Behind the Wings

Trace The Civil Air Patrol's incredible history and learn about their mission today.

Show Notes

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a non-profit organization that serves as the civilian auxiliary of the USAF. Its membership includes everyone from younger cadets to their more senior members, totaling more than 56,000 volunteers across the US. The CAP started just 6 days before Pearl Harbor, and they served a unique, and relatively active role, patrolling the Atlantic coast during WWII. Today their mission includes youth mentorship, and aerial assistance with missions like search and rescue, fire monitoring and more.

 In this episode we will dive into the unique history, and the work they are doing today. This one’s going to be cool!

Key Takeaways:
  • The Civil Air Patrol was started by congress on Dec 1, 1941, just 6 days before Pearl Harbor
  • CAP has about 2,000 members in Colorado, and about 60,000 members nationally
  • Its early missions during WWII focused on surveillance, and defense off the Atlantic coast of the US where German U-boats were threatening merchant ships
  • As an auxiliary organization to the US Air Force, CAP is tasked with Air Force-assigned missions from the Air Force rescue coordination center
  • Primary roles today include search and rescue, aerospace education, and its cadet youth mentorship program
  • The CAP supports a variety of medical missions including COVID-19 response, collecting blood donations, and delivering critical medical supplies
  • Cadets, aged 12-21, learn both leadership and aerospace skills
  • CAP completes more than 100 search and rescue saves each year in collaboration with agencies including the US Forest Service
  • CAP has identified cyber security as a topic important to the future
Support Behind the Wings by making a financial contribution to Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum’s Annual Fund! (


What is Behind the Wings?

Wings Over the Rockies has a new podcast! Based on our hit YouTube and PBS series of the same name, the Behind the Wings podcast will cover everything from aviation history to the future of space exploration with thought leaders and experts in the industry. This one's going to be cool!