By Katie Saiz
During the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, air travel was virtually shut down across
The Civil Air Patrol was the only organization other than the military that was permitted in the air, documenting the tragedy with memorable, vital aerial photos.
But few know what the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is, much less what they do. Even fewer know the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force has located its new Texas Wing headquarters in
Outgrowing their site in
After several months of remodeling and renovation, the old armory shines with new possibilities. When in education mode, it offers five classrooms and a large dining area for training sessions for cadets and adult volunteers. The Texas CAP eventually plans to move their powered flight academy and glider academies to this location as well, according to Colonel Brooks Cima, the Texas Wing Commander. “When we are in the operational mode, the building has all of the capabilities of an Emergency Operations center – multiple sources of phone service, radio communications equipment, multiple large screen monitors for sortie tracking, weather and news, and both wired and wireless internet,” Cima said.
Although many people are unaware of what the CAP is about and why they were formed, they are still a very important organization. Founded just a week prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II, the CAP was an outlet for civilians to help
Today, CAP continues to focus on three primary mission areas: aerospace education, cadet programs and emergency services.
Because the U.S. Air Force oversees the CAP, it is responsible for a portion of the organization's funding. The Air Force buys aircraft and reimburses the CAP for fuel costs, in addition to a few other expenses. But CAP members pay for their own uniforms and specialty equipment and donate time spent documenting thousands of crashes and other incidents, according to Montalvo. In addition to the cooperation they receive from the U.S. Air Force, the CAP is always in need of more donations and/or volunteers to help the organization prosper.
With more than 60,000 volunteers nationwide and 3,600 volunteers in
Since the move to
CAP leaders are confident the public will understand exactly what the CAP does and how it is vital to our lives. Montalvo said of the CAP, “Every day, volunteers are trying to live up to our missions. There is a lot of training and time away from families to make sure we are ready when the community calls us.”
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Katie Saiz is journalism major at