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FINAL CAP NHJ Volume 4, Issue 2, JUL-DEC 2017.pdf

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…a journal of
CAP history,
feature articles,
scholarly works,
and stories of

CAP National Historical Journal

Volume Issue 2: I: JAN-JUN
Volume IV, IV, Issue JUL-DEC 2017

The Civil Air Patrol National Historical Journal is published quarterly by professional volunteer staff. As academic historians by trade,
we recognize the demand for quality publications reflecting a variety of interests to Civil Air Patrol readers, and strive to provide the
best in feature and thought provoking articles. We trust you will enjoy what the journal has to offer and will consider contributing to
the mission of our staff in providing a forum for the great traditions of our organization.

Clash of the Titans:
Sputnik to Atlas
CAP and the Ninety-Nines
Alexander Shelby, Ph.D.

Timothy M. Bagnell
At a news conference in Executive Office Building across

from the White House on February 8, 1956, Roland Evans
From New York Herald Tribune asked 1941, Civil Air Patrol
of the its very beginning in DecemberPresident Dwight D.
has been a quiet, driving force in American society. CAP’s
Eisenhower if theit to recruit and maintain thethe Soviet
missions require United States lagged behind most competent individuals, regardless development of guided
Union in the production andof attributes that too often
divide societies—in particular, gender. This article addressmissiles. Eisenhower replied,and the International Organies the dynamic effects CAP
zation of Women Pilots—The Ninety-Nines—have had on
each other through a war that would be waged with
“Can you picture their respective official publications
and the joint activities in which they engaged. 1
atomic missiles, well knowing that atomic

missiles can be of little value unless they have a


tremendouslythe cusp of the Great Depression, the
ounded on powerful explosive head on
Ninety-Nines other words, they cannot be as
them? . . . In began when 117 female pilots were invited to come together to share their expertise, and work
accurate as shooting a gun or dropping a bomb
to advance the role of women in aviation—preserving and
from a plane; consequently, you must visualize
promoting women’s accomplishments in the field.2 Of the
these things in such numbers and using a kind charter
original 117 female pilots, 99 of them became of
members, and thusthat the organization its name.
gave means just complete
devastation. Now, to suddenly stop everything

theory that, to my mind, leaves no longer war,
because war is a contest, and you finally get to a
The organization continued through the 1930s, despite the
point where you are talking merely about race
enigmatic loss of their first president, Amelia Earhart,3 and
othersuicide, and nothing else.” flagship organization for
setbacks, to emerge as the
female pilots around the world. Social constraints, however,Eisenhower’s response, were barred from flying in the
were evident. Women however, was misleading. As 1946, the United States also out of their reach
early Commercial aviation was began development of
with the exception of the role of “stewardess.4” Flying clubs
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). For the next
were exclusively male. They sought allies, and on Dec. 1,
ten years, the Truman and Eisenhower administrations
1941, an exceptional ally was born. The Civil Air Patrol, with
itswould connections to the Army Air Corps and, later the
direct allocate millions in government funding to
produce a long-range ballistic access the outcome of
War Department in 1943, gave itmissile, to materials and
influence within the field of aviation that the Ninety-Nines
which would be the U.S. Air Force’s Atlas, Thor, and Titan
did not have. For CAP, the Ninety-Nines were a reservoir of
and the U.S. Navy’s Solaris ICBM fleets.
untapped pilots that CAP’s missions demanded be recruited and put to use.
hen the Soviet Union launched Sputnik on 4


October 1957, many Americans assumed that
The records of the Ninety-Nines—an integral part of their
mission—areStates preserved in their in missile and rocket
the United well had fallen behind newsletter archives.
The vast majority ofwas a recordsthat the Kremlin had
technology. There their belief are available online.
From November 1941, the Ninety-Nines were aware of the
succeeded in surpassing America in the fields of science
impending formation of the Civil Air Patrol.6 Even though
and technology. All the signs of Soviet inventiveness were
there. The Soviets exploded their first atomic bomb in

“Joint activity”just toone of twoyou are working toward a CAP-99 personnel, such as SAR Ops; non-Emergency Services activities such as Air
else and means do this, things: CAP missions involving
1949—four personnel who belong to both organizations.
Shows and Aerospace Education activities, that involve both organizations but may not involve years after the United States detonated two
November 2, 1929, at Curtiss Field, located in Valley Stream, Long Island, N.Y.
The Ninety-Nines, Inc., “Our History (The Ninety-Nines, Inc.),” The Ninety-Nines, Inc., accessed July 20, 2017,
1 Dwight D. Eisenhower: "The President's News Conference," (accessed August 4,
Judy Rumerman, “Commercial Flight in the 1930s,” T. Transportation: Commercial Flight in the 1930s, , accessed July 20, 2017,
February 8, 1956. Online by Gerhard Peters and JohnAirWoolley, The
American Presidency Project.
“Resources | 99 NEWS Magazine (The Ninety-Nines, Inc.),” The Ninety-Nines, Inc., accessed July 20, 2017,
“Ninety-Nines Newsletter, November 1941”Ninety-nines NEWS Magazine, accessed July 20, 2017, 1,


