Murfreesboro Composite Squadron Awareness Campaign
August 14, 2013
CIVIL AIR PATROL BACKGROUND
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. CAP today flies the world’s largest fleet of modern Cessna aircraft that is desirable for search operations. During Pearl Harbor, an estimated 40,000 male and female pilots volunteered their time and aircraft to defend the United States, reporting possible enemy submarines in the area and rescuing survivors from the water, resulting in Civil Air Patrol pilots being the first in the country to receive Air Medals for their service. CAP has changed dramatically from the days of WWII. It is now the non-profit auxiliary of the United States Air Force, flying more than 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions, saving nearly 100 people each year.
Today, CAP members are usually the first on the scene after natural disasters have struck, responsible for transmitting digital images of the damage within seconds around the world. This is possible because CAP members are all volunteers and don’t get paid for what they do, making them much cheaper than their military and law enforcement counterparts who are often busy with other tasks. Members provide disaster relief and emergency services during all types of phenomena, including 9/11; Hurricane Katrina; Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado Wildfires; tornados; flooding; and even the 2006 earthquake in Hawaii. The non-profit even performs humanitarian missions along the U.S. and Mexican border. THE PROBLEM
Even though CAP is older than the Air Force, it unfortunately continues to be America's best kept secret. Regardless of its origins, a non-profit flourishes only when the founders and their stakeholders are confident in the value of their unique, compelling purpose. What makes CAP different from similar organizations, such as Boy Scouts or Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), is aviation. That is why CAP was originally created and what continues to drive the organization today.
Civil Air Patrol saves the United States government money because it is comprised of all volunteers. CAP pilots do not get paid to fly reconnaissance missions or search for downed aircraft. Members don’t get paid to fill sand bags or assist with clean up after natural disasters. They also don’t get paid to provide color guard presentations or to teach youth about aviation, science, technology, engineering and math; nor to send youth to other countries (Australia, Germany, Belgium, Israel and New Zealand just to name a few) as ambassadors of both CAP and America around the world as part of the International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) program. The Murfreesboro Composite Squadron is just one of the many squadrons across the United States that may not be around in the next decade due to lack of membership and funding.
Over the last several years, CAP has experienced a decline in membership and could very well cease to exist within the next decade. This is partly due to the ongoing Department of Defense budget cuts; however, recruiting and retention is a continuous problem.
Another major issue is lack of funding for advertising. In 2010, about $90,000 was spent on advertising nationally. This number dropped significantly in 2011 to only $42,000. CAP receives more than $100 million from government grants, fundraising, membership dues and other contributions annually. Most funding is spent on aircraft, vehicle, and facility maintenance, as well as cadet activities and scholarships. What little does go to advertising is spread across various functions nationally. Nothing is allocated specifically to each unit for use in their local community.
The thousands of Squadrons spread around the country are not exempt from these problems. Often, units in close proximity do not...
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