Growing from its World War II experience, the Civil Air Patrol has continued to save lives and alleviate human suffering through a myriad of emergency-services and operational missions.
Since 2013, PAWG CAP has executed over 67 air and 107 ground sorties in support of Disaster Relief, Missing Persons, or Search and Rescue within the Commonwealth as well as 2,287 counterdrug missions in that same time. In 2015 alone, PAWG CAP was credited with 7 ELT finds and a missing person save.
CAP brings a wealth of resources and experience nearly free of charge to augment state and local capabilities and essentially serves as the preeminent fixed wing air component to the state in all hazards response. With currently over 1,164 members qualified across the state in General Emergency Services to include 159 radio operators, 196 qualified aircrew, 467 ground team members and 66 personnel qualified at the Section Chief level or higher, CAP is a formidable resource to provide an on demand volunteer force for any operational need; and, the best kept secret in the US Air Force’s Total Force!
Search and Rescue
Perhaps best known for its search-and-rescue efforts, CAP aircrew and ground teams execute more than 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fl. Outside the continental United States, CAP supports the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Just how effective are the CAP missions? Nearly 100 people are saved each year by CAP members!
Another important service CAP performs is disaster-relief operations. CAP provides air and ground transportation and an extensive communications network. Volunteer members fly disaster-relief officials to remote locations and provide manpower and leadership to local, state and national disaster-relief organizations. CAP has formal agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies including the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard.
On 9/11, Civil Air Patrol aircraft were the first civilan aircraft permitted to fly in order to provide vital aerial reconnaissance of critical facilities and the disasters in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Today, CAP performs routine missions to assess critical vulnerabilities, assist in Air Force Air Defense Training, and air support to security efforts for major events. CAP executes many of these missions as tasked by by the Air Force’s 1st Air Force (Air Force North) in conjunction with state or federal requirements.
CAP flies humanitarian missions-usually in support of the Red Cross-transporting time-sensitive medical materials including blood and human tissue, in situations where other means of transportation are not available.
Air Force Support
It’s hardly surprising that CAP performs several missions in direct support of the U.S. Air Force. Specifically, CAP conducts light transport, communications support, and low-altitude route surveys. CAP also provides orientation flights for AFROTC cadets. Joint U.S. Air Force and CAP search-and-rescue exercises provide realistic training for missions.
CAP joined the “war on drugs” in 1986 when, pursuant to congressional authorization, CAP signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Customs Service offering CAP resources to help stem the flow of drugs into and within the United States.