Civil Air Patrol Volunteer Now

CAP Volunteer Submission Guidelines

Mission Statement

As the official publication of the Civil Air Patrol, the Civil Air Patrol Volunteer ensures the organization's missions, goals and programs are understood and fosters support among members and key constituents by providing a medium which communicates major issues, including significant national, region, wing, squadron, unit, group and member accomplishments.

Submission Guidelines

    • Civil Air Patrol Volunteer is published quarterly by the Civil Air Patrol, a private, charitable, benevolent corporation and auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of CAP or the U.S. Air Force. Civil Air Patrol Volunteer welcomes manuscripts and photographs; however, Civil Air Patrol reserves the right to edit or condense materials submitted and to publish articles as content warrants and space permits. Pitching a story idea to CAP National Headquarters Public Affairs before writing is highly recommended. Please send all correspondence to Public Affairs, 105 S. Hansell St., Bldg. 714, Maxwell AFB, AL 36112, call 877-227-9142, ext. 250, or e-mail  
    • Your story ideas can also be submitted online using the form found on Civil Air Patrol's eServices, which is available to CAP members. Once you are logged in and are on the eServices homepage, just click on "VolunteerNow Submission Form" in the top right-hand menu. This submission process ensures that everything Public Affairs needs in order to publish your article is provided, which will ensure that more articles can be published on an ongoing basis. 
    • Civil Air Patrol Volunteer is oriented toward both internal (CAP) and external audiences. For that reason, it uses the Associated Press (AP) style for such things as military abbreviations. The Associated Press style is the standard used for most newspapers and magazines. Official internal CAP communications should continue to use the USAF rank abbreviations found in CAPR 35-5.
    • Keep in mind that you will primarily be interviewing volunteers, most of whom have full-time jobs. Allow plenty of time in advance of deadlines to contact your sources and let the managing editor or anyone in Public Affairs know when you are having trouble. We will be glad to assist you. Call 877-227-9142, ext. 250, or e-mail or
    • With rare exceptions, the text for most stories should be no longer than 1½ pages.
    • All members hold a rank. Be sure to ask this question and include the rank on first reference.
    • Edit copy according to AP Style.
    • The writer is responsible for securing photos to accompany the article. The photos should be 500K minimum, preferably 300 dpi.
    • The story and cutline(s) should be submitted as a single entry. Do not piecemeal submission of the information by sending pictures, cutlines and/or text under separate cover.
    • If a person is mentioned in the story, please provide a photo. Action is preferred but headshots are acceptable.
    • Public Affairs will carefully review all photos for uniform compliance; however, since this is a requirement in order for a photo to be used, writers are encouraged to provide several photos to pick from.

More guidelines and examples

    • Provide the file name in the upper lefthand corner.
      • Example: File name: Tornado Draft 11 
    • Each story must be approved by those interviewed before it is submitted to the managing editor. State who approved the article.
      • Example: Approvals: Rushing, Sean Fagan, Jansen with changes, Fred Herschelman, Emily Taylor, Blake Sasse
    • Provide a suggested headline.
      • Example: Community Service
                      Twisters Unleash Five-State Air and Ground Response

    •   Provide your byline.
      • Example: By Neil Probst
    • Single space the text; indent each paragraph.
      • Example:

               Whether it was hurricanes, fires, or, in March and April, twisters, Civil Air Patrol members once again were in the eye of recovery efforts.
               The two turbulent months sent members out in ground teams and aloft in Cessnas to search for missing residents, take damage assessment photographs and clean up the wreckage left by tornadoes that struck Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee.
               Members also ferried local, state and government officials to show them the full extent of the damage.

    • Use subheads whenever appropriate.
      • ExampleArkansas teams meet tornadoes head-on
                  After twisters ripped apart homes, businesses and schools and overturned tractor trailers, CAP pilots like Arkansas Wing Capt. Joel Buckner witnessed the full-scale devastation.
                  “It wiped out the north half of town,” Buckner observed, while flying Greene County Judge Jesse Dollars over Marmaduke, Ark., where a single tornado caused widespread damage.
                 The wing demonstrated a wide range of capabilities, carrying out damage assessment flights and deactivating emergency locator transmitters (ELTs).
                 When the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management requested the wing’s assistance, a CAP air crew took digital images of damaged areas, then transmitted them by satellite phone to a Web site where emergency managers viewed them on the ground.
                 But before the state fully recovered, more twisters struck in early April.
                 Air crews launched to assist with more digital photography, including images taken by Emily Taylor, public education coordinator with ADEM.
                CAP pilots flew Taylor in a CAP Cessna 182T to take photos of storm damage and to show Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee the department’s Geographic Information Systems capability.
                She appreciated the bird’s-eye view CAP provided.
                “When you are in the air, you get to see the entire picture. You get to see the destruction as a whole. It was extremely beneficial,” she said.
    • Each story should contain quotes from major sources of information.
      • Example:

