Redstone Composite Squadron 119


About


Introduction

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a non-profit public service organization devoted to emergency services, cadet programs and aerospace education. Since 1941, we have served America by providing these humanitarian servives using volunteer members. CAP volunteers are unpaid, concerned citizens doing good works through local community activities.

Civil Air Patrol History

 
  Pearl Harbor propelled the United States into World War II, but many Americans saw the AXIS threat long before December 7, 1941. Among them were nearly 150,000 men and women involved in aviation. As early as 1928, they began to argue for the creation of an organization to harness their aviation resources to aid the nation in the event America entered the conflict. Their efforts, led by writer-aviator Gill Robb Wilson and supported by General Henry "Hap" Arnold, resulted in the creation of the Civil Air Patrol on December 1, 1941 - one week before Pearl Harbor.
 
  CAP Aircraft Awaiting OrdersFirst organized under the Office of Civilian Defense, headed by former New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Civil Air Patrol members became the "Minutemen" of World War II, volunteering their time, resources, and talents to defend the nation's borders and fill the gaps as men and resources were being mobilized to fight abroad. The War Department, especially the Army Air Forces, recognized the important roles performed by CAP. In April 1943, CAP was reassigned from the Office of Civilian Defense to the War Department and placed under the jurisdiction of the Army Air Forces.

These "Flying Minutemen," all volunteers, performed valiantly during the war. They performed many missions including coastal patrol to search for enemy submarines, search and rescue missions throughout the United States, cargo and courier flights to transfer critical materials and personnel, and even towing targets so Army Air Corps personnel could practice air-to-air gunnery techniques - a very risky mission with new gunners.

 
  A CAP Aircraft Harasses A SubmarineIn all, these volunteers amassed a stunning record - flying more than half-a-million hours, sinking two enemy submarines, and saving hundreds of crash victims. A thankful nation recognized the vital role CAP played during the war and understood the organization could continue to provide invaluable help to both local and national agencies.

On July 1, 1946, President Harry Truman signed Public Law 476 that incorporated CAP as a benevolent, nonprofit organization. And on May 26, 1948, Congress passed Public Law 557 which permanently established CAP as the Auxiliary of the new U.S. Air Force. This law also gave the Secretary of the Air Force the authority to provide financial and material assistance to the organization.

 

-- Text and images reproduced from CAP publications
(CAP Pamphlet 190-2)

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Civil Air Patrol Missions

  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

Aerospace Education
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.

CAP National Headquarters, Maxwell AFB, AlabamaThe 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. Aerospace educators working out of CAP's national Headquarters at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 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. Each year, CAP sponsors workshops in colleges and universities across the nation which reach thousands of educators. 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 are also 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.

 
  Cadet Programs
Cadets on a SAR exerciseDuring World War II, CAP trained thousands of young men to fly before they joined the Army Air Forces. This training, coupled with positive values instilled by role models, resulted in the AAF having a pool of aviators virtually ready to do battle. After the war, the success of the wartime cadet program convinced Congress that a peacetime cadet program would pay great dividends.

For the past half-century, CAP's Cadet Programs has provided young people between 12 and 18 the opportunity to develop their leadership skills through their interest in aviation. For many, it has also offered them the opportunity to learn to fly. A knowledge of aerospace-related information is one of the pillars of the program. Cadets progress at their own pace through a 15-step program including aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and moral leadership. As cadets make progress, they have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of activities including encampments on military bases, orientation flights, and a variety of national and international activities.

CAP ColorguardThrough it's National Scholarship Program, CAP provides scholarships to cadets to further studies in such areas as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics and aerospace medicine. Scholarships leading to solo flight training are also provided.

The U.S. Air Force recognizes the high standards the cadets must meet. When CAP cadets enlist in the Air Force, they now enter as an E-3 (Airman First Class) instead of as an airman basic. CAP cadets are also well represented at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Usually 8 - 10 percent of the academy class is composed of former CAP cadets.

 

-- Text and images reproduced from CAP publications
(CAP Pamphlet 190-2)

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  Emergency Services
Growing from it's World War II experience, the Civil Air Patrol has continued to strive to save lives and alleviate human suffering through a myriad of emergency service missions.Preflight planning for a CAP Mission

Search and Rescue (SAR): Perhaps best known for its search and rescue efforts, CAP now flies more than 85 percent of all inland SAR missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. Overseas, CAP supports the Join Rescue Coordination Centers in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Just how effective are the CAP missions? Approximately 100 people are saved every year by CAP members!Perhaps best known for its search and rescue efforts, CAP now flies more than 85 percent of all inland SAR missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. Overseas, CAP supports the Join Rescue Coordination Centers in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Just how effective are the CAP missions? Approximately 100 people are saved every year by CAP members!

Disaster Relief (DR): 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 humanitarian relief agencies such as the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management, Federal Aviation Administration, and U.S. Coast Guard.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 humanitarian relief agencies such as the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management, Federal Aviation Administration, and U.S. Coast Guard.

Humanitarian Services: Closely related to disaster relief is CAP's support of humanitarian missions. usually in support of the Red Cross, CAP aircrews transport time sensitive medical materials including blood and human tissue in situations where other means of transportation are not possible.

CAP Operational AircraftOther Missions
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.

 
  Counter drug Operations: 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 counter drug fight by providing aerial reconnaissance, airborne communication support and airlift of law enforcement personnel. Each year, CAP units fly approximately 40,000 hours in support of counter drug efforts.

CAP / AFROTC Initiative
Starting in 1993, CAP became more closely involved in direct support of the Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corp). Join efforts have been established to conduct cross flow educational and orientation flights with Air Force ROTC, benefiting both organizations through better use of one's training resources.

-- Text and images reproduced from CAP publications
(CAP Pamphlet 190-2)