The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a resolution saluting Civil Air Patrol for its 7½ decades of supporting the country’s national defense and homeland security, Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., announced today — the eve of the anniversary of the organization's founding Dec. 1, 1941.
Senators approved Senate Resolution 623 on Tuesday. A similar measure, House Resolution 925, is pending in the House of Representatives.
“Since its founding 75 years ago, the Civil Air Patrol has been integral to America’s national security. Two coastal patrol bases located in Maine contributed to our nation’s defense during World War II, and today, hundreds of Civil Air Patrol members in Maine serve in a variety of roles, from search and rescue to disaster relief," Collins said.
"Over the past 75 years, thousands of patriotic volunteers have helped keep our country safe. Our resolution honors the 75th anniversary of the Civil Air Patrol and commends these individuals for their dedication to our nation,” she said.
“The achievements of the Civil Air Patrol are important to this country and our history as Americans,” said Mikulski, whose staff includes Barbara O’Malley, one of two CAP World War II members being saluted during the organization’s 75th Anniversary Gala at the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.
O’Malley, mother of former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, and retired U.S. Army Gen. Julius Becton Jr. will be presented with replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal that CAP received Dec. 10, 2014, for its volunteer wartime service. O’Malley served in the Ohio Wing from 1943-1945, attaining the rank of lieutenant, while Becton was a CAP cadet in the Pennsylvania Wing as a teenager
CAP was founded six days before Pearl Harbor. Members flew coastal patrols to guard domestic shipping, especially oil tankers, from German U-boat attacks and also conducted search and rescue missions, courier and cargo services, border patrols, cadet training and air defense and pilot training operations. It’s estimated that CAP pilots flew 24 million miles over 18 months and reported more than 170 possible submarines sightings.
The companion House resolution was introduced earlier this month by Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., along with Reps. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., Steve Israel, D-N.Y., and Ron Kind, D-Wis.,
The House and Senate resolutions recognize CAP members who served prominently during World War II, engaging in coastal patrols for enemy vessels, search and rescue missions, courier and cargo services and air defense and pilot training operations. It’s estimated that CAP pilots flew 24 million miles over 18 months and reported more than 170 possible submarines sightings.
“On Dec. 1 Civil Air Patrol celebrates 75 years of volunteer service to America,” CAP’s national commander, Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez, said after the Senate and House resolutions were introduced. “From hunting submarines during World War II to conducting emergency services, youth programs and STEM education today, CAP members reflect the best this nation has to offer.
“CAP thanks Rep. Hanna, Sen. Collins and all House and Senate resolution co-sponsors for their support.”
The text of the Senate resolution:
Title: Recognizing the vital role the Civil Air Patrol has played, and continues to play, in supporting the homeland security and national defense of the United States.
Whereas, on December 1, 1941, a new civilian defense organization known as the Civil Air Patrol was founded, which was to rely on volunteer civilian aviators who would fly in support of the homeland security of the United States;
Whereas with the attack on Pearl Harbor 6 days later and the entry of the United States into World War II, the Civil Air Patrol would find itself serving the United States in ways that were not imagined at the time of the conception of the Civil Air Patrol;
Whereas the Civil Air Patrol initially engaged in coastal patrol operations that were considered critical to the United States war effort, piloting aircraft that in total flew 24,000,000 miles over 18 months, reporting 173 possible enemy submarines, and dropping 82 bombs or depth charges;
Whereas Civil Air Patrol civilian volunteers flew privately owned light aircraft armed with military bombs at the expense of the volunteers, often at low altitude, in bad weather, and up to 60 miles from shore;
Whereas Civil Air Patrol civilian volunteers undertook other vital World War II missions nationwide, which included border patrols, search and rescue operations, courier and cargo services, and air defense and pilot training;
Whereas, unlike many organizations at the time, the Civil Air Patrol welcomed women into its ranks to fly for the Civil Air Patrol, with approximately one half of the women later joining the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (commonly known as “WASP”) after having first flown with the Civil Air Patrol;
Whereas the Civil Air Patrol was open to all pilots interested in flying for the Civil Air Patrol, which allowed African-Americans an opportunity to serve and fly for the United States well before the adoption of the integrated Armed Forces;
Whereas, in 2016, the Civil Air Patrol continues its critical mission in service to the United States, now as a vital partner for the Air Force, serving as the auxiliary force, and, since 2015, as an official component of the total force;
Whereas the Civil Air Patrol remains one of the premier inland search and rescue organizations of the United States, and was credited with saving the lives of 69 individuals through search and rescue operations in 2015;
Whereas the Civil Air Patrol continues to fulfill many other vital missions, including helping train interceptor pilots and unmanned aerial vehicle operators under realistic conditions, aerial observation missions, counterdrug operations, disaster relief support, live organ transport, aerospace education, cadet programs, and Reserve Officer Training Corps orientation flights;
Whereas the continued work of the all-volunteer force of the Civil Air Patrol offers vital support to homeland security and defense missions; and
Whereas the weekly youth and aerospace education programs of the Civil Air Patrol continue to introduce young students to the field of aviation and instill within the students the values of national service and personal responsibility: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate —
(1) applauds the Civil Air Patrol for 75 years of continuous service in times of peace and war;
(2) recognizes the critical emergency services, training support, and mission capabilities that the Civil Air Patrol offers State and national homeland security agencies as well as the United States Armed Forces; and
(3) commends the more than 23,500 youth and 32,500 adult volunteers of the Civil Air Patrol, who hail from a range of professions and across the United States, and dedicate their time to the service of their communities and the United States.