MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – More than 600 Civil Air Patrol members are taking flight to Louisville, Ky., this month as the all-volunteer U.S. Air Force Auxiliary begins its observance of 70 years of service to America.
CAP officially celebrates its 70th anniversary on Dec. 1 of this year, but will get started early at the 2011 Annual Conference and National Board meeting Aug. 17-20 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. The theme of the conference is “Civil Air Patrol: Celebrating 70 Years of Service.”
“This conference will celebrate our members’ dedicated service to America and their extraordinary achievements above and beyond the call of duty,” said CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Amy S. Courter. “We will honor members with much-deserved awards for their service and will participate with them in training seminars customized to fulfill their unique professional development needs in CAP.”
Its citizen volunteers make CAP one of America’s premier humanitarian service organizations. With a versatile fleet of 550 aircraft, members save lives, find those who are lost, help fellow citizens in times of disaster, work to keep their communities safe, honor the nation’s veterans and prepare its future leaders. The organization also inspires youth to excel through aerospace education and cyber defense competitions.
CAP members attending the 2011 conference will hear from a number of dignitaries, including U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, who represents Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The 3rd District includes CAP’s host city of Louisville. Yarmuth is now in his third term on Capitol Hill, serving on the Committee on Budget, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Ethics.
The keynote speaker for the conference banquet will be the Rev. Jill Robb Paulson, who will share stories about her famous grandfather, Gill Robb Wilson, known as one of the founding fathers of Civil Air Patrol. He also served as CAP’s first executive officer.
During the conference, CAP’s National Board also will elect a new national commander to succeed Courter, CAP’s first female national commander who has served as the organization’s top executive for the past four years.
Other conference highlights include:
• 60-plus training seminars Aug. 19-20. Many of the courses will focus on new CAP technology, such as operation of the auxiliary’s new Geospatial Information Interoperability Exploitation Portable go-kits, which feature self-contained communications equipment and other hardware that allow for real time or near-real time full-motion video, digital imagery and in-flight chat capability. The training seminars will target topics of interest to members, such as chaplain service, cadet programs, finance, disaster relief, homeland security, communications, safety, aerospace education and public affairs.
• An awards ceremony honoring exceptional CAP members and units. It will begin at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 20. Honorees will include the Cadet of the Year and Senior Member of the Year.
• The evening banquet at 7 p.m. Aug. 20. It includes a change of command ceremony for CAP’s new national commander and national vice commander.
The Kentucky Wing, host of this year’s conference, boasts 665 members – 406 adult volunteers and 259 cadets. Col. Robert J. Koob of Fort Mitchell is the wing’s commander.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 113 lives in fiscal year 2010. Its volunteers 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 the more than 26,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. It is a major partner of Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com for more information on CAP.