Civil Air Patrol

CAP brings historical touch to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh mission

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – Civil Air Patrol’s longstanding role in helping ensure the success of EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh, the world’s largest air show, came with an added dimension this year — commemoration of the organization’s 75th anniversary.

CAP cadets and senior members began arriving Monday, July 18, at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to help fill a number of vital roles for AirVenture. The air show itself ran from July 25-31.

Service at the event was the focus for one of CAP’s major summer cadet activities, National Blue Beret, and is also a major mission for the Wisconsin Wing. CAP’s responsibilities include assisting with crowd control, flight line and exhibit patrols, aircraft marshaling, emergency locator transmitter detection and arrival confirmation.

Starting Tuesday, participants began carrying out a U.S. Air Force-assigned precautionary search and rescue mission for aircraft that fail to arrive as scheduled, with wing members operating at Fond du Lac and elsewhere and National Blue Beret cadets handling planes expected at Wittman.

“With 550,000 in attendance and more than 10,000 planes, it can be a challenge,” said Col. Regena Aye, commander of CAP’s North Central Region, who’s serving as the National Blue Beret public affairs officer. The 154 cadets who participated were divided into 15 flights, Aye said, adding that “a cadet will marshal between 100 to 150 aircraft on a busy shift.”

During downtime, cadets visit exhibits, listen to presentations, watch takeoffs and landings of both vintage and sophisticated aircraft and meet aviators, celebrities and aviation professionals.

This year, in conjunction with CAP’s 75th anniversary, some of those attractions will embrace the organization’s history and legacy. Maj. Susan Neal of CAP’s New York Wing and her husband, Lt. Col. Sean Neal, presented two of their vintage CAP planes at Oshkosh — a 1940 Fairchild 24R and a 1941 Stinson 10A. Other vintage CAP aircraft iincluded a 1936 WACO YKS-6, a 1936 Fairchild 24C8F and an additional 1941 Stinson 10A, Maj. Neal said. Most have been restored to reflect CAP’s World War II-era paint scheme. One of the planes will be included in AirVenture’s extremely popular warbirds exhibit of World War II planes and flew in the Warbirds portion of the air show, Neal said.

Lt. Col. Harvey Moss, Wisconsin Wing vice commander, said the CAP recruiting booth
maintained every year at AirVenture by the wing’s Fox Cities Composite Squadron highlighted the 75th anniversary as well as the organization’s three core missions — emergency services, cadet programs and aerospace education. The Fox
Cities unit’s CAP Cessna 182T was also on display at the booth. CAP is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. The organization was founded Dec. 1, 1941, six days before Pearl Harbor.

Its service in defense of the homeland during World War II, especially in flying single-engine planes to combat German U-boats that were sinking commercial shipments off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, was recognized Dec. 10, 2014, with the Congressional Gold Medal. Civil Air Patrol was recognized in May 1948 as the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. It became a part of the Air Force Total Force in August 2015.

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