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Front Page » February 26, 2009 » Carbon County News » Civil Air Patrol serves Castle Valley residents
Published 1,880 days ago

Civil Air Patrol serves Castle Valley residents


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By C.J. MCMANUS
Sun Advocate community editor

With several airplane and river accidents occurring during the past year, Castle Valley residents can take comfort in the fact that a nearly 60-year-old organization stands ready to provide air search in the local area.

The service is used locally for search and rescue missions primarily, but was born in a time of national and world strife.

The Civil Air Patrol has a broad scope. Historical information provided by administrative officer Lora Akers of the Castle Valley Squadron demonstrates the diversified service provided by the patrol.

The Castle Valley Composite Squadron of CAP was formed in the mid-1950s and has continued to serve and be prepared to participate in missions as called upon, said the local officer.

"The squadron has been successful in preparing cadets who have wanted to enter the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and become military pilots," she said. "CAP is an organization of civilians who volunteer to serve their community and country."

According to Akers, the Civil Air Patrol, a national service, was founded on Dec. 1, 1941, six days before the incident at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

"The world at that time was in a frantic and uncontrollable state of change," states documents provided by the administrative officer. "The European, Asian and African continents were consumed by conflict."

Akers, stipulates that these conflicts were using weapons borne of advanced technologies at the time including the airplane.

From here, the patrol's historical significants becomes immediately apparent.

"These weapons could deliver unimagined levels of destruction not only on the battlefield, but also to civilian populations hundreds of miles away from the battlefield," explained Akers. "It changed the face and consciousness of warfare."

"Most disturbingly for America, its citizens could not know that just six days after the CAP's founding, their country would be mired in this new kind of war," pointed out the local officer.

From the beginning, CAP's efforts would defend America's borders, train soldiers and airmen, rescue hundreds of men and women and help mold a new generation of Americans, explained the Castle Country officer.

"It's ultimate reward for service was the opportunity to make the same kind of difference in peacetime as the auxiliary of the nation's newest armed service: the United States Air Force," explained Akers. "And for the past 60 years, this is what the CAP has done."

The patrol has a threefold mission of emergency services, aerospace education and the cadet program.

The volunteer members dedicate themselves to serving through education, welfare and personal development services.

The CAP's resources are unparalleled by any other civilian search and rescue organization.

The patrol boasts America's largest privately owned fleet of single engine aircraft, shortwave radio network and countless ground vehicles in addition to nearly 60,000 volunteers.

The Civil Air Patrol provides a blanket of coverage spanning all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, stated Aker's informational documents.

Examples of missions the CAP has performed include:

•Assisting with surveillance in the skies above the Salt Lake Valley during the 2002 winter Olympics.

•Assisting with damage assessment and mapping related to Hurricane Katrina.

•Participating in search and rescue efforts for missing pilots and aircraft.

The rescue efforts include the search for famed pilot Steve Fossat and many others.

The local patrol meets two times monthly. Members train and practice for air search and rescue as well as ground search missions.

The local volunteers are frequently reviewed and monitored by United States Air Force personnel to ensure the members' readiness in time of need.

Carbon County residents interested in joining the squadron or gathering additional information about the historic group may contact Akers at 637-6303.

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