CAP celebrates 68th anniversary

The 58,000 volunteers of the Civil Air Patrol are marking CAP’s 68th anniversary Dec. 1.

The all-volunteer, nonprofit organization was founded Dec. 1, 1941, less than a week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor led to America’s involvement in World War II. Its members soon proved their worth by conducting aerial patrols, vigilance that discouraged and eventually stopped German U-boat attacks on shipping in American waterways. Fifty-nine members died; 26 were lost at sea; and seven others were seriously injured while carrying out CAP missions during the war.

“Our citizen volunteers have a proud legacy of selfless service to their country and their communities. They truly go above and beyond each day, giving their best as needs arise,” said Maj. Gen. Amy Courter, CAP’s national commander. “This occasion provides citizens across America the opportunity to honor Civil Air Patrol and its members. Be sure to say ‘thanks’ to these unsung heroes in your communities who provide such vigilant service, often without fanfare. Each day, through their volunteer efforts, our members help save lives and preserve liberty for all.”

As the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, today’s Civil Air Patrol performs a multitude of missions in communities throughout the nation’s 50 states and Puerto Rico:

  • CAP responds day or night when planes are overdue and emergency locator transmitters go off. Its volunteers perform 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions, as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, and were credited by the AFRCC with saving 91 lives in fiscal year 2008.
  • CAP provides disaster relief during hurricanes, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes and countless other emergencies. In addition, members perform homeland security and counterdrug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.
  • CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education and mentors more than 23,000 young Americans through its cadet program. By partnering with 900 educators nationwide, members nurture the talents of generations of the nation’s sons and daughters with cadet programs that stress leadership and moral responsibility and teach aviation and emergency response skills.

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