By C/LtCol Meghan Parsons
Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. – The Official Auxiliary of the Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol has been performing missions for the Air Force for over 70 years. It was officially announced today at the National Conference in Florida that the Civil Air Patrol has been added to the definition of Total Force Support in Air Force Doctrine, and members, both Senior and Cadet, will now be known as Airman.
"I was really excited when I received an email earlier this week, and it had to do with Air Force Doctrine Volume Two which has to do with Leadership. It defines the term Total Force." Brigadier General Paul Guemmer, the Commander of the Jeannie M. Holm Center said as he delivered a message on behalf of Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Mark Welsh. "There has been an addition to the definition that was signed earlier this week. It now includes the sentence 'In addition, the Total Force includes the Civil Air Patrol, as the Official Air Force Auxiliary.'"
The Total Force includes Active Duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserves, and now, Civil Air Patrol. Members within the Civil Air Patrol now can be addressed as Airmen under this new definition and will no longer be referred to simply as members of the program. "Greater awareness of Civil Air Patrol from our Total Force support partners also ushers in a new era of understanding and presents an untold opportunity as it looks to its missions for tomorrow." Maj. Gen. Joe Vasquez, CAP National Commander explained in a video recently released.
"As the Official Auxiliary of the United States Air Force, Civil Air Patrol has been acting as a member of the Total Force since 2004 when all of our Air Force Missions and Taskings came under the supervision of the First Air Force." Maj. Gen. Joe Vasquez, explained. "The Air Force Senior Leadership has long considered Civil Air Patrol to be part of the Air Force Family relying on us to support Homeland Security missions. I congratulate the 57,000 volunteers, now called Airmen, of the United States Air Force Auxiliary for achieving this important National Recognition of their outstanding service to our nation."
In addition, it was announced that as a part of the Air Force's Total Force of Active Duty, Reserves, Air National Guard and now, Auxiliary, members of the Civil Air Patrol will be referred to as Airmen, rather than simply Members or Volunteers.
The Arizona Wing of the Civil Air Patrol actively participates in all three of Civil Air Patrol's Congressionally mandated missions of Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services.
Cadet units located across the state actively present The Colors at local civic events and learn about leadership and aerospace at local meetings. These young men and women aged 12-21 serve a vital role throughout Civil Air Patrol missions, serving as instructors to junior cadets while developing their own leadership skills and participating in Arizona's Award Winning Ground Team and at local Mission Bases during local training and Air Force Assigned Missions.
The support from the Senior Members make Emergency Services possible, and they serve as mentors to fellow members and cadets. Members are actively trained in aerial search and rescue techniques including mission photography and scanner techniques. Arizona Wing is actively involved in Civil Air Patrol's Cell Phone Forensics and Radar Analysis teams.
Civil Air Patrol also has participated in Exercise Angel Thunder, the largest and most realistic joint service, NATO multinational, interagency combat search and rescue exercise designed to provide training for personnel recovery assets using a variety of scenarios to simulate deployment conditions and contingencies. CAP has participated since 2003, and the Arizona Wing annually stands up mission bases across Arizona and the Wing Ground Team is available for the exercise.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 58,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force Auxiliary role, performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 70 lives annually. Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. Performing missions for America for the past 73 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit http://www.capvolunteernow.com/for more information.