More than 600 Civil Air Patrol members are taking flight to Louisville, Ky., this month as the all-volunteer U.S. Air Force Auxiliary begins its observance of 70 years of service to America.
CAP officially celebrates its 70th anniversary on Dec. 1 of this year, but will get started early at the 2011 Annual Conference and National Board meeting Aug. 17-20 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. The theme of the conference is “Civil Air Patrol: Celebrating 70 Years of Service.”
“This conference will celebrate our members’ dedicated service to America and their extraordinary achievements above and beyond the call of duty,” said CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Amy S. Courter. “We will honor members with much-deserved awards for their service and will participate with them in training seminars customized to fulfill their unique professional development needs in CAP.”
Its citizen volunteers make CAP one of America’s premier humanitarian service organizations, officials note. With a fleet of 550 aircraft, members save lives, find those who are lost, help fellow citizens in times of disaster, work to keep their communities safe, honor the nation’s veterans and prepare its future leaders. The organization also inspires youth to excel through aerospace education and cyber defense competitions.
The keynote speaker for the conference banquet will be the Rev. Jill Robb Paulson, who will share stories about her famous grandfather, Gill Robb Wilson, known as one of the founding fathers of Civil Air Patrol. He also served as CAP’s first executive officer.
During the conference, CAP’s National Board also will elect a new national commander to succeed Courter, CAP’s first female national commander who has served as the organization’s top executive for the past four years.
Other conference highlights include:
- 60-plus training seminars Aug. 19-20. Many of the courses will focus on new CAP technology, such as operation of the auxiliary’s new Geospatial Information Interoperability Exploitation Portable go-kits, which feature self-contained communications equipment and other hardware that allow for real time or near-real time full-motion video, digital imagery and in-flight chat capability. The training seminars will target topics of interest to members, such as chaplain service, cadet programs, finance, disaster relief, homeland security, communications, safety, aerospace education and public affairs.
- An awards ceremony honoring exceptional CAP members and units. It will begin at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 20. Honorees will include the Cadet of the Year and Senior Member of the Year.
- The evening banquet at 7 p.m. Aug. 20. It includes a change of command ceremony for CAP’s new national commander and national vice commander.