Growing from its World War II experience, the Civil Air Patrol has continued to save lives and alleviate human suffering through a myriad of emergency-services and operational missions.
Search and Rescue
Perhaps best known for its search-and-rescue efforts, CAP flies more than 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, FL. Outside the continental United States, CAP supports the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Just how effective are the CAP missions?
- Conducts 90 % of inland search and rescue in the U.S. as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and other agencies.
- Coordinates Air Force-assigned missions through CAP National Operations Center at Maxwell AFB, Ala., at a cost of $150-$180 per flying hour.
- Performs aerial reconnaissance for homeland security.
- Nearly 100 people are saved each year by CAP members.
- Provides disaster-response support to local, state and national agencies.
- Transports time-sensitive medical materials, blood products and body tissues when commercial resources are unavailable.
- Provides air intercept training, impact assessment, light transport, communications support and low-level route surveys for the Air Force.
Another important service CAP performs is disaster-relief operations. CAP provides air and ground transportation and an extensive communications network. Volunteer members fly disaster-relief officials to remote locations and provide manpower and leadership to local, state and national disaster-relief organizations. CAP has formal agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies including the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard.
On 9/11, Civil Air Patrol aircraft were the first civilan aircraft permitted to fly in order to provide vital aerial reconnaissance of critical facilities and the disasters in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Today, CAP performs routine missions to assess critical vulnerabilities, assist in Air Force Air Defense Training, and air support to security efforts for major events. CAP executes many of these missions as tasked by by the Air Force’s 1st Air Force (Air Force North) in conjunction with state or federal requirements. The Delaware Wing has a longstanding mission in support of the State of Delaware Department of Transportation (DELDOT) and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Twice daily, Delaware Wing aircrews fly missions around the state observing critical infrastructure and monitoring daily traffic volume and reporting to DELDOT road blockages from downed trees or a major accident, street and highway flooding, collapsed or washed-out bridges, and weekend beach traffic. By working closely with DELDOT, responders can be dispatched promptly and road crews can be summoned to block off accident sites while rerouting traffic if necessary.
CAP flies humanitarian missions-usually in support of the Red Cross-transporting time-sensitive medical materials including blood and human tissue, in situations where other means of transportation are not available
Air Force Support
It’s hardly surprising that CAP performs several missions in direct support of the U.S. Air Force. Specifically, CAP conducts light transport, communications support, and low-altitude route surveys. CAP also provides orientation flights for AFROTC cadets. Joint U.S. Air Force and CAP search-and-rescue exercises provide realistic training for missions. Quarterly, Delaware Wing supports our Total force partners flying fly "Fertile Keynote" missions to exercise air defense capabilities against a variety of airframes. The training allows fighter pilots, controllers and NORAD personnel to coordinate rapid intercepts of aircraft that show signs of distress or fail to comply with air traffic control instructions.