Civil Air Patrol

Civil Air Patrol Overview

Since 1938, planning for a new aviation organization that would provide support for the military serving in the US homeland during a future war had been ongoing among a group of visionary aviators and civic leaders. They theorized on the uses of general aviation to support training and mobilization of an expanding Army Air Corps, and to assist in Civil Defense. Just days before the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) was officially organized to provide trained civilian aviators and other personnel to assist in the war effort. By war’s end, CAP had flown more than mission hours, had provided needed training to young men and women entering the armed forces, conducted search and rescue missions, carried more than 1,750 tons of cargo plus hundreds of military passengers…and were credited with sinking two enemy submarines.

Following World War II, CAP and its missions were chartered to be “solely of a benevolent character” and became the official civilian auxiliary to the newly formed US Air Force. CAP was given three Congressionally-mandated missions: Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services.

Today, CAP has a presence in all 50 states and two territories, with nearly 60,000 volunteer members who daily perform missions for America. For more information on the Civil Air Patrol see

Three Primary Objectives

Aerospace Education

CAP members are energetic participants in educating their communities about the importance of aerospace power, the impact of aviation on the US economy, and how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is critical in preparing our youth for the careers of tomorrow. Civil Air Patrol Aerospace/STEM Education Programs bring over 40 free fun and engaging products and programs to its members and to school classrooms throughout the nation.

Cadet Programs

CAP’s award-winning youth leadership program for youth 12-18 year of age focuses on developing leadership, air-mindedness, personal fitness, and character development in an Air Force themed environment. In over 1,000 local squadrons, CAP Cadets learn how to make the CAP Core Values of Integrity, Service, Excellence, and Respect a central part of their lives. CAP Cadets are given opportunities to lead others with adult supervision and mentoring. While later military service is not an obligation for membership, CAP Cadets are well represented at all four service academies and in college ROTC detachments across the country. “Today’s Cadets…tomorrow’s aerospace leaders.”

Emergency Services

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is the Air Force Auxiliary and a national community service organization made up of professionally trained civilian volunteers. Civil Air Patrol members are a ready force of volunteers who support civil authorities in times of need. CAP is a locally‐available talent and asset pool for federal, state and local government entities.

CAP has a modern, well‐equipped fleet of aircraft, vehicles and communication equipment that is exercised and utilized daily. For example, using one of the largest single engine aircraft fleets in the world CAP aircrews fly over 100,000 hours annually performing a wide scope of missions that range from Search and Rescue and Disaster Response to Endangered Species Tracking and Air/Ground Communications Support.