The Civil Air Patrol was started under the inspiration of Gill Robb Wilson. Wilson was the New Jersey Director of Aeronautics, at the time, and a World War I pilot.
Upon returning from Germany in 1936, Wilson brought news of what he believed was an impending war. He wanted to mobilize an American civilian national defense organization made up of fellow pilots and aviation experts.
Wilson realized his dream with the launch of the Civil Air Defense Services (CADS) in 1941. The CADS program was well received and it was promoted as a model for civilian home defense organizations throughout the country.
On December 1, 1941, the Departments of Commerce, the Navy, and War approved the Civil Air Patrol. Major General John F. Curry led the new CAP as the National Commander.
One week after the establishment of CAP, on December 8, 1941, the organization was publicly announced. Recruiting began nationally.
As part of the national defense, CAP patrolled the waters off of the U.S. East Coast. Their mission was to act as a deterrent to German submarines who had been attacking merchant ships in the beginning of 1942.
Due to the success of CAP’s patrol missions, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9339. The order, issued on April 29, 1943, transferred the organization from the Office of Civil Defense to the Department of War.
The CAP Cadet Program was initiated in October of 1942 in order to provide young men and women, ages 15 to 18, with military preparation training. The program was highly successful, as it continue to be, today.
Volunteers from the Civil Air Patrol provided critical wartime services. They partrolled the skies and gave warnings about incoming aircraft. In addition, they acted as couriers, patrolled the Mexican border, performed search and rescue missions for downed aircraft, patrolled the forests, and much more.
The American leadership, including President Harry S. Truman, was so impressed with CAP’s wartime service record, that the President incorporated the organization. Public Law 79-476 was signed by Truman on July 1, 1946. Two years later, with the establishment of the U.S. Air Force, CAP was made the civilian auxiliary to the new military branch on May 26, 1948.
Today’s Civil Air Patrol continues as the U.S. Air Force’s civilian auxiliary. We are made up of more than 56,000 members, including 24,000 youth cadets.
Our programs bring safety and vigilance to our country, and provide an outstanding education program. The Aerospace Education and STEM education tracks allow young people to explore the science and technology of the modern Air Force.
Our legacy stands with 75 years of proud tradition and civic duty to our fellow countrymen. Cadets and Senior Members work with their local communities across the country to bring education, disaster relief, and emergency services to those in need.
We are the Civil Air Patrol, Squadron 229, Tucson, Arizona, and we are “Always Vigilant for America!”
Supporting America’s communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development and promotion of air, space and cyber power.
Civil Air Patrol, America’s Air Force auxiliary, building the nation’s finest force of citizen volunteers serving America.
Integrity, Volunteerism, Excellence and Respect