Civil Air Patrol

Governor Signs Proclamation for 70th Anniversary of Civil Air Patrol


The proclamation signed by Gov. Scott Walker declaring Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 as Civil Air Patrol 70th Anniversary Day.

Madison, Wis. – Declaring Thursday, December 1 as Civil Air Patrol 70th Anniversary Day throughout the State of Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker signed a proclamation commending the observance of this momentous occasion to all of its citizens.

Wisconsin Wing Civil Air Patrol, with its current membership of over 1,000 volunteers and 28 units, has participated in approximately 1,200 missions throughout its 70 year history.

They have brought aerospace education to thousands of school-age children by providing the materials needed and support to the classroom teacher.  The academic program in CAP stresses the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math, in addition to encouraging a drug-free lifestyle.

Through their cadet program, they have trained thousands to be leaders in their local communities.  Many in the nation, including Wisconsin, have gone on to be astronauts, federal judges, senators and congressman, leaders in the field of science, aviation enthusiasts, business leaders, and dedicated citizens serving their local communities

Originally known as the Coastal Patrol; later becoming Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the organization was founded December 1, 1941 by a fledgling group of volunteers led by civilian pilots who flew their own planes at their own expense in support of America’s efforts in World War II.  Their primary mission was flying reconnaissance missions near the country’s coasts to protect cargo ships, especially vital oil tankers, being sunk at an alarming rate.

According to than U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshal, the German submarines “now threaten our entire war effort.

Since these “subchasers” were spotting so many subs, the decision was made by the military to arm their light aircraft with small bombs.  The larger aircraft carried 325-pound depth charges, putting these brave civilians at great risk as they flew 100 miles or more from shore in all kinds of weather.

The volunteers played an integral role in the defense of America’s home front over the next year and a half.  In total they spotted 143 German submarines, attacked 57 and sunk two while directing shore-based fighting units to their targets.  The results of their efforts were forcing the German Navy to move further offshore.

A total of 64 deaths and 150 aircraft were lost by the war’s end, but the Coastal Patrol was heralded as a great success.  President Harry Truman signed Public Law 476 in 1946, making CAP a benevolent, nonprofit organization.  Two years later in 1948, the Congress of the United States passed Public Law 557, which permanently established CAP as the auxiliary of the new U. S. Air Force.  The three primary missions established for the organization were Emergency Services, Cadet Programs and Aerospace Education.

All 48 continuous states were in the original charter of Civil Air Patrol; Alaska and Hawaii had not yet obtained statehood.  The modern-day Civil Air Patrol has emerged to become one of the nation’s premier humanitarian service organizations with search and rescue, disaster relief, working to keep America safe, preparing future leaders, offering aerospace education to inspire our nation’s youth and honoring our military.

CAP has the world’s largest fleet of single-engine aircraft equipped with high-tech toolboxes like full-motion video, infrared cameras and glass cockpit aircraft.  They have established themselves among the nation’s search and rescue elite, now participating in up to 90 percent of the Air Force’s inland search and rescue missions.

All 52 wings; which include the 50 states in the U.S. plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, continue to serve over 1,600 communities with 63,000 professional volunteers.

Civil Air Patrol, though rich in history and no longer chasing subs, is poised for the future as they continue to practice their three primary missions.

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