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2011 Civil Air Patrol Legislative Day

North Carolina Wing

Each year, as part of the Winter National Board meeting held in Washington, DC, the members of the Civil Air Patrol conduct a Legislative Day. This year, Legislative Day was held on March 3rd and the North Carolina Wing participated fully in this event. The North Carolina Wing Government Relations Advisor, Lt Col Paul Meade, organized meetings at the offices of the two North Carolina Senators and eight Congress Representatives to discuss critical issues facing CAP. Participating in these meetings were Lt Col Meade, Wing Commander, Col Roy Douglass, and the following cadets: C/Lt Col Kyle Zobel, C/Maj Stephen Coogan, C/Maj Sierra Larson, and C/Capt Taylor Huneycutt.

 The key issues discussed on the Hill were 1) the restoration of $4.5 million to the CAP Operations and Maintenance budget, 2) the restoration of $6.8 million to the procurement fund to purchase additional aircraft for our aging fleet, and 3) co-sponsorship of the bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the CAP civilian members who conducted combat and humanitarian missions during World War II. Apart from the efforts made by those present on the Hill, it is vitally important for all CAP members in North Carolina to write to their District Representatives and the two Senators asking them to co-sponsor these Congressional Gold Medal bills (HR 719 in the House, and S 418 in the Senate).

Every Wing in the Civil Air Patrol was well-represented during Legislative Day, and the efforts of our dedicated members were recognized by all Senators and Representatives. Restoration of our Operations and Maintenance budget for FY 2012 is critical to the on-going success of CAP and its missions. Without this restoration, flight hours will be reduced by 37,000 hours, there will be a negative impact to cadet programs, the national staff will need to be reduced by 8%, and up to 187 aircraft will be grounded due to lack of maintenance funds.

While these are difficult economic times, the Civil Air Patrol is still one of the most effective and efficient volunteer organizations conducting Emergency Services for the State of North Carolina. The cost to fly one of our aircraft on a mission is less than $150/hour, whereas the cost to the State to fly a Blackhawk helicopter is about $2,600/hour. And with CAP, there are no labor costs! Clearly, a $4.5 million reduction in our Operations and Maintenance budget has a critical impact on our daily missions, much more so than other agencies that have to pay labor costs on top of their maintenance and operational expenses.

All of our members need to do their part in helping create awareness and value among our stakeholders in North Carolina. The Civil Air Patrol is a nationwide, non-profit organization of “national interest” not only to our Congress, but to every citizen in North Carolina. The efforts of those on the Hill during Legislative Day in Washington on March 3rd will go a long way in generating this awareness, but we need everyone’s help to achieve our success.

Article provided by Lt. Col. Paul Meade