The Liputs — Sloane, Andrew Sr. and Andrew Jr. — represent three generations of service in CAP.
Andrew Liput Sr. and his granddaughter, Cadet Staff Sgt. Sloane Liput, pose with a photo of Liput’s World War II Avenger aircraft and the pilot’s wings he was awarded in 1945 after serving in CAP as a subchaser and spotter along the East Coast.
Photo by Capt. Andrew Liput Jr.
The Liput family can trace its CAP roots back to this flight manual, used by Andrew Liput Sr. in high school. Today it is his granddaughter, Sloane, who is in high school and belongs to CAP.
Photo by Capt. Andrew Liput Jr.
When Andrew Liput Sr. joined Civil Air Patrol — founded Dec. 1, 1941, 75 years ago today — during World War II, he viewed it as his way to serve his country.
He didn’t realize it would become a family tradition.
In the beginning
By 1944 Liput, one of 14 children growing up on a farm in Pittson, Pennsylvania, was a senior at Duryea High School with six older brothers in the war. It was unlikely he would be drafted, too, but a teacher suggested joining CAP as a way to help the war effort.
Having flown crop dusting planes since age 13, he found CAP an appealing option, so he took the organization’s ground course at his high school and later was assigned to a squadron in Avoca, Pennsylvania.
Decades later Liput’s son, Andrew Liput Jr., did some research, finding that a naval air station operated in Avoca during World War II and surmising that might have been where his father was stationed.
Liput Sr. told him about flights from Pennsylvania to monitor shipping lanes in the Atlantic. Though he never spotted any U-boats in the waters below, he did acknowledge some exciting trips back to base, trying to make it on low fuel with a torpedo strapped underneath.
The elder Liput flew for CAP in 1944 and 1945, until the war ended. Needing to work to help support his family, he left the CAP ranks. And though he was drafted at the time of the Korean War, he failed the physical.
In the early 1950s, he moved to New Jersey. At first he ran a collision repair shop but was soon hired by General Motors, where he worked for 45 years as a machinist. His son remembered, “He was always very good at mechanics. He could fix and make anything.”
So the CAP legacy lay dormant in the Liput family for several years, even though Liput Jr. logged about 50 hours in a Piper Cherokee as a student pilot during the 1990s.
Love of flying and his father’s stories about CAP bubbled to the surface, however, when one of his four daughters expressed an interest in kicking off a military career by attending one of the country’s military academies.
“I thought joining CAP would allow me to get close to flying again while giving my daughter a firm grounding in military customs, courtesies and discipline,” he said.
Today, both father and daughter are members of the New Jersey’s Wing’s Picatinny Composite Squadron. Liput Jr. holding the rank of captain, serving as the unit’s public affairs officer and deputy commander in addition to acting as the PAO and legal officer for the neighboring Connecticut Wing’s Western Connecticut Group. Daughter Sloane is a cadet staff sergeant.
The CEO of a technology firm based in Parsippany, New Jersey, Liput Jr. has served on many nonprofit boards and has even held local public office. “But volunteering for CAP is different in that it offers hands-on, on-the-ground critical services that can save lives,” he said. “That is humbling but rewarding.”
A family legacy
Describing his father as very private and no longer in good health, Liput Jr. opted for a family celebration rather than a formal ceremony to present his father with a replica of the Congressional Gold Medal presented to CAP in December 2014 for volunteer service during World War II. He has preserved some of his father’s anecdotes about the war in a video.
Granddaughter Sloane is on the other side of the CAP spectrum. “I only recently discovered my grandfather’s war service and have really enjoyed listening to his stories, especially how he received his wings with Civil Air Patrol and how his Army pilot cut his shirttail when he soloed in the fighter plane,” she said.
Her goals include attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and carrying on a family tradition of volunteer service.
Thanks to the stories of CAP service passed down by Liput Sr., CAP remains a common thread uniting members of his family. Involvement in CAP has made possible for the Liputs, what Liput Jr. describes as “an avenue for community service, an amazing father-daughter aerospace experience and a family tradition.”