December 1st is the United States Civil Air Patrol’s birthday. The agency served as the official volunteer civilian auxiliary of the Air Force. Formed during World War Two. The Civil Air Patrol consists of cadets, ages 12 to 20 years old, and senior members who are 18 and older. All members wear uniforms as part of their Civil Air Patrol duties, but the agency is not a branch of military service.
What Is The Civil Air Patrol (CAP)?
CAP is a federally-supported non-profit corporation that has a congressional charter. The all-volunteer agency offers services which include assistance with search and rescue operations, emergencies, disaster relief, and education.
Like members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, CAP members may find themselves involved in homeland security work in a non-enforcement related way.
CAP is considered one of the major American users of what are called “general aviation” aircraft with a single engine. They are often used to fly cadets in orientation and for use during emergencies as part of Civil Air Patrol assistance. CAP missions include support of Red Cross disaster relief operations and work in natural disaster areas.
CAP has eight regional commands and 52 wings. There is one in all 50 states plus a wing in Washington, D.C. and one in Puerto Rico. There are approximately 60,000 members of the Civil Air Patrol.