,
as authorized by the Secretary of the Air Force. HQ CAP-USAF personnel
also function as the staff of National Headquarters, Civil Air Patrol.
Additional CAP-USAF liaison personnel are assigned to CAP regions
and wings to advise and assist field units. Air Force Reserve members
also assist the Civil Air Patrol through the Reserve Assistance
Program. In addition to personnel support, the Air Force provides
equipment from Department of Defense excess items.
Membership consists of approximately 19,000 cadets and 34,000 adult
volunteers. They wear the Air Force uniform, but with distinctive
CAP emblems and insignia. Members operate more than 5,000 privately
owned aircraft and 530 CAP aircraft and more than 950 CAP vehicles
in support of the organization's programs.
Civil Air Patrol was founded Dec. 1, 1941. During World
War II, its principal purpose was to allow private pilots and aviation
enthusiasts to use their light aircraft and flying skills in civil
defense efforts. In 1943, the organization came under control and
direction of the Army Air Forces. Civil Air Patrol became a permanent
peacetime institution July 1, 1946, when President Harry S. Truman
signed Public Law 476 establishing it as a federally chartered,
benevolent, civilian corporation.
In May 1948, Public Law 557 made the organization the official auxiliary
of the Air Force. This law, known as the CAP Supply Bill, authorized
the secretary of the Air Force to assign military and civilian personnel
to liaison offices at all levels of CAP.
Point of Contact
For more information about CAP or the address of respective state
liaison offices write to: HQ CAP-USAF, Public Affairs Office; 105
S. Hansell St.; Bldg 714, Rm 256; Maxwell AFB AL 36112-6332; DSN
493-5463 or (205) 953-5463.