the information had not been made public, the Office of Civilian Defense seems to have recognized a natural synergy
in putting these two organizations in contact early. Indeed,
in the newsletter where the Ninety-Nines make their members aware of CAP’s impending birth, the issues and barriers the Ninety-Nines faced in getting female pilots more
involved in the defense of the nation are specifically mentioned.7 Many Ninety-Nines, and their 49 ½’ers (Husbands),
served alongside those first leaders of CAP. For example, Helen
McClosky Rough acted in an advisory capacity to the executive
director, Gill Robb Wilson. Cecile Hamilton, former executive
secretary of the Ninety-Nines, served as secretary to Gill
Robb Wilson, and also as an advisor at CAP headquarters.8
The very month CAP was born, the Ninety-Nines were already hard at work putting CAP’s mission into effect. The
D.C. chapter of the Ninety-Nines discussed this matter at
that month’s meeting where all members of that chapter
signed on with CAP.9 The Ninety-Nines also took a serious
interest in steering CAP uniform design.10 Indeed, the Ninety-Nines dedication to CAP quickly became apparent.
JUNE 1942
“WESTERN MISSOURI CHAPTER: Chapter has subjugated its activities to the Civil, Air Patrol this
month in older that members might devote more
‘time to CAP work... In every CAP mission the 99’ers
pilot several planes, and are out in front in all the
groundwork. Night landings are the next goal, already achieved by a few members.”
“All our group are working hard on CAP drill, first
aid, etc. Some of us attended a CAP meeting in
Jamestown, N .Y. Maj. Earle Johnson came in from
Washington, but the bad weather held him up until
about 3 o’clock, so we had already had the review with the rain dribbling down our necks as we stood
at attention. Major Johnson certainly inspired us to
work harder and longer.”

Command & Staff
National Commander
Maj. Gen. Mark Smith
Chief Historian
Col. Frank A. Blazich Jr.
National History Research Division Head
Lt. Col. Richard B. Mulanax
National Historical Journal Editor
Maj. Kurt Efinger
MARCH 1944
“Rosemary [Regan] is secretary for the CAP Courier
Service and is working for her private license”
JULY 1945
“In Memorium: Helen Wetherill, governor of the
North Central Section, who in March had flown to
Colorado with her on a special CAP liaison mission,
participated in these services, giving a flyer’s remembrance of Maude’s numerous activities in the
ninety-Nines and the Civil Air Patrol”
Looking at the rates of publications, references to Civil Air
Patrol activities, and personnel directly interacting with the
Ninety-Nines, and vice versa, World War II saw a high mark
for joint activity between the two organizations, each energized by the other. From November 1941 to July 1946,
there are approximately 209 references to Ninety-Nines
chapters engaging in CAP activities among the 45 publications that went out that during that period. This averages
to six per publication. It should be noted that these references often involve multiple events taking place with a given chapter over the course of the publication period. After
this period, the activity drops off significantly. This can be
attributed the postwar downsizing of the military, the reorganization of the Army Air Corps into the United States Air

“Ninety Nines Newsletter, November 1941,” 1, 8,
“Ninety Nines Newsletter, December 1941,” 6,
“Ninety Nines Newsletter, June 1942,” 7,


Force, and the official incorporation of the Civil Air Patrol
under its current Congressional mandates. From August
1946 until the end of the decade, there were approximately 30 references to joint activities in the 38 publications of
the Ninety-Nines during that time. It is not hard to see that
the new demands of the postwar world forced the Civil Air
Patrol to reevaluate its own priorities, capabilities, and resources. However, this lull was not to last.
The 1950s, arguably the greatest decade for aviation in our
nation’s history with the advent of commercial jets, and a
renewed interest and ability for Americans to travel by air,
saw a new, vibrant period for CAP and the Ninety-Nines.
Over the course of the decade, there are approximately
385 references to joint activities and other interactions
spread out over 90 publications. This works out to 4.28 references per issue.11
These activities include:
MARCH 1951
“Texas chapter: Dr. E.O. Rushing and Capt. Horace
Hagler, USAF, representing the CAP were guests
and principal speakers for the evening. The two
units joined the CAP as an individual group. We are,
according to Dr. Rushing, the first group of women
in the U. S. to forge such a unit for Civil Defense.”
“Greater Kansas City area- Dee Southard flew to
the CAP SARCAP at Cape Girardeau recently, one
of the two women pilots there! She has gone on
Wing Staff—is now a major.”
MAY 1958
“Greater St. Louis Chapter: Our local CAP squadron, of which Virginia Duenke and Evelyn Neise are
both active members, were busy this last weekend,
giving indoctrination rides to about twenty school
teachers, members of the NAE.”

