Indiana Wing cadets work to stack sandbags against rising floodwaters in 2008.
Aircrews from multiple CAP wings responded to South Carolina officialsâ€™ request for photographic documentation after record floods drenched most of the state in the fall of 2015.
An unseasonably early blizzard in autumn 2013 left farms and herds of cattle devastated in the western third of the state. Officials called on CAP for aerial photographs of the stormâ€™s impact.
A South Dakota Wing aerial photo graphically captures the devastation wrought by a tornado that smashed into the town of Delmar in May 2015.
Sensor balls like this one, mounted underneath the wing of a CAP Cessna, allow the plane to mimic the profile of unmanned aerial vehicles, enabling Air Force and other military trainees on the ground to train for remotely piloting such aircraft in combat zones overseas.
Training in the field tests CAP members on a number of levels.
An instructor with the Texas Wingâ€™s LoneStar Emergency Services Academy South demonstrates a hand-held direction-finder for a cadet trainee.
Friends and family of a Colorado couple greet the pair as they walk out of Roosevelt National Forest, where they were lost for five days in September 2007 until a Colorado Wing aircrew spotted them.
Providing water and other critical supplies is one of many missions CAP members volunteer for during and after disasters.
A New York Wing aircrew encountered this scene of devastation while flying almost directly over the World Trade Center site the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The CAP Cessna 172 was one of the few aircraft allowed to fly that day in the U.S.
A West Virginia Wing ground team member participates in the rescue of all 17 service members aboard a U.S. Navy MH-60S Knighthawk that crashed into a remote snow-covered mountainside in February 2010.
Coastal Patrol Base No. 17 members, based at Riverhead in Long Island, New York, drill by the base hangar circa 1942-1943.
Members of Tow Target Unit No. 21 gather for a photo in 1944 at Monogram Field in Driver, Virginia.
A plane in CAPâ€™s Southern Liaison Patrol flies over the Mexican border circa 1943-1944, on guard for suspicious activity.
Wyoming Wing cadets board a helicopter for an orientation ride during wing encampment.
A Kentucky Wing member helps gather emergency food boxes for distribution to victims of severe flash flooding in 1980.
CAP members make the STEM subjects â€“ science, technology, engineering and math â€“ engaging and fun for schoolchildren and their teachers through the ACE (Aerospace Connections in Education) program.
A ride in the backseat of a CAP Cessna is one of many highlights for young participants in the ACE (Aerospace Connections in Education) program.
Cadets at one of CAPâ€™s summer flight academies take in a senior memberâ€™s explanation of some basic aviation principles.
A trained CAP aerial photographer prepares to shoot storm damage below. Aerial photography has become a core mission for CAP, which provides the images to emergency agencies for use in gauging the extent and location of damage and deciding how to respond most effectively and efficiently.
A cadet squares away for an orientation flight in an Air Force aircraft.
Cadet Jim Godar takes detailed notes on damage during a house-to-house evaluation after tornadoes swept through Springfield, Missouri, in March 2008.
Training obstacle courses challenge CAP cadets to be the best they can be.
Cadets retire for the evening after a full day of ground crew training.
Cadets at CAPâ€™s National Emergency Services Academy, held every summer at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, hone their map-reading skills.
An Arizona Wing cadet concentrates on the written exam portion of CAPâ€™s National Cadet Competition.
A CAP Cessna 172 heads toward its aircrewâ€™s next mission.
CAPâ€™s fleet of Cessnas, 550 planes strong, is the worldâ€™s largest fleet of single-engine aircraft.
Former U.S. Rep. Lester Wolff, a pioneering member of the New York Wing, accepts CAPâ€™s Congressional Gold Medal for its World War II service from Rep. John Boehner of Missouri, then speaker of the House, in a presentation ceremony at the Capitol on Dec. 10, 2014. To Wolffâ€™s left is Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez, CAP national commander. To Boehnerâ€™s right are Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Senate majority leader; Rep. Mitch McCaul of Texas, who helped shepherd the medal legislation through the House; Sen. Nancy Pelosi, Senate minority leader; and Rep. Harry Reid, House minority leader.
Along with intensive classroom sessions, Cadet Officer School allows participants to apply their practical problem-solving skills in the outdoor â€œProject Xâ€ challenge.
