Civil Air Patrol: Watchful Protectors.

By Kyle Dickson


For several years, several volunteer organizations have stepped up to come to the air of
those in need and protect their communities, but perhaps one stands out among the rest.

It is an organization that was started in 1941, just six days before the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, and one that played a part in the war effort.

Far removed from wartime responsibilities, they are still going strong to this day, as humanitarian and disaster response being one of its 3 key
responsibilities it endures. That organization is called the Civil Air Patrol.

As the organization’s birthday approaches on December 1st, nearly 60,000 volunteers
that make up the civil air patrol have much to be proud of in their long history.

Originally tasked to looking for and tracking down nazi submarines off the coast of North America, brave volunteers flew
far out to sea to chase the marauding German subs away from American ships off shore carrying
war supplies for beleaguered Britain. Eventually, given bombs to arm their own planes,
Volunteers successfully spotted over 100 submarines, attacked 10 and sank 2.



Other critical duties included search and rescue of survivors from ships.

Their efforts were not without cost, as several members never returned from their flights out to sea.

Several years later, the organization was made the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force and has never looked back.
In the modern world and after World War II, the civil air patrol shifted and included three missions, which were cadet programs, aerospace education, and emergency services.

When a community is flooded after hurricanes or when any other disaster strikes, civil air patrol is always
ready to step up. Across the country as a whole, organizationally, they maintain their own fleet of
approximately 500 aircraft and have been a part of some of the largest disasters.

According to a few of the most high-profile disaster responses

include hurricanes Hugo, Andrew, and Floyd, and participated in homeland defense by providing
emergency management officials in New York with the first high-resolution photos of the world
trade center site on September 11th, 2001.

A civil air patrol plane was the only plane allowed to fly over the devastating site of the towers.

Their volunteers continue to shine and prove themselves to be the best volunteer force out there by the unwavering commitment they have.
More recently another change was made to increase their value.

In 2015, the civil air patrol was made a part of the total force, joining the ranks of the
active duty, air force reserve, and air national guard becoming an integral part of the air force family.

Made clear by unwavering support, civil air patrol members give their own country, state,
and nation, they continue to be a focal point in other disasters. According to Dennis Sullivan of
the Chicago Tribune civil air patrol members, assistance ranged from moving food, water, and
other required materials to areas where filling sandbags took place. At any given time, certified
Pilots who are members can also provide high-quality pictures of affected areas of land.

Furthermore, in May of 2017, Sullivan states that pilots flew to southern Illinois in response to
assist in flooding from rivers.

Another life-saving activity includes performing the majority of inland search and rescue

Performed by these volunteer servants, their members will be called upon to look for
lost or missing planes that have gone down in bad weather or suffered some other mishap. This
often means looking for a missing person, who is frequently found and returned to the safety of
their loved ones.

Kyle Dickson

The civil air patrol will continue to serve communities for several more years to come as leaders in disasters, and future leaders are built.

Bred to safeguard our shores from their inception, the organization has blossomed into a premier disaster response that saves lives and often goes
unnoticed by the general public. Most members, such as myself, need no fanfare, as we are
commonly known as the eyes of the skies, or maybe even watchful protectors.

Sources: Chicago Tribune


About the Author 

My name is Kyle, and I have been in the field of disaster and emergency services for over 10 years. The majority of that is volunteering for several organizations, and for my professional career, I am a disaster program specialist in South Florida with a non-profit organization. I started volunteering in high school at the age of 15 in 2008 with the Civil Air Patrol in my home state of Rhode Island. It was there that the match was lit for emergency services, disaster response, and search & rescue.

From there, I have volunteered for community emergency response teams and joined a volunteer fire department for 2.5 years.

At this time, I still volunteer for the Civil Air Patrol in South Florida as an emergency services officer and an operations support specialist for the Clay County West Virginia Community Emergency Response Team, working remotely. I look forward to several more years of volunteer work in my chosen field of study.

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by Kyle Dickson Disaster Program Specialist @ American Red Cross | Emergency Management Talks about #cybersecurity, #riskmanagement, #crisismanagement, and #emergencymanagement #inergency #egreenews #police #airpatrol #civil #disasters #rescue

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