What is the Civil Air Patrol in the US? What do they do and do they get paid? And are they recognized as members of the military? Or are they similar to the merchant marines?

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What is the Civil Air Patrol in the US? What do they do and do they get paid? And are they recognized as members of the military? Or are they similar to the merchant marines?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Former cadet here.

The Civil Air Patrol is a civilian, volunteer auxiliary of the USAF. Its members (both Senior Members, over 21, and cadets, under 21) wear the Air Force uniform, go by Air Force grades (officer grades only for adults, cadets use both enlisted and officer grades), but have no military authority and enlisted service members do not have to salute them.

They fly domestic search and rescue using civilian propeller-type planes (mostly single-engine Cessna 152, 172, and 182 models, with high wings for better observability) for downed civilian aircraft, a role the USAF is not well-equipped to do efficiently with their military aircraft. They also run a cadet program for youth, and participate in counter-drug operations. They are not a combat unit, and have no armed aircraft assigned to them.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Also a former cadet and senior member (adult). CAP members are volunteers. CAP was authorized/formed on December 1st, 1941 (1 week before the attack on Pearl Harbor). During WW2, CAP members flew patrols along the US coasts and dropped handheld bombs from their planes when they spotted enemy ships. I used to know the number of ships spotted and bombed, but only remember CAP was responsible for sinking 1 German ship.

The national HQ for CAP is at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, AL. CAP has a three-fold mission:
Aerospace education
Search and rescue
The cadet program (leadership training)

Cadet membership is from 13 -21, although people can join at 12 once they’ve completed 6th grade.

I enjoyed my time in CAP and learned a lot from it as well as forming life-long relationships with people. I got to see and do some really cool things, like spending time in a different country as part of the International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) program.

CAP is the official auxiliary of the US Air Force and cadets who earn the Billy Mitchell Award can enlist in the Army or Air Force at a higher rank. Because I’d earned the Mitchell Award, I was able to enlist in the Army as a Specialist (E4).

Anonymous 0 Comments

Met my husband of 30 years in CAP. I was a cadet for a few years even made Cadet Commander. Left for a few years and then went back as Senior member. I really enjoyed my time in CAP. I only got to go on one SAR mission looking for a lost hiker.

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Former cadet here. Imagine if the boy scouts had air force branding, you now know what the Civil Air Patrol is.

It is a really great idea that has been ruined by people who think they are in the actual armed forces. It’s sad to see such a great concept ruined by people.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In addition to search and rescue, they are often utilized to secure aircraft crash scenes. Years ago, as a volunteer firefighter, we responded to a plane that had lost power on takeoff and gotten hung up in some trees just off the runway about 50ft in the air. It was a long call that required a decent amount of creative thinking to get the (unharmed) pilot down.

When I drove through the area later that night, two vans parked just off the closest road caught my attention. There were two dozen cadets in BDUs and safety vests camped out to protect the scene until the FAA arrived the next morning and the plane was removed.

Anonymous 0 Comments

No pay but it’s kinda fun for teens learning military stuff. And retired aviators volunteer their time to do things like search and rescue flights. The planes are usually Cessna 182 or similar and owned and maintained by the CAP but are based at military fields.