Mission: For more than 50 years, the Civil Air Patrol has aggressively performed the missions Congress mandated in 1946: Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services.
America's love of manned flight started with the Wright brothers and continues unabated during this century. World War II showcased the important role aviation would play in the future and national leaders recognized the importance of stimulating public interest in aerospace activities.
CAP, as the civilian Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, was most suited to perform this mission. Their efforts focused on two different audiences - internal CAP members and the general public.
Aerospace educators working out of CAP's National Headquarters at Maxwell AFB, Ala., provide materials that are current and reflect the highest standards of educational excellence.
The congressional charter also tasked CAP to stimulate public interest in aerospace issues. These external programs are primarily conducted through our nation's education systems.
These workshops highlight basic aerospace knowledge and focus on advances in aerospace technology. Textbooks, learning tools, and visual aids geared to stimulate interest in aerospace matters also are provided for teachers to use in their classrooms.
Started in 1951, these workshops have reached hundreds of thousands of young people.
CAP also plans and executes the National Congress on Aviation and Space Education. NCASE is the premier aerospace education conference held in the nation. The NCASE is designed to promote an understanding of aviation and space education to motivate and encourage teachers to incorporate aerospace education into their curriculum. It also encourages aerospace leaders to speak out on aerospace issues facing our nation today.
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I have been a senior member with this squadron for three years, I currently hold the rank of Captain. Back in the mid 60's to early 70's I went through the cadet program.
We offer many opportunities, for cadets to learn how to fly, emergencies services, International Air Cadet Exchange, this is where cadets and seniors have the chance to visit one of 18 different countries and learn about their aerospace education programs.
Many of out cadets have chosen a carrier in the military and have been selected to attend different military academies. So chose to start their own business.
We attend a camp for underprivileged youth for a week so the can see life from a different point of view, that life is not all negative.
In December we place wreaths on veterans graves at Willamette National Cemetery.
The cadets get a chance for orientation rides in the Cessna 180's, there are different encampments they can attend. And that is the short list.
I'm the cadet commander of the Columbia Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol. Every year we run the gamut from distributing Thanksgiving baskets to low-income people to assisting for more than a week at a camp for under-privileged kids at risk for gang and drug activity to participating in Veteran commemoration ceremonies. Internally, we teach cadets discipline, leadership, how to march, how to polish boots and iron uniforms, etc. Cadets also have the opportunity to fly in both civilian and military aircraft, get some pilot training through the Air Force, to be trained rigorously by military special forces, do colorguard, participate on search and rescue teams recovering downed aircraft or lost hikers, among many other activities. It's a great program which I strongly urge any teenager from 12-18 or adult to join. Adults have their own track they can follow. For more information, please go to www.gocivilairpatrol.com.