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CAP's Capabilities

An overview of Civil Air Patrol, the United States Air Force Auxiliary. With missions in Emergency Services, Cadet Programs, and Aerospace Education CAP performs a variety of missions for America. This video gives a brief overview of the CAP, beginning with our history, and missions performed in the present day.

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The Civil Air Patrol is the official U.S. Air Force Auxiliary - a non-profit organization, with approximately 65,000 trained volunteer members nationwide. Formed in 1941, immediately prior to World War II, CAP provided homeland defense support, while our military personnel were fighting overseas.

Since the events of September 11, the volunteer members of CAP are prepared to step forward again, to prepare the people and assets of this great nation.

Civil Air Patrol is uniquely positioned to conduct homeland security operations in support of the nation's security initiatives. With decades of operational experience, the Air Force Auxiliary can provide low cost airborne assets across the country, all manned by mission trained personnel who have demonstrated the capability to work with federal, military, state, and local agencies across the homeland security spectrum.

Within hours of the World Trade Center disaster, Civil Air Patrol aircraft were in the air providing support such as photo reconnaissance of ground zero, whole blood transport flights, communications with bases, and personnel to help staff FEMA and other Federal and State emergency agencies.

Civil Air Patrol also provided security during the 2002 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games, with traffic observation and detection of airborne threats. Their support led to the detection of unauthorized vehicles and personnel during the international event.

CAP also provides NASA with pre-launch security flights. They also participated in search and recovery of debris scattered across several states from the unfortunate Columbia tragedy.

Today, Civil Air Patrol conducts more than 90% of all inland search and rescue in the United States for the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. These trained volunteers have the capability to locate downed aircraft from both the air and the ground. They can also conduct damage assessment from both natural and man-made disasters.

CAP is currently procuring Airborne Hyperspectral Imaging Systems, or HSI, for its aircraft. Hyperspectral Imaging is a technology that would allow a sensor to be placed on a CAP aircraft to detect and gather reflected light from man-made or natural objects on the ground. It would detect these materials on various backgrounds and geo-locate them as part of the search process.

To meet many other homeland security requirements, CAP is fielding a cost-effective Digital Imaging System. The Satellite Digital Imaging System will consist of a digital laptop computer and a satellite phone onboard a CAP aircraft. A trained volunteer member will locate a target and take a digital picture to be automatically loaded onto the aircraft laptop. The image is then attached to an e-mail and sent via satellite phone to the Global Star Internet Gateway, delivering high-resolution images to multiple customers.

This system will be available in all eight CAP regions within the next few months, and eventually in each state in the nation.

Civil Air Patrol is ready once again to respond to the nation's pressing issues of homeland security, and thus return to its original roots as the "Eyes of the Home Sky."

Civil Air Patrol, performing missions for America.

Want to be a part of our team? Visit our unit locator map and find a squadron near you.

Want to find out more about the Civil Air Patrol in North Carolina? Contact us and we will be happy to get back to you.

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