OSHKOSH — The Civil Air Patrol recognized two of its staunchest partners, the Experimental Aircraft Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, on the opening day of the world’s largest air show by presenting them with replicas of CAP’s Congressional Gold Medal.
Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez, CAP’s national commander, presented the medals during AirVenture to Jack Pelton, EAA CEO and chairman of the board, and Mark Baker, AOPA president and CEO.
Vazquez also presented Larry R. Elizondo, manager, government and public affairs refining, legislative affairs, for CITGO Petroleum Corp., with CAP’s special 75th anniversary cap and coin. CITGO served as a premier sponsor when CAP received the gold medal Dec. 10, 2014, in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in recognition of its volunteer service defending the homeland during World War II.
Combined with CITGO’s assistance, CAP was able to provide its World War II members and members of deceased members’ families with Congressional Gold Medal replicas and to hold a gala in their honor the night of the medal presentation.
CAP’s ties to EAA and AOPA lie in all three organization’s shared commitment to general aviation.
CAP provides major support to EAA AirVenture every summer as part of its Blue Beret Encampment for cadets and senior members. Through its cadet program CAP also participates in EAA’s Young Eagles program, which introduces youth throughout the U.S. to flight.
In addition, both CAP and EAA work to inspire and guide youth to experience aviation and empower them with the resources necessary to learn to fly and/or seek careers in the field.
CAP assists AOPA with major fly-ins across the country, and AOPA in turn promotes the organization with coverage online and in its monthly magazine. George Perry, AOPA senior vice president and director of its Air Safety Institute, is a member of the CAP Board of Governors.