The 1960s saw the continuation of the expansion of Americans’ interest in aviation, rockets, and thanks to the Space
Race, outer space. A mix of patriotism and prosperity, with
a dash of fear of nuclear annihilation, fueled Americans’
fascination with things that flew. The continued growth of
both the Ninety-Nines and CAP points to this conclusion.12
Inter-organizational activities and membership continued
to increase, with 402 references to CAP activities that Ninety-Nines took part in, out of 83 issues between 1960 and
1969. This averages out to about 4.84 references per issue.
These activities include:
“Utah chapter: Maurine Shurtleff of Ogden certainly made history and some fame for herself at
the recent CAP SARCAP. She and her observer spotted an old wreckage which was considered to be
so well hidden that it was not marked. On a later sortie, she spotted the target set out by the Air
Force but since it was in the next grid, she left the
reporting of it to another crew.”
MAY 1963
“El Cajon Valley chap: Our March meeting revealed
progress of the CAP Girl Cadet, Roberta Johnson,
whose solo course was co-sponsored by San Diego
and El Cajon Valley Chapters and a lenient bid by
El Cajon Flying Service.(Betty Lambert, San Diego
Chapter, is her instructor)... Having recently contributed to the AWTAR, AE Scholarship and the CAP
Cadet Scholarship, we are in the midst of replenishing our treasury.”
“DC chapter: Civil Air Patrol News: ADA MITCHELL
is being reinstated as Air Inspector on Wing Staff of
the National Capitol Wing (Lt Col). RUTH FRECKLETON (Major) is Coordinator for Women. Together,
we hope to have a crew waiting for each arrival to
the CONVENTION next summer. We are proud of
our Civil Air Patrol unit here.”

Note: there were no publications for 1954. Also, references often indicate multiple activities per month.
CAP’s growth in shown in its Congressional reports; 99s growth is implied by their publication rate and rate of overall activities, both with CAP and



Free love and the counterculture movement did nothing
to slow the pace of growth and cooperation between the
Ninety-Nines and CAP. The 1970s saw an even greater rate
of joint activities. Of the 99 issues put out between January
1970 and December 1979, there are about 511 references
to joint activities, averaging out to about 5.17 references
per issue.
Examples of these activities include:
“Coming events: A nurse and one of five women Civil Air Patrol Commanders, Miss Nance A. R.
Doyle of Jenks, Oklahoma, has been selected to
receive the fifth annual Doris Mullen Whirly-Girls
Scholarship. A commercial airplane pilot, Miss
Doyle has logged 500 of her 1300 flight hours on
CAP search and rescue missions. With a helicopter
rating she hopes to serve as pilot/nurse on future
CAP ambulance helicopter rescue missions.”
“San Diego chapter: Pat Osmon attended a C.A.P.
Officer information conference on Oct. 18-19, at
Travis AFB, and was given the “Gill Robb Wilson”
award for meritorious service to the C.A.P. Senior
“Viola (Thompson) Mason WASP 43-4: She was
awarded the Alaskan CAP Meritorious Service
Award with SAR ribbons and served as Wing Staff
for the Anchorage, Alaska CAP.”
In the 1980s, the first signs that something was going wrong
with both organizations began to emerge. The reasons for
this are numerous and debatable, but the effects are not.
The deregulation of the airline industry in 1978, lower
fares, increased airline debt, bankruptcies, airline mergers,

overexpansion, the adoption of the hub system, and the
abandonment of many smaller airports are among some
of the major changes that shook commercial aviation to its
core.13 Just looking at the decade’s 93 publications14, the
average number of joint Ninety-Nines-CAP activities mentioned fell to just under 3.8 per issue. These changes, coupled with the surge of airline hijackings in the 1970s and
80s, had a chilling effect on aviation, in general.15 However,
the evidence suggests that when there was engagement
between the two groups, it was productive and significant:
JUNE 1982
“GENAVAC meets at 99s HQ- A number of individuals prominent in the aviation and space fields
spoke at the conference. Among them were Robert
Serling, aviation author; Brigadier General Johnnie Boyd, CAP National Commander; and George
Forschler, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air
Force for Reserve Affairs.”
“Potamac chapter: Vera Rollo was active in August.
She spoke at Oshkosh August 2 on ‘Aviation Law
of Pilots Flying for Fun.’ She also participated in
Search and Rescue exercises with the Civil Air Patrol (SARCAP) at Hagerstown, Maryland, August
“Florida Gold coast chapter: Civil Air Patrol Commander Jim Puglise of the Group 10 (Miami area)
Squadron gave a very informative talk on SARSAT/
COSPAS satellite equipment used in search and
rescue procedures at the November 15 meeting
held at the Miami FSS.”
The 1990s saw a continued decline in joint activities between the Ninety-Nines and CAP. This may be, in part, due
to a significant decline in CAP membership that began in

