Who We Are
Civil Air Patrol is congressionally chartered and operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, CAP performs services for the federal government as the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and for states/local communities as a nonprofit organization. CAP is made up of eight geographic regions consisting of 52 wings (the 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia). It is a strategic partner of the Air Force, serving as a member of its Total Force. CAP has three primary missions — Emergency Services, Cadet Programs and Aerospace Education. This year, Civil Air Patrol is celebrating more than 70-years in association with the U.S. Air Force. Congress passed a law on May 26, 1948, designating CAP as the official Air Force auxiliary.
As a Total Force partner and Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, Civil Air Patrol is there to search for and find the lost, provide comfort in times of disaster and work to keep the homeland safe. Its 60,000 members selflessly devote their time, energy and expertise toward the well-being of their communities, while also promoting aviation and related fields through aerospace/STEM education and helping shape future leaders through CAP’s cadet program.
Our Mission: Supporting America’s communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development, and promotion of air, space and cyber power.
CAP maintains both internal and external aerospace education programs. CAP members, both adults, and cadets follow a rigorous program to learn about aviation and aerospace principles. CAP also reaches out to the general public through a special program for teachers at all grade levels. Through this program, CAP provides free classroom materials and lesson plans for aerospace education, and each year sponsors the premier national conference in this field.
CAP’s cadet program trains young men and women in teamwork, moral leadership, aerospace education, technical skills to support emergency services, and military history and customs. Through national encampments, a college and flight training scholarship program, and the International Air Cadet Exchange, CAP cadets broaden their horizons, learn to assume responsibility, feel self-confidence, and set goals for their lives.
Best known for its members’ work in search and rescue and disaster relief missions, CAP is expanding its role in the 21st century to include an increasing number of homeland security operations and exercises. CAP also performs counterdrug reconnaissance missions at the request of law enforcement agencies and can do radiological monitoring and damage assessment. CAP members undergo rigorous training to perform these missions safely and cost-effectively.
Senior Members do so much more than just fly; they come from all walks of life. Some are doctors, nurses, paramedics, or other medical professionals. Others are lawyers, paralegals, accountants, computer programmers, and other business professionals and executives. Mechanics, cooks, teachers, police officers, clergy, parents, really just about any career or background can be useful to and found in the ranks of the CAP adult membership. CAP supports a variety of missions that require adults from all walks of life.