Civil Air Patrol Vision
"America's Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol, building the nation's finest force of citizen volunteers - performing Missions for America"
Civil Air Patrol Mission
"To serve America by performing Homeland Security and humanitarian missions for our communities, states, and nation; developing our country's youth; and educating our citizens on the importance of air and space power."
The Civil Air Patrol performs three main functions -- emergency services, aerospace education and cadet training.
CAP's emergency services include air and ground search and rescue, disaster relief, counterdrug, and an increasing role in homeland security. Its members fly more than 95 percent of the inland search and rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue and Coordination Center at Langley Air Force Base, Va. The Civil Air Patrol flew more than 3,000 search and rescue missions and was credited with saving over 100 lives in 2009. CAP assists the U.S. Customs Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Forest Service in their counterdrug efforts. In 2009, CAP aircrews flew more than 12,000 hours in support of the nation's war on drugs and were credited with contributing to the confiscation of more than $400 million of illegal drugs. CAP aircraft fly non-combat homeland security missions such as surveillance of critical infrastructure, airborne communications relay, and airlift of critical cargo. These missions are flown under the authority of the U.S. Northern Command, the joint command responsible for the continental United States. CAP receives tasking from the air component of Northern Command, 1st Air Force, headquartered at Tyndall AFB, Fla. CAP provides extensive support to the nation's Gulf coast following natural disasters. During hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, CAP serviced dozens of locations across the region - more than 1,500 CAP members volunteered to provide support with both aircrews and ground teams. Support from nearly 1,000 aircraft missions included search and rescue, transportation of critical personnel and supplies, and areal imagery of flood damaged areas for civil authorities to coordinate rescue efforts while CAP ground teams conducted missions such as house to house evacuation and distribution of emergency supplies.
The Civil Air Patrol's aerospace education programs provide its members and the educational community information about aviation and space activities. Each year it supports about 200 aerospace education workshops for teachers at approximately 100 colleges and universities around the country, preparing an estimated 5,000 teachers to teach aerospace related subjects in their classrooms. The National Congress on Aviation and Space Education, an annual national convention for aerospace teachers is one of CAP's major contributions to the nation's aerospace education. The organization also develops curricula and publishes aerospace education materials for use in the nation's schools.
The CAP Cadet Program inspires the country's youth to become leaders and good citizens through their interest in aviation and community service. Through studies and other activities, cadets progress through achievements that include special activities, aerospace education, leadership programs, moral leadership, and physical fitness. As cadets progress, they earn increased rank, awards, or certificates. They may become eligible for CAP national or international special activities and compete for academic and flying scholarships. Upon completion of their initial training phase, cadets receive the Gen. Billy Mitchell Award, which entitles them to enter the Air Force as an airman first class, should they choose to enlist. CAP cadets also compete favorably for AFROTC scholarships and USAF Academy appointments. The program is open to U.S. citizens and legal residents of the United States, and its territories and possessions 12 to 18 years old.