About Civil Air Patrol

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) traces its roots to just prior to the U.S. entry into World War II.
Mr. Gill Robb Wilson, who at the time was head of the New Jersey Division of Aeronautics, collaborated with New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia on the need to organize the nation's civilian pilots in preparation to the threat of war. On December 1, 1941, just six days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, CAP was founded and placed under the direction of the Office of Civilian Defense.

In the years after World War II, the CAP was chartered by Congress as a benevolent nonprofit organization and shortly thereafter became the auxiliary of the United States Air Force. For more details on the history of the Civil Air Patrol, visit history.cap.gov

Today CAP is governed by the Civil Air Patrol Board of Governors. Comprised of representatives from the Air Force, CAP and industry, it provides direction at a national level. The Senior Advisory Group and Command Council advise the National Commander on management and operational matters. The Air Force provides support at many levels for CAP operations.

CAP has three main missions:

  • Emergency Services - This includes air and ground search and rescue, disaster relief, aerial reconnaissance, homeland security, assistance to law enforcement, and Air Force operational support. CAP flies the majority of the Defense Support to Civil Authorities [DSCA] missions tasked by AF North.
  • Cadet Program - Young men and women, ages 12 to 21, participate in the cadet program to develop their leadership skills in preparation to become tomorrow's leaders in an aerospace-oriented world.
  • Aerospace Education - CAP educates the public, as well as CAP cadets and adult members in a variety of topics related to aerospace. CAP also supports school teachers, helping them incorporate aerospace education into their classes.


Locally, Catskill Mountain Group is very active in many areas, including the following:

CMG has fielded the top NYW CyberPatriot team two years in a row.  Our team was NYS Division A Champion in both 2016-17 and 2017-18, out of more than 140 teams in NYS this year.  Our team ranks in the top 7% out of 1,029 teams nationally.

CMG is the only group to achieve double-digit membership growth in both senior and cadet membership categories in 2017.  Individual CMG units have achieved one year growth as high as 30% in senior membership and in cadet membership. CMG also led the wing in terms of highest recruiting by unit, senior member, and cadet.

CMG cadets are enrolled in rigorous academic programs at prestigious universities, including MIT and RIT.

Catskill Mountain Group successfully managed CAP participation at the Stewart Air Show for three consecutive years.  More than 200 members from three wings participated in 2017.  This event has placed CAP in the eye of tens of thousands of members of the public.  Custom, CMG created 2x3 foot posters describing our Emergency Services, Aerospace Ed, and Cadet Programs missions were placed prominently to tell the CAP story to the public, and recruiting postcards were given to attendees to reinforce our message.  CMG has already begun preparations for the 2018 Stewart Airshow, at which the USAF Thunderbirds will be the headline act.

CMG has participated for six consecutive years in the Pine Bush Aviation Academy, an immersive, month long aerospace education program for students of Pine Bush High School.  In each year, the program has operated at an airport [except for 2013, due to school budget limitations], and CAP has flown a new AE Member on a Teacher Orientation Program [TOP] flight.  We have simultaneously provided a program of education on aerospace and flight training topics for the students.  CMG/CC Maj William Martin was asked in 2014 to give the academy commencement address; after speaking about how various aviation and aerospace pioneers made a difference in their world, he encouraged the students to excel, and to make a difference in their own world.

During the past three years, CMG has created a simulated CAP mission at MGJ Orange County Airport, where Pine Bush students staff various positions in operations, communications, on-airport UDF search team, and public affairs.  Students are responsible, under CAP senior member supervision, for planning and conduct of the mission, communication with the aircraft while in flight, briefings the CAP IC, and searching for an ELT practice beacon on the field.  The public affairs team documents all activity using Nikon DSLRs, and provides a full briefing with slide show at day end.  Letters of appreciation are received each year from the faculty supervisor, and from all of the students.  See the press release for more information.

CMG hosted students from several squadrons from SEG and CMG at an SLS at Stewart International Airport in OCT 2017.  NYW/CC Thomas Carello joined CMG instructors to present at the two-day event held at Signature Flight Support FBO.  Student materials were presented in a binder with custom cover, printed in book form with page numbers, headers/footers, and an index, and section divider for lecture/lab materials.  Note-taking and other supplies were included in the student kits to provide an atmosphere more conducive to student learning.  Numerous positive comments were provided by students at class end.  Lunch was provided on-site both days, with bottled water provided throughout the class.  This was done so students could concentrate on class, and not worry about having to obtain lunch within a limited time frame.  It allowed for more discussion between instructors and students, and created a more relaxed environment.  See the press release for more information.

The OCT SLS also saw the first use of a custom, CMG designed automated online registration system.  This system acted as a pilot for one to be made available wing-wide in 2018.  The system provided automated web and e-mail confirmation to students upon registration, as well as notifying the event director of new registrations.  A password protected web portal allowed display of the class roster in real time, and the ability to e-mail any or all students by clicking a link.  Students were offered the ability to be waitlisted once class registration was full.

Two CMG cadets held an outdoor, multi-element ES training course in Jun 2017, training seniors and cadets in elements of GT operations, land navigation, and UDF team operations.  One cadet is a skills evaluator, which allowed SQTR sign off for trainees following proper evaluation of learned tasks.

CMG engages with our communities by participating in Pearl Harbor Remembrance, Four Chaplains Day, Memorial Day, and NYS legislator Senator Carlucci's road clean ups.

CMG cadets have earned top recognition, including National Flight scholarship, CAP college scholarship, and top student at Great Lakes RSC.

CMG seniors and cadets regularly participate in real world incident response, filling roles from Ground Team to Incident Command.  This has included participation in recent missing person searches in the Hudson Valley and upstate New York, and a multi-group, multi-wing search culminating in a distress find of a downed aircraft and pilot no one knew was missing.