Who We Are
The Civil Air Patrol is a congressionally chartered, federally supported non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF). CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and occupations. It performs three congressionally assigned key missions: emergency services, which includes search and rescue (by air and ground) and disaster relief operations; aerospace education for youth and the general public; and cadet programs for teenage youth. Membership in the organization consists of cadets ranging from 12 to just under 21 years of age, and senior members 18 years of age and up.
These two groups each have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of pursuits: the cadet program contributes to the development of the former group with a structured syllabus and an organization based upon the United States Air Force ranks, while the older members serve as instructors, supervisors, and operators. All members wear uniforms while performing their duties.
Nationwide, CAP is a major operator of single-engine general aviation aircraft, used in the execution of its various missions, including orientation flights for cadets and the provision of significant emergency services capabilities. Because of these extensive flying opportunities, many CAP members become licensed pilots. The hierarchical and military auxiliary organization is headed by the National Headquarters (with authority over the national organization) followed by eight regional commands and 52 wings (each of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico). Each wing supervises the individual groups and squadrons that comprise the basic operational unit of the organization. Mountain Lakes AL-135 is a Composite Squadron which consists of Senior and Cadet members.