About CAP



“To serve America by developing our Nation’s youth;
accomplishing local, state and national emergency and
humanitarian missions; and educating our citizens on the
impact of aviation and space.”
--CAP Mission Statement


Civil Air Patrol is chartered by the US Congress as the United States Air Force Auxiliary. The Civil Air Patrol is an all-volunteer auxiliary with a very diverse and colorful history. Its mandated missions are currently managed by more than 60,000 members across the country, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

In the late 1930s, more than 150,000 volunteers with a love for aviation argued for an organization to put their planes and flying skills to use in defense of their country.  As a result, the Civil Air Patrol was born one week prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Thousands of volunteer members answered America's call to national service and sacrifice by accepting and performing critical wartime missions.

After the war, a thankful nation understood that Civil Air Patrol could continue providing valuable services to both local and national agencies.  On July 1, 1946, President Harry Truman signed Public Law 476 incorporating Civil Air Patrol as a benevolent, nonprofit organization.  On May 26, 1948, Congress passed Public Law 557 permanently establishing Civil Air Patrol as the auxiliary of the new U.S. Air Force. 

Three primary mission areas were set forth at that time: aerospace education, cadet programs, and emergency services.



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