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.
Programs: Aerospace Education
The internal programs ensure that all CAP members (seniors and cadets) have an appreciation for and knowledge of aerospace issues. A rigorous educational program is tied to promotions at every level in the CAP organization.
Each year, CAP sponsors nearly 200 workshops in colleges and universities across the nation which reach more than 5,000 educators.
Search and Rescue (SAR): Perhaps best known for its search and rescue efforts, CAP now flies more than 85 percent of all federal inland SAR missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Langley AFB, Virginia. Outside of the continental United States, CAP supports the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Just how effective are the CAP missions? More than 100 people are saved every year by CAP members!
Disaster Relief: Often overlooked but vitally important is the role CAP plays in disaster relief operations. CAP provides air and ground transportation, and an extensive communications network. They fly disaster relief officials to remote locations, and support local, state and national disaster relief organizations with manpower and leadership. In fact, CAP has formal agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies such as the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and the United States Coast Guard.
Humanitarian Services: Closely related to disaster relief is CAP's support of humanitarian missions. Usually in support of the Red Cross, CAP air crews transport time-sensitive medical materials including blood and human tissue in situations where other means of transportation are not possible.
Air Force Support: It's hardly surprising that CAP performs several missions in direct support of the U.S. Air Force. Specifically, CAP conducts damage assessment, radiological monitoring, light transport, communications support, and low-altitude route surveys.
Joint U.S. Air Force and CAP SAR exercises sharpen the skills of all participants and offer realistic training for a deadly serious mission.
Counterdrugs: CAP joined the "war on drugs" in 1986 when CAP signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Customs Service offering CAP resources to be used to stem the flow of drugs into and within the United States. Today, CAP has similar agreements with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Forest Service.
CAP has made major contributions to the counterdrug fight by providing aerial reconnaissance, airborne communication support, and airlift of law enforcement personnel. In 1997 alone, CAP units flew nearly 40,000 hours in support of counterdrug efforts.
CAP/ROTC Initiative: Starting in 1993, CAP became more closely involved in direct support of the Air Force ROTC. Joint efforts are underway to conduct cross flow educational and orientation flights with Air Force ROTC, benefiting both organizations through better use of each one's training resources.
The CAP Cadet Programs provide the Civil Air Patrol with programs and curricula that enhance the leadership and life skills of all cadet members, thereby preparing responsible citizens for the U.S. Air Force and the nation. See http://www.capnhq.gov/nhq/cp/cp.htm for current information on CAP Cadet Programs.
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