National Commander's Message
Civil Air Patrol: A Proud Legacy Continues
Civil Air Patrol enjoys a proud legacy of selfless sacrifice and service to country and community that spans decades.
The first Civil Air Patrol members of 1941 were a heroic breed, men and women who served their country by sinking or chasing away German submarines off America's East and Gulf coasts. As a result of their bravery, patriotism and tenacity, CAP subchasers effectively thwarted German U-boat attacks and, in the process, saved countless lives.
Today, CAP handles 90 percent of inland search and rescue missions, with approximately 75 - 100 lives saved each year. Our members are generally the first on the scene transmitting satellite digital images of the damage within seconds around the world and providing disaster relief and emergency services following natural and manmade disasters, including such phenomena as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Texas and Oklahoma wildfires, tornadoes in the south and central U.S., North Dakota flash flooding and the October 2006 earthquake in Hawaii, as well as humanitarian missions along the U.S. and Mexican border.
In addition, CAP members are dedicated to counterdrug reconnaissance and to teaching a new generation about aerospace and its impact on our future. And our cadet programs ensure our youth receive some of the finest leadership training the nation has to offer.
Unlike our founding CAP fathers, many of whom flew their own airplanes and performed life-threatening missions without any formal training, our 55,000 members are now provided with top-notch, year-round professional development training opportunities and with aircraft equipped with the most advanced technologies available for search and rescue.
Indeed, Civil Air Patrol makes a huge impact each and every day, going above and beyond to make a profound difference in America's communities. As a vigilant CAP volunteer, you save lives and preserve liberty for all.
Thank you for your service.
Maj. Gen. Mark E. Smith
CAP National Commander