MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. – A bill to honor Civil Air Patrol’s World War II veterans with a Congressional Gold Medal passed the U.S. Senate Monday night under unanimous consent after gaining the necessary co-sponsors needed for consideration.
The bill, S. 309, recognizes the contributions of CAP’s pilots and other members who served during the war. Predating the U.S. Air Force, CAP’s services included flying combat and humanitarian missions under hazardous conditions.
Maj. Gen. Chuck Carr, CAP’s national commander, credited members' and other supporters' hard work and expressed his thanks not only to leaders throughout the organization but also to the 82 senators -- 15 more than the minimum needed -- who have signed on as co-sponsors for S. 309.
Carr, reports to the CAP Board of Governors, which consists of 11 members representing the organization, the U.S. Air Force and private industry.
“As the long-standing commander of CAP’s Congressional Squadron in Washington, D.C., I have long recognized the contributions of CAP to our nation, particularly in its time of greatest peril during World War II. That is why I sponsored the Congressional Gold Medal bill in the Senate,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. “I want to publically thank my colleagues in the Senate who joined me as supporters of this legislation as co-sponsors of S. 309.”
An identical bill, H.R. 755, is under consideration in the U.S. House, where it now has 159 co-sponsors. The measure needs a total of 290 to be acted on in the House Financial Services Committee, where it has been assigned. CAP hopes to gain the additional co-sponsors over the next several months.
“I am pleased to see the progress in the Senate in support of the Congressional Gold Medal for CAP’s World War II members, and I look forward to completion of the process in the House with unanimous approval of H.R. 755,” said U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. “With only a handful of those who served still alive, the time is now to honor these American war heroes, 64 of whom gave the ultimate sacrifice with their lives to help America prevail in the war effort.”
"All of CAP’s more than 61,000 members can take pride in the national spotlight that will shine on the organization when the Congressional Gold Medal is awarded,” said Carr. “This prestigious honor not only recognizes patriotic civilians who risked their lives through heroic contributions to protecting the home front during World War II, but also CAP’s unpaid professionals' exceptional selfless service to their communities that continues each and every day.
"The House bill needs additional co-sponsors. Veterans and others with an interest in H.R. 755 are encouraged to contact their House representatives to obtain support. You are encouraged to contact CAP to determine if your veteran family members qualify for this recognition.”
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. 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 is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 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 26,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 71 years. CAP also participates in 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.