            The Iowa Wing also combined a ground and air response, taking aerial damage assessment photographs, ferrying two top state officials and assisting the American Red Cross after the wing was activated by the Iowa National Guard.
            Launching at sunrise a day after tornadoes struck in Iowa City in Johnson County and surrounding areas, an air crew took hundreds of photographs of the damage.  The crew sent the photos to the state Emergency Operations Center through a radio link in the aircraft.
            As air crew members landed, they also uploaded photos for other members preparing a presentation at the state Emergency Operations Center briefing, said Maj. Doug Jansen, Iowa Wing director of public affairs.
            “The CAP Photo Interpretation presentation was the highlight of the meeting. All of the state’s agency liaisons saw the devastation in detail with explanations of just what had happened,” Jansen said.
            Meanwhile, Capt. Kim Kirschman, an Iowa Wing pilot, flew Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson and David L. Miller, administrator of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division, on flights between Ankeny and Iowa City.
            As air crews combed the skies above Iowa, ground teams aided relief efforts.
            Both the East Iowa Cadet Squadron, based in Cedar Rapids, and the Fort Zumwalt Falcon Cadet Squadron of Missouri, which is associated with the North Central Region, staffed shelters when the American Red Cross sought assistance.
            The Missouri cadets ran a shelter for tornado evacuees established at the University of Iowa. They worked an entire overnight shift at the school.
            A state away, other Missouri Wing members found themselves in the middle of ground relief efforts that, while tragic, exemplified an outstanding grass roots effort.

            Missouri squadron earns victim’s appreciation
            As the dust and debris began to settle, more than a half-dozen CAP volunteers sifted through wreckage to help residents whose homes were left in heaps of splinters.
            Cadets and senior members wearing green military fatigues and carrying huge, bright yellow garbage bags worked among trash, clothing, downed trees and power poles.
            Their efforts did not go unnoticed, especially by residents in the area, said Cass County Composite Squadron Commander Capt. Tony Belto.
            “We are thankful for the help of friends and the Cass County Civil Air Patrol members,” Belto said, recalling the words of a victim who had lost his home but was thankful to be alive.
            Tornadoes also slammed CAP facilities.
            In fact, Missouri Wing Commander Col. Sean Fagan said the entire roof of the Wing Headquarters at Whiteman Air Force Base was blown off by storms.
            In addition, winds completely destroyed the building that the Gateway Squadron at Spirit of St. Louis Airport was using as a temporary headquarters.
            Luckily, the building was mostly empty, as files and furniture had already been moved to another building at the airport.
            Illinois residents weren’t so lucky when twisters shook their inhabited and furnished homes. But CAP members there also put their personal lives on hold to help.

            Illinois ground crews reach out in community

             When two tornadoes swept through Springfield in March, the American Red Cross asked CAP’s National Operations Center for volunteers to assess the damage to homes.
             Members of the Springfield, Jacksonville, Champaign and Peoria composite squadrons took on a two-day mission led by Mission Commander Lt. Col. J. Fred Herschelman, who also commands the Illinois State Legislative Squadron.
             The CAP volunteers entered neighborhoods and compiled information on types of homes, their addresses and the damage each incurred.
             The Red Cross used the information to determine which families needed additional assistance.
             Three weeks later, when another tornado hit Springfield, the Red Cross again requested CAP’s assistance.
             Cadet Jim Godar of the Springfield Composite Squadron worked among the rubble in his hometown to inspect about 400 homes, along with 2nd Lt. John Grimsley.
             A senior airman in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Godar found it difficult to see much of the town obliterated, but he knew the job had to be done.
            “It felt good to at least do something to help out,” he said.
            His efforts and those of his peers did not go unnoticed.
            “The Red Cross was pleased with our response, and I expect them to call on us a lot more, and not just locally,” Herschelman said.

