Civil Air Patrol is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit volunteer organization. Its National Capital Wing conducts important missions in emergency services and civil support, aerospace education, and cadet programs in the Washington, D.C., area.
Civil Air Patrol was founded in December 1941, one week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, by more than 150,000 citizens who were concerned about the defense of America‘s coastline.
Under the jurisdiction of the Army Air Forces, CAP pilots flew more than one-half million hours, were credited with sinking two enemy submarines and rescued hundreds of crash survivors during World War II.
On July 1, 1946, President Harry Truman established CAP as a federally chartered benevolent civilian corporation, and Congress passed Public Law 557 on May 26, 1948. CAP was charged with three primary missions – aerospace education, cadet programs and emergency services.
With the passage of Public Law 106-398 in October 2000, Congress provided that "The Civil Air Patrol is a volunteer civilian auxiliary of the Air Force when the services of the Civil Air Patrol are used by any department or agency in any branch of the federal government."