Civil Air Patrol is officially a member of the U.S. Air Force’s Total Force, Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force chief of staff, announced today.
The all-volunteer Air Force auxiliary joins the active-duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees, in the Total Force.
The announcement came during CAP’s 2015 National Conference, which began Thursday and concludes Saturday in Orlando, Florida.
“A revision to Air Force doctrine signed by the secretary of staff of the Air Force enacted this significant change,” Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez, CAP national commander, said in a video announcement today.
“Air Force senior leadership has long considered Civil Air Patrol to be part of the Air Force family, relying on us to support homeland security missions,” Vazquez said, adding that including CAP in the Total Force “is a strong recognition of who we are and what we do from the highest levels of the Air Force.”
“Greater awareness of Civil Air Patrol among our Total Force partners also ushers in a new era of understanding and presents untold opportunities as the Air Force looks to its missions for tomorrow. Being part of the Total Force brings with it a great responsibility to continue to be a focused, professional, mission-focused component of the Air Force.”
“We are citizens serving communities and we are a part of the United States Air Force Total Force team,” the national commander concluded.
Congress established CAP as the Air Force’s official auxiliary in May 1948, mandating three core missions – emergency services, cadet programs and aerospace education.
The organization was founded Dec. 1, 1941. During World War II its members flew patrols along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and eventually helped stop German U-boats attacking U.S. oil tankers carrying fuel for domestic and Allied forces. Other CAP members contributed to the war effort through such missions as towing targets for military trainees, spotting forest fires, conducting search and rescue missions, providing disaster relief and emergency transport of people and parts and conducting orientation flights for future pilots.
That World War II service was recognized in December 2014 with a Congressional Gold Medal.