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Our Mission

What We Do

Civil Air Patrol is America’s premier public service organization for carrying out emergency services and disaster relief missions nationwide. As the auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, CAP’s vigilant citizen volunteers are there to search for and find the lost, provide comfort in times of disaster and work to keep the homeland safe. Its 60,000 members selflessly devote their time, energy and expertise toward the well-being of their communities, while also promoting aviation and related fields through aerospace education and helping shape future leaders through CAP’s cadet program.

We are...“Supporting America's communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development, and promotion of air, space and cyber power.”

Civil Air Patrol's Three Primary Missions:


Civil Air Patrol’s awarding-winning aerospace education program promotes aerospace, aviation and STEM-related careers with engaging, standards-based, hands-on curriculum and activities. CAP educational programs help American citizens to meet the challenges of a sophisticated aerospace society and understand its related issues. 


Always prepared, both in the air and on the ground, members of the Civil Air Patrol perform emergency services for state and local agencies as well as the federal government as the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and for states/local communities as a nonprofit organization. Ever vigilant, these true patriots make a difference in their communities, not only to assist in times of disaster but also to search for the lost and protect the homeland. 

CAP flies, on average, 90% of all federal inland search and rescue (SAR) missions, as directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC), 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern) located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida and coordinated through CAP National Operations Center at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, saving an average of 71 lives per year. In addition to the SAR mission, CAP performs aerial reconnaissance for homeland security; provides disaster-relief support to local, state, and national agencies; transports time-sensitive medical materials (blood products and body tissues/organs when commercial resources are unavailable); provides air intercept training; impact assessment; light transport; communications support; and low-level route surveys for the Air Force.


Civil Air Patrol’s cadet program transforms youth, ages 12 to 21, into dynamic Americans and aerospace leaders through a curriculum that focuses on leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character. As cadets participate in these four elements, they advance through a series of achievements, earning honors and increased responsibilities along the way. 

Thousands of young people have their first orientation flights through the cadet program, and hundreds have soloed in gliders and powered aircraft. Ten of thousands have attended CAP encampments throughout the nation. They may learn techniques for search and rescue and disaster relief. They may sample possible career choices by studying with a university engineering or technology department. They may learn teamwork and leadership through competitions in problem-solving and physical endurance.

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