Civil Air Patrol, An Auxiliary of the US Air Force
"To serve America by developing our Nation's youth;
accomplishing local, state and national emergency and
humanitarian missions; and educating our citizens on the
impact of aviation and space."
--CAP Mission Statement
CAP's mission statement symbolizes who we are and why we exist. These are the essential jobs which we have been tasked to perform for America. What does it mean? Civil Air Patrol has been at the forefront of community service for six decades - in times of war and peace - its members giving far more than they could hope to receive in return. CAP's members do this for love of country, respect for their fellow man, and their need to contribute to their communities.
CAP performs no warfighting function, it is the benevolent auxiliary of the United States Air Force, performing essential non-combatant missions for the Air Force in time of need; as embodied in our mission statement. This relationship with the uniformed services, and the Air Force in particular, is at the heart of CAP's existence, as it has been almost since its inception.
CIVIL AIR PATROL
CAP was founded on 1 December 1941, just six days before Pearl Harbor. The mood of the country was one of uncertainty. The world at that time was in a frantic and uncontrollable state of change. The European, Asian, and African continents were consumed by conflict: new conflicts using weapons borne of advanced technologies - including the airplane. These weapons could deliver un imagined levels of destruction - not only to the battlefield, but also to civilian populations hundreds of miles away from the battlefield. It changed the face and consciousness of warfare. Most disturbingly for America, its citizens could not know for sure that just six days after CAP's founding their country would be mired in this new kind of war. It could not yet see the work, sacrifice, setbacks and comebacks which would be the building blocks of the Allied triumph in World War II - or the unforgettable role America and Civil Air Patrol - would play in that triumph. From sinking submarines off the East Coast, to playing a role during the Cold War, to Missions for America post "9 / 11", the Civil Air Patrol has had a prominent place in American Volunteer Service.
In November 1996, Civil Air Patrol embraced the concept of core values and began work on defining those values believed to be of greatest importance to the organization. In February 1999, the core values were formally approved. Over time, CAP has integrated these core values into all professional development programs for senior members and cadets. This process is a continuous one that never ends. The 4 core values are:
"Civil Air Patrol, America's Air Force Auxiliary, building the
Nation's finest force of citizen volunteers-performing Missions
It is the cornerstone for all that is moral and just in our society. It is more than simple honesty. It embraces other attributes such as courage, responsibility, accountability, justice, openness, self-respect, and humility.
CAP adopted this core value because it reflects the very essence of the organization -service to humanity. All CAP volunteers willingly give of their time, energy, and personal resources. This process starts with the member's agreement to obey the rules and regulations of CAP and the Air Force. In this regard, self-discipline is an absolute must.
This core value reflects CAP's continuous effort to be the very best, and to consistently improve its humanitarian service to America. From personal appearance to resource management, excellence must be the goal of all CAP members.
CAP members come from all walks of life. Therefore, it is extremely important that members treat each other with fairness and dignity, and work together as a team. To do otherwise would seriously impair CAP's capability to accomplish the mission.
During WWII CAP's efforts would defend America's shores and borders, train soldiers and airmen, rescue hundreds of men and women, and help to mold a new generation of Americans during those years. Its ultimate reward for service was the opportunity to make the same kind of difference in peacetime - as the auxiliary of the nation's newest armed service: The United States Air Force. And, for the past 60 years, this is what Civil Air Patrol has done. Its three-fold mission of Emergency Services, Aerospace Education and the Cadet Program is CAP's defining triad, dedicated to serving the American people through education, welfare and personal development services. As technological and societal needs change the nature of what CAP is asked to do, it adapts to meet those needs.
The Civil Air Patrol Mission Triad includes Emergency Services, Aerospace Education and The Cadet Program:
Civil Air Patrol's resources are almost unparalleled by any other civilian search and rescue organization in the world today, boasting America's largest privately owned fleet of single engine aircraft and the world's largest privately-owned short-wave radio network. These, along with countless privately owned ground vehicles and nearly 60,000 members of all ages, provide a blanket of coverage spanning all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. There are also CAP units attached to US military installations overseas, providing CAP's cadet program to military family members around the world.
CAP's emergency services include air and ground search and rescue, disaster relief, counterdrug, and an increasing role in homeland security. Its members fly more than 95 percent of the inland search and rescue missions. The Civil Air Patrol flew more than 3,000 search and rescue missions and was credited with saving 73 lives in 2005.
During Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, more than 1,500 CAP members volunteered to provide support ranging from:
- Aircraft Missions
- Search and rescue
- Transportation of critical personnel and supplies
- Aerial imagery of flood damaged areas
- Ground Team Missions
- House to house searches
- Passing out emergency supplies
Cadets entering the program study a wide range of topics from six modules. How airplanes fly, what creates lift, the three axis of aircraft in flight, how the control surfaces maneuver an aircraft around those axes. Engines, power plants, electrical systems, fuel systems, instruments and how they work. Navigation charts, airport layout, aerial navigation. Rocket and spacecraft. Weather and the forces of weather, clouds, cold and warm fronts, weather charts. The solar system and other celestial subjects. Each module is completed with a test of the subject, and successful completion allows the Cadet to be promoted in grade and assume more responsibility. Officers in the senior program study a similar course, and earn certificates of merit for their efforts.
The Aerospace Education process would not be complete without the actual experience of flight. Learning what "control surfaces" do on an airplane are only concepts, until, with our Squadron Pilots, the Cadet rides our aircraft and actually maneuvers the aircraft using the control surfaces learned about in class study. The Cadet program includes a minimum of five orientation flights that begin with the basics, include radio procedures, continue with aerial navigation, become rather "interesting" during slow flight, and end with the cadet plotting a three legged course and executing the flight.
Officers may enter into "crew training" through the Emergency Services" portion of the CAP mission triad, and participate in search, reconnaissance, and other flying missions.
The CAP Cadet Program inspires the country's youth to become leaders and good citizens through
their interest in aviation and community service. As cadets progress they earn increased rank,
responsibility, awards and certificates.
Upon completion of their initial training phase and award of their first stripe, cadets progress through successively higher grades, earning more stripes and ribbons, earning leadership roles of increasing responsibility, and greater rewards. Participation in the Flight Program, Search and Rescue Ground Team Program, Encampment Program, and Cadet Advisory Program all begin here.At the grade of Cadet Chief Master Sergeant, they can test for the end of course examination, and if successful, receive the General Billy Mitchell Award and be promoted to Cadet 2nd Lieutenant. This entitles them to:
- Compete for academic and flying scholarships
- Enlist in the Air Force at higher Grades
- Compete favorably for ROTC scholarships and Military Academy appointments
Further study of leadership and management principles result in further promotion through all officer grades to Cadet Captain at the Amelia Earhart award, and Cadet Colonel at the General Carl Spaatz Award, the highest Award in the CAP Cadet Program. During this time, Cadets participate in Squadron Management, Mentoring activities on a much greater scale, Wing, Region and National Cadet Advisory Councils, National Special Encampments, International Air Cadet Exchange, and much more.
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