About the Civil Air Patrol

History: The Civil Air Patrol is the Auxiliary of the United States Air Force. The National headquarters is at Maxwell AFB in Alabama. Each state is a "Wing." The Massachusetts Wing has 18 squadrons. There are three types of squadrons: cadet squadron, mostly made up of cadets; senior squadrons, entirely adult members, and composite squadrons, cadets and adult members.
CAP was founded on Dec. 1, 1941. During WWII unarmed CAP pilots flew coastal patrols, looking for German submarines. After one sub was beached for about two hours and eventually escaped, CAP planes were allowed to carry bombs. CAP is credited with sinking 2 German subs.
After the war, Congress made CAP the USAF Auxiliary and gave it three missions: Emergency Services, Aerospace Education and Cadet Programs.

Cadet Mission: Cadet Programs teaches young men and women to be leaders for tomorrow's America through application of our core values: Integrity, Respect, Volunteer Service and Excellence. The cadets have many summer activities, including flying lessons, encampments at military bases, several educational and training camps and an international cadet exchange.

Aerospace Education strives to inform members and the public of the importance of aviation in the health and well-being of the nation. CAP helps at many air shows. Teacher members have access to lesson plans and materials. A series of orientation flights acquaints cadets with what is involved in being a pilot. Rocketry is a popular CAP program.

Emergency Services: CAP joins with national, state and local agencies to serve the nation. CAP has memoranda of understanding with are MEMA, FEMA, the Coast Guard, the American Red Cross, and the state police, among others.
CAP handles 90 percent of inland search and rescue missions, with an average of 75 lives saved each year. CAP has helped in several major disasters, usually being first on the scene transmitting satellite digital images of the damage. CAP provides disaster relief and emergency services following such tragedies as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Texas and Oklahoma wildfires, tornadoes in the central U.S., North Dakota flash flooding and the October 2006 earthquake in Hawaii. CAP helped search for debris after the Columbia tragedy. CAP planes were the only civilian aircraft allowed to fly during the week following the 9/11 attacks. Dozens of flights to New York carried medical supplies and equipment to aid the search for survivors. And more: In addition to the three main missions, CAP also has a physical fitness program and has an active anti-drug campaigns.

Membership: CAP membership is open to any US citizen 12 years and older. CAP is open to all races and religions. As part of our cadet protection program, prospective adult members are fingerprinted and given an FBI check. Adults and cadets older than 18 are given cadet protection training to recognize and prevent any form of abuse.

About Pilgrim Composite Squadron

General: Pilgrim meets at Plymouth Airport, 222 South Meadow Rd., Tuesday evenings from 6:30-9, expanding to 9:30 during the summer. The Squadron is comprised of about 20 adult members and 35 cadets. Pilgrim has the honor of being named the top squadron in the state in 7 of the last 9 years.

Emergency Services: Pilgrim has an active ground team. In March 2003, Pilgrim's ground team was first on the scene of a plane crash in Western Mass. and was instrumental in saving the lives of three children. For their work, Gov. Romney presented the team with the Sweeney Award for Bravery. Pilgrim regularly trains in First Aid, CPR and AED. We usually schedule classes in January or February, when weather restricts our outside activities.

Community: Pilgrim squadron collects and mails at least one box per month of personal supplies, diversions and treats to soldiers overseas.
Pilgrim helps at air shows, recently at New Bedford, Otis and Nantucket, and community events, such as a handicap picnic and a fund-raiser for the Cedarville Playground. We also have a color guard and we march in at least four parades every year. They have presented the colors at Brockton Rox and Red Sox baseball games and for the Celtics.
Members of the squadron helped visitors to the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall when it came to Plymouth and recently helped a local Boy Scout troop earn their aviation merit badges by instructing the Scouts about aircraft, airports, aviation charts, and flight theory. The squadron conducts a rocketry program every summer at the Boys & Girls Club of Plymouth.

Aerospace: Pilgrim tries to hold a "Fly Day" every month. Two or three cadets at a time board a CAP plane with a CAP pilot and take off. Upon reaching a safe altitude, the cadet in the front seat "takes the controls" and, with instruction from the pilot, flies the plane for about an hour. They land, usually not at Plymouth, and the cadets change seats. They repeat the takeoff, flying and landing until all cadets had a chance to fly the plane. They return to Plymouth and more cadets jump in the plane.
Recently Pilgrim had two teams entered in the Team America Rocketry Challenge. They had to design, build and launch a rocket carrying a reclining raw egg to a height of exactly 750 feet and return the egg unbroken in exactly 45 seconds. The cadets also experiment with radio-controlled model aircraft.
The squadron commander likes to use aerospace topics to get cadets interested in science, math and engineering.

For more information: The Pilgrim squadron maintains a web site at www.PlymouthCAP.org that includes the latest squadron newsletter and articles about squadron activities.
Squadron Commander, Maj. Tony Esposito, welcomes inquiries and is happy to answer your questions at anthony.esposito@mawg.cap.gov or 508-697-8527.

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