Cadet Officer School, held every summer at CAP National Headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, provides top-level training in leadership, problem-solving, group dynamics and related fields for the cream of the organizationâ€™s cadet crop
Members of the Florida Wing cadet team tackle cyber security challenges during the Air Force Associationâ€™s CyberPatriot IV in 2011. The Florida cadets captured the national title, marking a first for a CAP team â€“ a feat matched the following year by cadets from the Colorado Springs Cadet Squadron and in 2014 by the California Wing entry in the first middle school competition.
U.S. Air Force Col. Eric Boe, a NASA astronaut who piloted Space Shuttle Endeavour in November 2008 and Space Shuttle Discovery in February-March 2011, traces his lifelong love for aviation to his days as a Georgia Wing cadet in the early 1980s. Boe received CAPâ€™s top cadet honor, the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award, in July 1983. He still serves as a CAP lieutenant colonel today.
Civil Air Patrol members apply online expertise to search and rescue and other missions they conduct for the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, complementing the remote cyber-contributions of the organizationâ€™s National Cell Phone Forensics and National Radar Analysis teams.
CAPâ€™s National Cell Phone Forensics Team uses cutting-edge technology to take a lead role in searches for missing aircraft, vehicles and individuals by analyzing cellular signals from phones carried by the lost. The cell phone team generated this Google Earth graphic, guiding ground teams to the starting point in the search for a 1942 Piper two-seater eventually found submerged in the Chattahoochee River in Georgia, near the Alabama state line, in the fall of 2015. The downed planeâ€™s location was added later.
CAP Sundown Patrols, like this one flown by the Georgia Wing, help local and state officials monitor activity on bodies of water.
A Maryland Wing cadet awaits a tow plane to lift his glider aloft.
A cadet experiences the thrill of nonpowered flight during a CAP summer glider academy.
CAP ground teams train rigorously to ensure their proficiency in searching for the lost and carrying out other earthbound missions.
Texas Wing members search for an emergency locator transmitter single amidst the ruins of Scholes International Airport in Galveston after Hurricane Ike ravaged the area in September 2008.
Along with powered and nonpowered planes, CAP members can enjoy another form of flight â€“ lighter-than-air balloons.
CAP planes piloted by highly trained members regularly portray intruders in protected air space, giving Air Force fighter pilots a chance to hone their skills in detecting and coping with potential threats to national security in sensitive areas like Washington, D.C., and in the skies over high-profile events like the Super Bowl.
Kentucky Wing color guard cadets march in a Veterans Day procession.
Minnesota Wing members help flooding victims out of a boat on the swollen Root River near Houston in early 2008.
A CAP member captures images of the destruction wrought by the tornado that shattered Moore, Oklahoma, in May 2013. CAP photographers documented the devastation on the ground for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other emergency responders.
A Missouri Wing instructor shows a prospective recruit the interior workings of a plane at the wingâ€™s STEM (science, technology, electronics and math) Academy.
A CAP aerial photographer consults his pilotâ€™s map before a flight to capture the impact of Midwest flooding in 2010.
Nebraska Wing members pay their respects as they lay wreaths in Soldiers Circle at Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln as part of Wreaths Across America observances across the nation and overseas. Every December, members at all levels -- from national leadership to new cadets -- turn out to honor the nationâ€™s fallen in ceremonies at gravestones, memorials and monuments in settings ranging from Arlington National Cemetery to local parks.
U.S. Air Force Col. Nicole Malachowski, the first female to fly for the Air Force Thunderbirds aerial acrobatics team, was introduced to flying as a cadet in the California and Nevada wings.
Cadet Denise Bazemore of the Texas Wing concentrates on the controls during an orientation flight.
An Alabama Wing photo shows a triple boom line protecting the prime property of the Grand Hotel Marriott Point in Clear Point, where Mobile Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico. CAPâ€™s role in the response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill included documenting the integrity of the booms along the coastline line. The oil spill repose eventually led to CAPâ€™s largest mission since World War II, with aircrews daily flying about 700 miles of coastline from Louisiana to Florida taking digital images of the affected areas on the coast.
Cadets in the Florida Wingâ€™s Ormond Beach Composite Squadron prepare their rockets for launch during a model rocketry event held for the local community. The cadets used a CAP-provided Rocketry STEM Kit.
Experienced pilots like the Virginia Wingâ€™s Maj. Julius Garrett willingly provide their aviation expertise to fellow CAP members and the public
Michigan Wing cadets salute in formation during wing encampment as part of their training in military customs and courtesies.