The Dayton Rotary Club learned about the Civil Air Patrol last week during their meeting. Longtime Rotarian, Ken DeFoor, introduced the presenter Don Fisher after the prayer and pledge. Don Fisher has been with the Civil Air Patrol for over 33 years.
According to the history of the CAP, the origins of Civil Air Patrol dates back to 1936, when Gill Robb Wilson, World War I aviator and New Jersey director of aeronautics, returned from Germany convinced of impending war. Wilson envisioned mobilizing America’s civilian aviators for national defense, an idea shared by others. In Ohio, Milton Knight, a pilot and businessman, organized and incorporated the Civilian Air Reserve (CAR) in 1938. Other military- styled civilian aviation units emerged nationwide, training for homeland defense. In 1941, Wilson launched his perfected program: the Civil Air Defense Services (CADS). That summer, tasked by Fiorello H. LaGuardia (New York mayor and director of the federal Office of Civilian Defense and also a World War I aviator), Wilson, publisher Thomas H. Beck and newspaperman Guy P. Gannett proposed Wilson’s CADS program as a model for organizing the nation’s civilian aviation resources.
The Commerce, Navy, and War departments in November approved their proposal for a Civil Air Patrol, and CAP national headquarters began operating Dec. 1, 1941. The CAP was founded to mobilize the nation’s civilian aviation resources for national defense service. CAP has evolved into a premier public service organization that still carries out emergency service missions when needed — in the air and on the ground.
In 1978, The CAP organized in Liberty County,” stated Fisher. He gave some interesting statistics about the Civil Air Patrol such as there are about 64,000 folks in CAP and they have 34 airplanes in Texas today. There are 15 current members of the Texas Wing Conference. Fisher introduced their newest member, Mr. Scott Griffin. As the auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, CAP’s citizen volunteers are there to search for and find the lost, provide comfort in times of disaster, assist FEMA in emergencies and work to keep the homeland safe.
Civil Air Patrol offers numerous products and programs in fulfillment of both its Internal (cadets and senior members) and External (educators and students) such as the Aerospace Education mission including STEM Kits. However, their mission statement sums up what CAP is all about: “ Volunteers Serving America’s Communities, Saving Lives, and Shaping Futures.”