Civil Air Patrol

A Day to Remember Veterans and Time to Honor WWII CAP Volunteers

Wisconsin – Today the nation celebrates Veterans Day; a day in which we remember those who served our country in the past and those who currently serve in the armed forces.  To them we owe a debt of gratitude and respect.  Throughout the history of the United States, without their courage and dedication in what they believed in, this great land would not be free.  To all veterans, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) salutes you.

In less than three weeks, CAP celebrates its 70th anniversary as volunteers committed to serving the people of the United States.  Starting just one week before the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, it did not take long before citizens not serving overseas, volunteered to use their skills in patrolling the coast from Maine to Mexico.

The Coastal Patrol started as a 90-day experiment.  As the oil companies urged the government to have the volunteer civilian pilots patrol the coast, it soon became apparent that CAP was vital to the war efforts.  And as they say, the rest is history.

By the end of WWII, CAP flew approximately 24 million miles over the coastal waters.  They spotted 173 subs and attacked 57; damaged 17 and sunk two.  They were instrumental in locating 363 ships, reported 91 vessels in distress and located 17 floating mines.  CAP lost 26 lives and 90 aircraft during the war, but all of this forced the German Navy to go further offshore to avoid detection by the volunteer organization.

Throughout the nation, CAP honors the veterans, both past and present and thanks them for their service to their country.  We owe them unending gratitude.  However, they also seek to honor those who volunteered during WWII at home as a member of CAP and your help is needed.

The Congressional Gold Medal of Honor is awarded to groups approved by Congress on a limited basis.  Your help is needed in order for CAP volunteers from WWII to be honored.

Civil Air Patrol is currently enlisting the help of senators and congressmen to co-sponsor the bill which would bestow this honor to WWII CAP volunteers.  Here is what you can do to help:

  • We are losing 90 WWII veterans every day.  It is imperative to identify CAP adult members who served during the war as well as identify family members of deceased CAP veterans.  Contact your local VFW and American Legion posts to see if they might be able to identify CAP WWII veterans.
  • Proof of CAP membership during WWII can include: interviews with the individual, or family; CAP ID cards, or other personnel/administrative paperwork; documents citing awards, photographs, news clippings, etc.
  • CAP is looking for bill sponsors. They must sign their names in order to support the bill.  We need 67 co-sponsors in the Senate and 290 in the House.  As of today, there are 45 co-sponsors in the Senate, and 108 in the House.  Though a legislator committing to “support” the bill when it comes to a vote is admirable, they need to co-sponsor the bill or it will never come before them for a vote.
  • The bill numbers are H.R. 719 (House) and S. 418 (Senate).  A list of co-sponsors can be found at the Library of Congress’ THOMAS website.  This site contains the text of the bill, where it stands in committee and a list of co-sponsors.  Thomas also helps you to identify and provide contact information for your individual Senators and Congressman.
  • The best chance of getting the bill passed during the current 112th Congress is to have the bills fully sponsored by April 2012.  The 112th Congressional term ends December 2012.

To read the full story about CAP and its role in WWII, read:   Gold Medal Feature

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