Colonel Alan Fisher (USAF Retired), an active member of the Las Cruces, NM 024 CAP Squadron (L) with Ric Lambart (R) of the First Aero Squadron. They are standing by one the CAP Squadron’s two Cessna 182 Skylane Search and Rescue aircraft. Colonel Fisher is holding (yellow device) an Emergency Locator finding device, used to locate crashed airplanes. The CAP Squadron 024 is a Composite Squadron, which means that it has both Senior Members (Adults) as well as youth or “Cadet” members. Colonel Fisher is one of the FASF’s earliest members and, before retiring from the USAF, commanded the USAF ROTC, Detachment 505, until two years ago, commanded by FASF Trustee, Col. Ira Cline.
Alma Villezcas, (below center) the Treasurer of the FASF, was recruited into the CAP Composite Squadron 024, located at the Las Cruces, NM Airport, by Col. Fisher, at the same time as was Ric Lambart.
CAP Cadet Technical Sergeant Michael Fry (L) explains cockpit layout to Alma Villezcas and her son, Kevin (far right). Alma and Kevin attended one of the recent training sessions at Squadron 024’s Las Cruces, NM headquarters, where they were briefed and familiarized with the numerous major CAP Squadron’s equipment.
For those of our visitors and members not familiar with the CAP (Civil Air Patrol), it was first organized only a week prior to the entry of the U.S. into WWII.
WWII photo of female CAP Pilot standing by a 1939 era Stinson Airplane.
“Since the Civil Air Patrol’s (CAP’s) formation during the earliest days of World War II, this vigilant organization of citizen Airmen has been committed to service to America. Founded on Dec. 1, 1941, as a way to protect the nation’s shorelines from invading German U-boats, the 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.
As a Total Force partner and Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol is there to search for and find the lost, provide comfort in times of disaster and work to keep the homeland safe.
Its 56,000 members selflessly devote their time, energy and expertise toward the well-being of their communities, while also promoting aviation and related fields through aerospace/STEM education and by helping shape future leaders through CAP’s cadet program.
The CAP’s missions for America are many, and today’s adults and cadets perform their duties with the same vigilance as its founding members — preserving CAP’s 75-year legacy of service while maintaining its commitment to nearly 1,500 communities nationwide.
Today, the CAP has three (3) basic missions:
1) Aero Space Education:
CAP Cadets with their small scale rockets during a CAP rocketry training program
CAP’s aerospace education efforts focus on two different audiences: volunteer CAP members and the general public. The programs ensure that all CAP members (seniors and cadets) have an appreciation for and knowledge of aerospace issues. To advance within the organization, members are required to participate in the educational program. Aerospace educators at CAP’s National Headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., provide current materials that reflect the highest standards of educational excellence. Aerospace education is divided into two parts:
Internal and External.
The Internal aerospace education (“AE”) program has two parts as well: Cadet and Senior. Cadets complete aerospace education as one of the requirements to progress through the achievement levels of the cadet program. Senior members have a responsibility to become knowledgeable about aerospace issues and the AE program that CAP provides. They are further encouraged to share the information obtained with their local communities and school systems.
CAP’s external aerospace programs are conducted through our nation’s educational system. Each year, CAP sponsors many workshops in states across the nation, reaching hundreds of educators and thereby thousands of young people. These workshops highlight basic aerospace knowledge and focus on advances in aerospace technology. CAP’s aerospace education members receive more than 20 free aerospace education classroom materials.
To learn more about CAP’s aerospace education programs, products, and other resources available to our members, go to www.capmembers.com/ae. For information about joining as an aerospace education member (AEM) and to join online, go to www.capmembers.com/joinaem.
2) Cadet Programs:
CAP Cadets at work during training session.
While there are many youth oriented programs in America today, the CAP’s cadet program is unique in that it uses aviation as a cornerstone.
Thousands of young people from 12 years through age 21 are introduced to aviation through CAP’s cadet program. The program allows young people to progress at their own pace through a 16-step program including aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and moral leadership. Cadets compete for academic scholarships to further their studies in fields such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, aerospace medicine, meteorology, as well as many others. Those cadets who earn cadet officer status may enter the Air Force as an E3 (Airman First Class) rather than an E1 (Airman Basic).
Whatever your interests: survival training, flight training, photography, astronomy-there’s a place for you in CAP’s cadet program. Each year, cadets have the opportunity to participate in special activities at the local, state, regional or national level. Many cadets will have the opportunity to fly an airplane solo for the first time through a flight encampment or academy. Others will enjoy traveling abroad through the International Air Cadet Exchange Program. Still others assist at major air shows throughout the nation.
3) Emergency Services:
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.
CAP Cessna 182 Aircraft on mission
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? Approximately 75-100 people are saved each year by CAP members!
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.
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.
photo by CAP member Capt. Rebecca Meyers. taken during search mission base at Minden, Nevada.
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.
CAP joined the “War on Drugs” in 1986 when, pursuant to congressional authorization, CAP signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Customs Service offering CAP resources to help stem the flow of drugs into and within the United States.
Colonel Fisher would like to invite any and all interested citizens to explore membership in this historic public service organization, an enterprise which not only provides many critical public services, but one that also affords outstanding career training opportunities for its active members, both Seniors (Adult) and Juniors (or Cadet – Teenagers). Just click anywhere on this paragraph for more information on the CAP Website.