            Tennessee right on time with twister response
            In Tennessee, where CAP Commander Col. Jim Rushing said the wing already had dozens of members assembled for a homeland security exercise, the timing was perfect.
           “In fact, I was standing there beside our agency liaison in the metro Nashville EOC (Emergency Operations Center) when we received notification we were moving from the exercise into an actual emergency,” he said.
           The wing responded in a plethora of ways.
           Air crews took SDIS (satellite-transmitted digital imaging) photographs approved by Air Force National Security Emergency Preparedness. They also ferried a television station cameraman on a media flight. Meanwhile, ground teams searched for three missing people in Gallatin at the request of the state of Tennessee and drove victims to Red Cross shelters for aid.
           Rushing said although it was difficult to see members of the state suffer, he was extremely proud of the diversity of CAP’s response and the professionalism of wing members.
          “Not only were the members prepared to play a vital role in the homeland security exercise, but they showed their flexibility and ability to quickly switch gears to assist state residents following the tornado strikes,” he said.

    • Credit CAP members who contribute to the story’s development. Provide this information at the end of the story.
      • Example:

            Arkansas Wing Public Affairs Officer Maj. Blake Sasse, Illinois State Legislative Squadron Commander Fred Herschelman, Cass County Composite Squadron Commander Capt. Tony Belto (Missouri), and Iowa Wing Public Affairs Officer Doug Jansen contributed to this story.

    • Provide cutline information for each photo. Cutlines should be written in complete sentences.
      • Example:

              Arkansas Wing members with the 115th Composite Squadron pause for a photograph following an ELT mission precipitated by tornadoes. From left, back row, are ground team members 2nd Lt. Stuart Allen, 1st Lt. Holly Jones, Cadet 2nd Lt. Ian Hassett, Maj. Jeff Smith and pilot Lt. Col. Dave Winslow. Front row, Cadet 2nd Lt. Jacob Allen, left, and Cadet Airman 1st Class Joseph Allen.

    • Provide a photo credit for every photo.
      • Example:

            Photo by Maj. Marina Scott, Arkansas Wing

    • Each cutline should have a file name. This will ease the process of matching art with cutlines. Be sure to save your photos by using the same file name.
      • Example:

            File Name: 13Mar2006 Mission 06M0378.jpg
            Cutline: Emily Taylor of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management took this photograph of a school a tornado ripped apart while aloft in a CAP aircraft.

            File Name: ARKschoolhi.JPG

            Iowa Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson prepares to take off in a CAP Cessna 182 on an aerial survey of the tornado damage in Johnson County. Pilot Capt. Kim Kirschman sits to the left of Pederson.
            Photo by Lt. Col. Nick Critelli, Iowa Wing
            File Name: lt_gov_sally_pedersoncap.jpg

            Photography from an Iowa CAP Cessna 182 illustrates the force of the tornado that hit Iowa City.  Here, a car dealership service department's roof was torn off.
            Photo by Col. Gene Kellogg, Iowa Wing
            File Name: 0img downtown iowa city dealer roof off.jpg

            Missouri Wing Cadets Lucas Eggenberger and Zachery Bartlett sort through debris during cleanup of a home in Bates County, Mo., that was completely destroyed by a tornado.
            Photo by Capt. Tony Belto, Missouri Wing
            File Name: MS DSC01385.JPG

            Missouri Wing members Capt. Tony Belto, left, Cass County Composite Squadron commander; cadets Lucas Eggenberger, Zachery Bartlett, Kyle Cass, Brendon Anderson, and Jared Eggenberger; and Capt. Melinda Berry helped residents clean up tornado damage in Bates County, Mo.
            Photo by Cadet Chester Nicholson, Missouri Wing
            File Name: MS DSC01424.JPG

            Cadet Jim Godar of the Springfield Composite Squadron surveys homes in the aftermath of two tornadoes that recently swept through Springfield.
            Photo by 1st Lt. John Hamm, Illinois Wing
            File Name: godar4.jpg

            The Tennessee Wing was tasked by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (to take aerial photographs, like the one above showing homes destroyed by tornadoes in Gallatin. 1st Lt. Scott Moore, Tennessee Wing
            File Name: DSCN2190.JPG

    • Provide a suggested pull quote whenever the quotes are memorable.
      • Example:

            Pull Quotes
            “When you are in the air, you get to see the entire picture. You get to see the destruction as a whole.  It was extremely beneficial.”
            – Emily Taylor, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management

            "The CAP Photo Interpretation presentation was the highlight of the meeting. All of the state’s agency liaisons saw the devastation in detail with explanations of just what had happened.”
            – Maj. Doug Jansen, Iowa Wing Director of Public Affairs

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