by Tech. Sgt. Glenn Whitt
217th Air Operations Group from an online posting
One of the better kept secrets of the Air Force is its official auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol. Founded on December 1, 1941 by citizens committed to using civilian aviation resources to help bolster the nation’s defense, the Civil Air Patrol was established as a federally chartered nonprofit organization by President Harry Truman on July 1, 1946. Congress passed a law on May 26, 1948 designating Civil Air Patrol (CAP) as the Air Force Auxiliary, giving the CAP three primary missions – emergency services, cadet programs and aerospace education.
Today, CAP still serves as the Air Force Auxiliary in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. There are 1,400 squadrons and approximately 56,000 volunteer youth and adults nationwide. CAP operates one of the largest fleets of single-engine piston aircraft in the world, with 550 currently in the fleet. Its squadrons fly a total of approximately 100,000 hours annually. CAP also has ground emergency services with a fleet of more than 1,000 vehicles, as well as a well-established communication network.
Two CAP units are housed at the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base. The Kellogg Field Senior Squadron is an all-adult unit focusing on search and rescue while supporting all other missions of CAP. The squadron has a Cessna 182T glass cockpit aircraft housed in the T-hangers here in Battle Creek. The Battle Creek Cadet Squadron also meets on the base (in the Security Building) every Tuesday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The cadet squadron is made up of youth aged 12 to 18 years of age, as well as adult senior members to support their operations. These cadets train in search and rescue, learn leadership skills and study aerospace related topics. Cadets are eligible for five powered orientation flights and five glider flights provided by CAP. Other areas that cadets work on are physical fitness, military customs and courtesies and community service.
Prospective cadets interested in the Battle Creek Cadet Squadron and their parents are encouraged to contact the unit commander, Capt. Terry Travis, at 269-719-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the program and its benefits. Both units are accepting applications for new members.