What is Civil Air Patrol?

      Many of my posts here talk about Civil Air Patrol, or CAP. But what is Civil Air Patrol? The Civil Air Patrol is the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force.  Back in 1941 with rumors of war, private pilots offered their services to the US government. If war broke out, civil aviation would be thrown out the window for the duration. Aircraft companies would be making nothing but military aircraft and flying would be restricted for security and fuel would probably have been restricted as well. Civilian pilots could save time and money for the military and do a lot of homeland work. And so, on December the 1st, 1941, the Civil Air Patrol was created.

Probably the most famous WWII duty performed by CAP was defending US coastal waters from German U-boats haunting our waters and sinking ships. Originally CAP was rejected for this role. We were as new as a shiny penny and had land-based aircraft which would be dangerous for over-water operations. But because of the severity of this threat we got the go-ahead. And bombs and depth charges. CAP spotted hundreds of subs, attacked ten, and sunk two of them. 

Civil Air Patrol has existed ever since, and I am happy that I joined last year, because this year CAP will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary. In August I will be celebrating my first full year in CAP as well. CAP put up a website specifically for the anniversary so here is the link: http://www.cap75th.com/ . 

CAP is made up of both senior and cadet members, and the cadets aren't just there to learn, we also participate in Search And Rescue (SAR) missions, that is, if we want to. To me, there are two mains schools of thought in CAP, flying and SAR. But many, including myself, have an interest in both. Just recently, and I plan on making a separate series of post on it, I went on a SAREX (SAR exercise) and stayed for all three days. We found simulated emergency beacons and missing persons, I got qualified as a ground team member trainee and we stayed in barracks at a National Guard base. I went for the longest time ever with only about one and one-fourths of a night's sleep. And had a blast.

Semper Vigilans "Always Vigilant" 
Civil Air Patrol's official motto


  1. Nice post. I did not know how CAP was started.
    Cool that you joined before their Diamond anniversary. will they be holding any special events for it?

    1. I'm not sure what my squadron will be doing, but we will probably celebrate somehow. I'm hoping that we will get recognition by a government official or maybe the president, we need the publicity.

    2. Yah CAP Is definitely not as well known as it should be. That would be nice.


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