Perhaps best known for its search and rescue effort, CAP flies more than 85 percent of all inland search and rescue
missions in the continental United States as tasked by the Air Force Rescue
Coordination Center, based at Langley AFB, Va.
Civil Air Patrol volunteers are on call 24-hours a day, 7-days a
week, to provide search and rescue services to the Air Force Rescue Coordination
Center, the U.S. Coast Guard, rescue coordination centers in Alaska, Hawaii and
Puerto Rico, and state and local agencies. Missions are initiated to locate
missing aircraft, aid aircraft crash victims, search for missing persons, rescue
people in distress, locate the source of emergency locator transmitter signals,
transport blood or organs, and transport search and rescue dog teams. Each year,
CAP is credited with saving about 100 lives.
Civil Air Patrol plays a vitally important role in disaster
relief operations, providing air and ground transportation and an extensive
communications network in times of disasters. CAP often works alongside other
agencies in the disaster-relief business to improve responsiveness and to
minimize human suffering.
Following disasters, volunteers provide damage-assessment
services for state officials, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Guard, and
state and county emergency management agencies. CAP volunteers support
flood-relief operations, monitoring water levels, stream flows and flooding
projections. Ground operations include sandbagging, dike patrol, managing
emergency shelters, and staffing disaster-relief hotlines.
CAP aircrews also provide real-time, slow-scan television images
of flood-ravaged areas. The images can be transmitted directly from an aircraft
to an emergency operations center, which greatly augments a center's ability to
coordinate with other relief agencies. Aircrews also transport medical supplies
to county health departments and fly medical doctors over flooded areas so that
they can assess potential health problems.
Through memorandums of understanding, CAP supports many
humanitarian relief and emergency management agencies. These include the
National Weather Service, American Red Cross, Federal Aviation Administration,
U.S. Forest Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration, and the Salvation Army. These agreements outline
services each agency may provide to the other in times of disaster or other
humanitarian crises. CAP is also part of the FAA's SARDA (state and regional
disaster airlift) program. SARDA organizes private industry, government, and the
general aviation community to provide emergency evacuation of communities.
Civil Air Patrol provides its immense infrastructure to support
the federal and state war on drugs. CAP provides transportation, communications,
reconnaissance, and eradication support for the Department of Defense, Drug
Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Forest Service, and state
and local law enforcement agencies. CAP has been tasked to provide
rapid-response reconnaissance for the Southwest border. CAP supports these
efforts with more than 5,000 volunteers, who go through a security check and
training by either the U.S. Customs Service and/or the Drug Enforcement
Administration. Each year, CAP interdiction efforts assist in confiscating or
eradicating billions of dollars worth of illegal drugs. Because highly trained
volunteers provide CAP services, the agency's costs are minimal and the return
to the taxpayer is immense.
Drug Demand Reduction
In addition to its drug interdiction efforts, Civil Air Patrol
is involved in an education program to encourage America's youth to remain drug
free. The program, led by volunteers, is cost effective, placing the limited
funds CAP receives for this effort where it will accomplish the greatest good ó
in the local communities. CAP's Drug Demand Reduction program provides
alternatives to drug use through senior leadership, mentoring, training,
alternative activities, and programs to prepare youth for success in life. CAP's
Drug Demand Reduction program is funded by and is in direct support of the U.S.
Air Force Drug Demand Reduction initiatives.