Civil Air Patrol marks 80th anniversary

Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.
The Civil Air Patrol is marking its 80th anniversary Wednesday.(Marresa Burke)
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 4:40 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Civil Air Patrol is marking its 80th anniversary Wednesday.

Headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, the organization was founded on Dec. 1, 1941, by a group of aviation enthusiasts and private pilots who wanted to donate their time and aircraft to protect the nation’s coastlines during World War II and to perform other critical civil defense missions.

CAP is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and operates a fleet of 560 single-engine Cessna aircraft and more than 2,100 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or sUAS. The organization performs about 90% of all search and rescue operations in the United States, as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.

CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 130 lives during the past fiscal year. Its 56,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.

As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education resources. Members also serve as mentors to more than 22,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.

In the Montgomery area, a local CAP squadron is planning to join in a nationwide observance of the anniversary Wednesday evening.

Among the events scheduled for Civil Air Patrol Week, which runs between Nov. 28-Dec. 4, are the anniversary celebration and an open house and change of command ceremony that will be at Crowder Training Facility, located at the Wetumpka Municipal Airport Wednesday at at 6:30 p.m.

Group commander Lt. Col. Harold Coghlan says the Headquarters South Group, Coosa River Flight, and Maxwell Composite Squadron of Alabama Wing will join other CAP units across the nation Wednesday evening to observe the organization’s anniversary.

According to South Group commander, Lt Col Harold Coghlan and Lt Col Frank Jirik, Coosa River Flight commander, Autauga, Montgomery and Elmore county communities are welcome to attend and learn more about CAP, or by visiting

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