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Our Missions

Missions for the Civil Air Patrol are Congressionally mandated.  They are:

Aerospace Education

CAP’s aerospace education program focus on two audiences: CAP members and the general public.  To advance within the organization, members are required to participate in the educational program.  Educators at CAP’s National Headquarters at Maxwell AFB in Alabama provide materials that reflect the highest standards of educational excellence.

The program is divided into two parts:

  • Internal – All members participate in our internal  program.  Cadets must take and pass an aerospace education test for each achievement they complete.  Senior members are encouraged to become knowledgeable of aviation history and aerospace topics so that they can share the information obtained with others.

  • External – Each year, CAP sponsors workshops in states across the nation, reaching hundreds of state and local educators and thereby thousands of young people.  These workshops highlight basic aerospace knowledge and focus on advances in aerospace technology.  CAP’s aerospace education members receive more than 20 free aerospace education classroom materials.

Cadet Programs

Civil Air Patrol’s cadet program is unique in that it uses aviation as a cornerstone.  Thousands of young people from the ages of 12 through 21 are introduced to aviation through CAP’s cadet program.  Cadets progress at their own pace through a 16-step program that includes aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness, and character development.  They can compete for scholarships to further their studies in fields such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, aerospace medicine, meteorology, as well as many others.  Cadets who reach the Billy Mitchell award, earning cadet officer status, may enter the Air Force as an E3 (airman first class) rather than an E1 (airman basic).  AFI36-2002 section A4.1.5.5 explains.

Each year, cadets have the opportunity  to participate in special activities at the local, state, region, or national level.  Many will have the opportunity to solo fly an airplane for the first time through a flight encampment or academy.  Others will travel abroad through the International Air Cadet Exchange Program.

Emergency Services

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.

Search and Rescue

CAP flies 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.  Approximately 75-100 people are saved each year by CAP members.

Disaster Relief

CAP provides air and ground transportation and an extensive communications network.  Members fly officials to remote locations and provide manpower and leadership to local, state and national disaster-relief organizations.  CAP has agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies including the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Humanitarian Services

Usually supporting the American Red Cross, CAP often transports time-sensitive medical materials including blood and human tissue, in situations where other means of transportation are not available.

Air Force Support

CAP conducts light transport, communications support, and low-altitude route surveys in direct support of the United States Air Force (USAF).  CAP also provides orientation flights for AFROTC cadets.  Joint U.S. Air Force and CAP search-and-rescue exercises provide realistic training for missions.

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