To actively and professionally support CAP’s missions, our country and state by providing a capable and trained volunteer force and motivating our membership to be strong leaders and better citizens.
Prior to the creation of the Civil Air Patrol, the state of Florida created its own group of paramilitary civilian aviators to patrol its coastline. Organized in 1941, the First Air Squadron was mustered in on May 28, 1941. Organized under the Florida Defense Force, the First Air Squadron was made up of civilian volunteers, and all aircraft were privately owned. Members were required to either have a private pilot’s license or have served in the military at least one year to join. The First Air Squadron patrolled the Florida coast for U-boats and assisted in search and rescue missions.
Civil Air Patrol
The Civil Air Patrol was created on December 1, 1941. In Florida, the First Air Squadron was reorganized as a Civil Air Patrol unit. By early January 1942, the Florida wing was organized into seven different operation groups, each with a commander and staff
The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a congressionally chartered, federally supported non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF). CAP is a 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 relief 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.
CAP also performs non-auxiliary missions for various governmental and private agencies, such as local law enforcement and the American Red Cross. The program is established as an organization by Title 10 of the United States Code and its purposes defined by Title 36.
Membership in the organization consists of cadets ranging from 12 to just under 21 years of age, and senior members 18 years of age and up. These two groups each have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of pursuits; the cadet program contributes to the development of the former group with a structured syllabus and an organization based upon United States Air Force ranks and pay grades, while the older members serve as instructors, supervisors, and operators. All members wear uniforms while performing their duties.
Nationwide, CAP is a major operator of single-engine general aviation aircraft, used in the execution of its various missions, including orientation flights for cadets and the provision of significant emergency services capabilities. Because of these extensive flying opportunities, many CAP members become licensed pilots.
- The Civil Air Patrol is congressionally chartered and operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
- Performs services for the federal government as the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and for states/local communities as a nonprofit organization.
- Includes eight geographic regions consisting of 52 wings (the 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia).
- Consists of 1,500 squadrons and 60,000 volunteer youth and adult members nationwide.
- Has more than 8,800 aircrew members and 30,000 emergency responders trained to FEMA standards.
- Offers opportunities for members to serve communities, participate in leadership development training and acquire new skills that benefit personal and professional growth.
- Contributed $158 million in man-hours in 2014 by serving the disaster relief and emergency service needs of communities, states and the U.S.
- Operates one of the largest fleets of single-engine piston aircraft in the world, with 550 currently in the fleet.
- Flies more than 91,000 hours annually.
- Maintains a fleet of more than 950 emergency service vehicles for training and mission support.
- Provides 491 chaplains who minister to youth and adult members and help comfort survivors and victims of disasters