About Civil Air Patrol

The Lewis County Composite Squadron is the local branch of the United States Air Force Auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol.

The CAP is chartered with three missions: cadet programs, aerospace education and emergency services.

Cadet Programs: The purpose of the Cadet Program is to inspire the country's youth to become responsible leaders and good citizens through their interest in aerospace. It is open to U.S. citizens and legal residents of the United States, its territories and possessions. Candidates for the program must be 12 to 21 years of age, or have satisfactorily completed the fifth grade. Through studies and other activities, cadets progress through achievements that include special activities, aerospace education, leadership programs, moral leadership and physical fitness. As cadets progress they earn increased rank, awards and/or certificates. Cadets may become eligible for CAP national or international special activities and compete for academic and flying scholarships. Upon completion of their initial training phase, cadets receive the Gen Billy Mitchell Award, which entitles them to enter the Air Force as an Airman First Class, should the cadet choose to enlist.

Aerospace Education: The Civil Air Patrol's aerospace education programs provide information about aviation and space activities to both its members and to the educational community. Each year it supports about 200 aerospace education workshops for teachers at approximately 100 colleges and universities around the country, preparing an estimated 5,000 teachers to teach aerospace-related subjects in their classrooms. The National Congress on Aviation and Space Education, an annual national convention for aerospace teachers is one of CAP's major contributions to the nation's aerospace education. The organization also develops curriculum and publishes aerospace educational materials for use in the nation's schools.

Emergency Services: CAP's emergency services include air and ground search and rescue, disaster relief and civil defense for natural disasters. Its members fly approximately 85 percent of the search and rescue mission hours directed by the Air Force Rescue and Coordination Center at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Civil Air Patrol was credited with saving 54 lives in 2011 alone. On Nov. 14 1985, CAP agreed to assist the U.S. Customs Service in its counter drug efforts by flying air reconnaissance missions along U.S. boundaries. In early 1989, similar agreements were made with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Forest Service. CAP participation only involves reconnaissance, transportation and communications support. Members do not carry firearms, make arrests or give chase to suspected drug traffickers. In 2011, CAP aircrews flew more than 250 missions leading to 212 arrests in support of the nation's war against drugs.