Civil Air Patrol was founded on December 1, 1941, to mobilize the nation's civilian aviation resources for national defense service. Under the jurisdiction of the Army Air Forces, CAP pilots flew more than one-half million hours, were credited with sinking two enemy submarines and rescued hundreds of crash survivors during World War II. New Jersey is the birthplace of Civil Air Patrol, as the organization's first missions were launch from "Coastal Patrol Base #1," located at Bader Field, just outside of Atlantic City, NJ.
After the war, on July 1, 1946, President Harry Truman established CAP as a federally chartered benevolent civilian corporation, and Congress passed Public Law 557 on May 26, 1948. CAP was charged with three primary missions – aerospace education, cadet programs and emergency services. With the passage of Public Law 106-398 in October 2000, Congress provided that "The Civil Air Patrol is a volunteer civilian auxiliary of the Air Force when the services of the Civil Air Patrol are used by any department or agency in any branch of the federal government."
As a Total Force partner and Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, Civil Air Patrol is there to search for and find the lost, provide comfort in times of disaster and work to keep the homeland safe. Its 66,000 members selflessly devote their time, energy and expertise toward the well-being of their communities, while also promoting aviation and related fields through aerospace and STEM education and helping shape future leaders through CAP’s cadet program.