What is CAP

The Civil Air Patrol is a private, nonprofit corporation and by Congressional charter is the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force.  There are eight geographical regions composed of 52 wings — one for each state, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.  Wings are divided into groups, squadrons and flights for a total of 1,900 units and more than 58,000 Cadets and Senior Members.  CAP corporation and its members own and operate more that 5,000 light aircraft, the world’s largest civilian fleet, and volunteers fly about 140,000 hours each year on CAP missions.  The National Headquarters is located at Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

CAP History CAP was founded on December 1, 1941 by over 150,000 citizens concerned about the defense of America’s coastline.  Their efforts were led by writer and aviator Gill Robb Wilson, and supported by General Henry “Hap” Arnold.  In 1943, CAP was assigned to the War Department under the jurisdiction of the Army Air Forces. Assisting the War Department, CAP pilots flew over one-half million hours, were credited with sinking two enemy submarines, and rescued hundreds of crash survivors during World War II.  On July 1, 1946, President Truman established CAP as a federally charted benevolent civilian corporation. On May 26, 1948, Congress passed Public Law 557, which made CAP the official auxiliary of the new United States Air Force.  CAP was charged by Congress with three missions:  Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs and Emergency Services.