About Civil Air Patrol
Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a Congressionally chartered, federally supported, non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF). CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and occupations. It performs three congressional assigned key missions: emergency services, which includes search and rescue (by air and ground) and disaster relief operations; aerospace education for youth and the general public; and cadet programs for teenage youth. In addition, CAP has recently been tasked with homeland security and courier service missions. CAP also performs non-auxiliary missions for various governmental and private agencies, such as local law enforcement and the American Red Cross. The program is established as an organization by Title 10 of the United States Code and its purposes defined by Title 36. While CAP is sponsored by the USAF, it is not an operating reserve component under the air force or the federal government. Since CAP is not a reserve component of a uniformed service of the military and its membership is made up of volunteer civilians, CAP members are not subject to the laws governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Membership in the organization consists of cadets ranging from 12 to 21 years of age, and senior members 18 years of age and up. These two groups each have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of pursuits; the Cadet program contributes to the development of the former group with a structured syllabus and an organization based upon United States Air Force ranks and pay grades, while the older members serve as instructors, supervisors, and operators. All members wear uniforms while performing their duties.
CAP pilots flew 102,273 hours in 2011, with most of those hours flown at the request of the Air Force. Flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes required extensive support from CAP members, while wildfires, winter storms and a tsunami topped off the list of major missions. No other figure is more important than the one associated with lives saved. In fiscal year 2011, CAP saved 54 lives.
CAP continues to inspire youth to be responsible citizens. Cadet membership increased 2.4 percent over the past year from 26,335 cadets in 2010 to 26,977 in 2011, a testament to the cadet program's continued relevance and appeal. More than 26,000 CAP cadets received orientation flights in 2011, providing many with their first experience in a small aircraft.
The Aerospace Connections in Education program for K-6 students, which promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), attracted a 64 percent increase in student participation this year, with 700 teachers in 27 states exposing almost 18,000 students to STEM-related careers. More than 20 free AE products and programs are available to cadets and K-12 students.
Civil Air Patrol has three congressionally mandated missions: Emergency Services, Aerospace Education and the Cadet Programs.
Growing from its World War II experience, the Civil Air Patrol has continued to save lives and alleviate human suffering through a myriad of emergency-services and operational missions.
Search and Rescue
Perhaps best known for its search-and-rescue efforts, CAP flies more than 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fl. Outside the continental United States, CAP supports the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Just how effective are the CAP missions? Nearly 100 people are saved each year by CAP members.
Another important service CAP performs is disaster-relief operations. CAP provides air and ground transportation and an extensive communications network. Volunteer members fly disaster-relief officials to remote locations and provide manpower and leadership to local, state and national disaster-relief organizations. CAP has formal agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies including the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard.
CAP flies humanitarian missions, usually in support of the Red Cross-transporting time-sensitive medical materials including blood and human tissue, in situations where other means of transportation are not available.
Air Force Support
It's hardly surprising that CAP performs several missions in direct support of the U.S. Air Force. Specifically, CAP conducts light transport, communications support, and low-altitude route surveys. CAP also provides orientation flights for AFROTC cadets. Joint U.S. Air Force and CAP search-and-rescue exercises provide realistic training for missions.
CAP joined the "war on drugs" in 1986 when, pursuant to congressional authorization, CAP signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Customs Service offering CAP resources to help stem the flow of drugs into and within the United States.
CAP's aerospace education efforts focus on two different audiences: volunteer CAP members and the general public. The programs ensure that all CAP members (seniors and cadets) have an appreciation for and knowledge of aerospace issues. To advance within the organization, members are required to participate in the educational program. Aerospace educators at CAP's National Headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., provide current materials that reflect the highest standards of educational excellence. Aerospace education is divided into two parts: internal and external.
The internal aerospace education program has two parts as well: cadet and senior. Cadets complete aerospace education as one of the requirements to progress through the achievement levels of the cadet program. Senior members have a responsibility to become knowledgeable of aerospace issues and the AE program that CAP provides. They are further encouraged to share the information obtained with their local communities and school systems.
CAP's external aerospace programs are conducted through our nation's educational system. Each year, CAP sponsors many workshops in states across the nation, reaching hundreds of educators and thereby thousands of young people. These workshops highlight basic aerospace knowledge and focus on advances in aerospace technology. CAP's aerospace education members receive more than 20 free aerospace education classroom materials.
To learn more about CAP's aerospace education programs, products, and other resources available to our members, go to www.capmembers.com/ae. For information about joining as an aerospace education member (AEM) and to join online, go to www.capmembers.com/joinaem.
While there are many youth oriented programs in America today, CAP's cadet program is unique in that it uses aviation as a cornerstone. Thousands of young people from 12 years through age 21 are introduced to aviation through CAP's cadet program. The program allows young people to progress at their own pace through a 16-step program including aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and moral leadership. Cadets compete for academic scholarships to further their studies in fields such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, aerospace medicine, meteorology, as well as many others. Those cadets who earn cadet officer status may enter the Air Force as an E3 (airman first class) rather than an E1 (airman basic).
Whatever your interests-survival training, flight training, photography, astronomy-there's a place for you in CAP's cadet program. Each year, cadets have the opportunity to participate in special activities at the local, state, regional or national level. Many cadets will have the opportunity to solo fly an airplane for the first time through a flight encampment or academy. Others will enjoy traveling abroad through the International Air Cadet Exchange Program. Still others assist at major air shows throughout the nation.
June 1st, 2012