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Growing from its World War II experience, the Civil Air Patrol has continued to save lives and alleviate human suffering through a myriad of emergency-services and operational missions.



Perhaps best known for its search-and-rescue efforts, CAP flies more than 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, FL. Outside the continental United States, CAP supports the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Just how effective are the CAP missions? Approximately 100 lives are saved each year by CAP members.


It’s hardly surprising that CAP performs several missions in direct support of the US Air Force. Specifically, CAP conducts light transport, communications support, and low-altitude route surveys. CAP also provides orientation flights for AFROTC cadets. Joint U.S. Air Force and CAP search-and-rescue exercises provide realistic training for missions. CAP joined the “war on drugs” in 1986 when, pursuant to congressional authorization, CAP signed an agreement with the US Air Force and U.S. Customs Service offering CAP resources to help stem the flow of drugs into and within the United States.


CAP began its support of the government’s drug interdiction efforts in 1985 with the U.S. Customs Service. In 1986, Congress authorized CAP to support law enforcement in the government’s war on drugs. Many federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies routinely call on CAP for support.

CAP does not directly participate in law enforcement activities and its members have no law enforcement authority.


Another important service CAP performs is disaster-relief operations. CAP provides air and ground transportation and an extensive communications network. Volunteer members fly disaster-relief officials to remote locations and provide manpower and leadership to local, state and national disaster-relief organizations. CAP has formal agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies including:


CAP flies humanitarian missions, usually in support of the Red Cross – transporting time-sensitive medical materials including blood and human tissue, in situations where other means of transportation are not available.

This page is for informational purposes only. For official information and statements see the Civil Air Patrol website.

The Civil Air Patrol National Operations Center (NOC) offers this document, which contains additional information about Emergency Services.