The Civil Air Patrol was founded at a time of national crisis, mobilizing civilian volunteers to defend the nation as in no time since the American Revolution. No wonder they were called the "Flying Minutemen". 

In the late 1930s, more than 150,000 volunteers with a love for aviation argued for an organization to put their planes and flying skills to use in defense of their country.  As a result, the Civil Air Patrol was born one week prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.   Formed to provide civilian air support to aid the war effort of World War II through border and coastal patrols, the incredible successes of the volunteers quickly expanded the mission to include military training assistance, courier services and other activities. After the close of the war, the Civil Air Patrol was transferred from the United States Army to the newly formed Air Force. It was incorporated as a congressionally chartered non-profit organization.

Since the close of World War II the Civil Air Patrol has continued to carry out its three congressionally-mandated missions: emergency services (including search and rescue operations), aerospace education for youth and the general public, and cadet programs for teenage youth.


Today over 50,000 members across the United States and its territories save over 100 lives per year on average through its search and rescue and disaster relief missions, and mentors over 26,000 of the finest young adults the country has to offer.  Instead of just learning about our history, become a part of it.  Adults and teenagers alike are needed to become everyday heroes, everyday.