Homeland Security Past.... and Present
From our very beginnings in 1941 at the eve of World War II, the
unpaid volunteers of your Civil Air Patrol have made a difference in our
national security and have aided those in need. Today, we're even more active.
The Civil Air Patrol was started on Dec. 1, 1941. Six days later, Pearl Harbor
was attacked, and the organization was sent on submarine patrol off the Atlantic
civilian pilots recruited for their flying skills, the original plan for the
Civil Air Patrol limited its role to liaison flying (unarmed support flights,
including reconnaissance) along the U.S. East Coast and interdiction patrols on
the southern border to guard against enemy infiltrators crossing over from
Mexico. However, German submarines (U-boats) patrolling the North Atlantic began
sinking commercial vessels with impunity, taking a terrible toll on tankers and
freighters in particular, disrupting deliveries of gasoline and oil to the
United States, and threatening the transport of vital war supplies being rushed
to Europe. The Civil Air Patrol found itself chartered to perform a crucial new
mission--coastal patrols and submarine spotting.
During the war,
the Civil Air Patrol lost 26 pilots and observers and 90 of its tiny aircraft.
Its planes guided warships and combat planes to 173 U-boats that it had hunted
down and were credited with two unassisted submarine sinkings as well as several
In the ultimate compliment, a Nazi submariner admitted under
allied interrogation that the U-boats were pulled back by German high command
"because of those ****ed little red and yellow airplanes" of the Civil Air
During World War
II, the Coastal Patrol flew 86,865 missions, logging over 244,600 hours. But in
addition to finding and sinking U-boats, Coastal Patrol aircraft saved American
lives, reporting 91 ships in distress and playing a key role in rescuing 363
survivors of U-boat attacks.
here to view a 31-page National Geographic Story from May 1956.
Today's Expanded Mission: Border Patrol, NASA, DHS, DEA,
Today, the Civil Air Patrol assists the U.S. Customs and Border
Protection, Drug Enforcement Administration, and
States Forest Service in the War on Drugs, as well as directly working with the
US Department of Homeland Security. Civil Air Patrol is uniquely positioned to
conduct operations in support of the nation's homeland security initiatives.
With decades of operational experience, CAP can provide low-cost airborne assets
across the nation, all manned by mission-ready personnel who have demonstrated
capability to work with federal, military, state and local agencies across the
spectrum of homeland security.
We are particularly experienced in taking "geotagged"
hi-res photographs of flooding, tornado damage and
other areas of interest to local, state & federal agencies.
As the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, CAP has now been
placed under the Air Force Homeland Security Directorate. CAP leaders recently
met with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to discuss CAP's expanding
role in protecting the home skies. CAP members have proven themselves capable,
having assisted in relief efforts after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. CAP
also provided security for the Winter Olympics and was asked by NASA to provide
flights above its spacecraft launch sites.
CAP increases our nation's security capabilities by providing
airborne reconnaissance and imagery, disaster and damage assessment, airborne
transportation of personnel, equipment and critical supplies, and multi-layered
communications support. CAP can provide manpower for communications and
emergency operations centers, search and rescue teams, and ground support teams.
CAP can put a manned airborne platform over any major city or strategic resource
in the country in less than two hours, safely and cost-effectively.
An Overview of the Civil Air Patrol
The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is the civilian
auxiliary of the United States Air Force. While the CAP is sponsored by the Air
Force, it is not an operating reserve component under the Air Force or the
federal government. CAP is a non-profit volunteer organization with an
aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds,
lifestyles, and occupations.
It performs three congressionally assigned key
missions: emergency services, which includes search and rescue (by air and
ground) and disaster recovery operations; aerospace education for youth and the
general public; and cadet programs for teenage youth. In addition, CAP has
recently been tasked with homeland security and courier service missions.