After more than a decade, Civil Air Patrol has returned to Hood River. The all-volunteer auxiliary of the US Air Force has started a new squadron to advance its missions of aerospace education, emergency services, and cadet programs. As a hotbed of aviation technology and education, Hood River is a natural fit for CAP. Aviation professionals and enthusiasts, teachers, and youth can serve their community and nation while exploring exciting aerospace activities with CAP.
CAP’s cadet program is unique among youth organizations in that its cornerstone is aviation. Thousands of young people from 12 years through age 20 are introduced to aviation through CAP. The program allows young people to progress at their own pace through a 16-step program including aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and character development. Cadets compete for academic scholarships to further their studies in fields such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, aerospace medicine, meteorology, and many others. Each year, cadets have the opportunity to participate in special activities at the local, state, regional or national level. Many cadets will have the opportunity to solo fly an airplane for the first time through a flight encampment or academy. Others will enjoy traveling abroad through the International Air Cadet Exchange Program. Still others assist at major air shows throughout the nation.
CAP’s adults, known as Senior Members, serve both in the air and on the ground. CAP owns the largest fleet of single-engine piston aircraft in the nation, and CAP pilots fly reconnaissance missions for homeland security, search and rescue, and disaster relief operations. They sometimes transport medical personnel, supplies, blood and live tissue. In times of disaster, they assess damage and transport emergency personnel from site to site. When not flying traditional emergency missions, cadet orientation pilots fly orientation rides for cadets and teachers.
Though CAP is known for flying, members do much more. CAP members come from all walks of life. Some are doctors, nurses, paramedics, or other medical professionals. Others are lawyers, accountants, teachers, computer programmers, and other business professionals. Just about any career or background can be useful for completing CAP’s missions. CAP ground teams aid in the rescue of survivors and assess damage after disasters. Communications personnel relay critical messages when there is limited telephone support. Administrative staff, financial managers, logistics and supply personnel document missions and get resources to the places they are needed. Senior members also support the cadet program and provide aerospace education both within CAP and to the community at large.