Asif Siddiqi, “The Airline Bankruptcies of the 1980s,” Air Transportation: The Airline Bankruptcies of the 1980s, , accessed July 20, 2017,
“Resources | 99 NEWS Magazine (The Ninety-Nines, Inc.),” (accessed July 20, 2017)
Nicola Clark, “Why Airline Hijackings Became Relatively Rare,” The New York Times, March 29, 2016, accessed July 20, 2017,


1988 and continued through until about 1997.16 By the end
of the 1990s, CAP had lost more than 10,000 members
during the decade. Anti-war and anti-violence movements,
the end of the Cold War, and the drawdown after the Gulf
War I can be seen as contributing to the anti-military service sentiments in the country at that time.17 However,
those diehard members of both organizations continue the
long tradition of joint operations and shared personnel.
JUNE 1990
“San Antonio Chapter: Gloria and Margaret became First Lieutenants in the Civil Air Patrol and
took advanced courses in Corpus Christi, where
they visited with 99s Alice Foeh and Jean Wolcot,
both of All Ohio chapter residing in the south.”
“San Antonio Chapter members participated in
a “Find Your Wings” program at Kennedy High
School. The program was under the leadership of
Southwest Research Institute, funded by the National Science Foundation in Washington and supported by the Edgewood Independent School District and the San Antonio Council of Girl Scouts for
“girls only” in the 4th, 5th and 6th grades. Approximately 250 girls participated. San Antonio Chairman Barbara Martin explained the activities of the
99s and introduced CAP Captain Margaret Cosby.”
“Alaska Chapter: Mary Reid-Jensen was honored at
a retirement ceremony for her 30 years of service
to the Civil Air Patrol. She retired as a Lt Col.”
It must be noted that there is a significant decline in publication of the Ninety-Nines newsletter during the 1990s. On
average, the Ninety-Nines had produced about 90 issues per

decade. The 1990s saw only 60 issues published. Even when
this overall reduction in production is taken into account, the
average number of CAP references is just more than two per
issue, less than half of what previous decades had recorded.
This trend may represent a downturn in air operations that
both organizations had commonly engaged in together. Civil
Air Patrol, for example, saw an overall decrease of 33,184.2
hours in SAR flight hours when compared to the 1980s.18
One factor that may have contributed to the decrease in flying hours are the advancements in ELT technology, as well as
the devices used to detect and locate downed aircraft. Another contributing factor might have been CAP’s new focus
on counterdrug (CD) operations. Combine this with the decrease in SAR flight hours, and one can see a causation for
the decrease in joint references in Ninety-Nines publications.
On April 19, 1989, CAP entered into an agreement with the
U.S. Air Force, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Drug Enforcement
Agency for CAP to provide aircrews and aircraft to assist those
agencies with aerial reconnaissance for the detection of illegal drug operations, primarily marijuana.19 Becoming involved
with CD operations takes specialized training that is difficult
to come by, and requires greater scrutiny (security clearance)
of those air crews involved. When factoring in CD flight hours
to all other CAP flight hours, there is an overall increase in
hours of 30,853.7 when compared to the 1980s. Throughout
the 1990s, CD flying hours quickly overtook search and rescue
flying time. By the end of the decade, CD accounted for more
than 80 percent of all CAP time in the air.20 Thus, the limited
number of CAP personnel involved would statistically result
in an even more limited number of Ninety-Nines, all female
pilots, participating in those missions.
The turn of the millennium marked a rough stabilization in
CAP membership, fluctuating between the high fifty-thousands and low sixty-thousands. The dramatic increase in CAP
flying hours due to the advent of counterdrug operations continued, taking up an average of 60 percent of total flight time.
In addition, it must be noted that CAP’s official reporting, via

99s membership numbers are not available prior to 2012. For the past five years their membership has fluctuated between 4800 and 5000.
Marilyn B. Young, “Reflections on the Anti-war Movement, Then and Now,” accessed July 20, 2017,
This number may be even lower: In 1997 there is a mysterious spike in reported SAR hours to 25,033, or about double the surrounding years’ totals.
“1990 Civil Air Patrol Annual report to Congress,” Report Archive, , accessed July 20, 2017, 7,
“Report Archive.” Civil Air Patrol. Accessed July 21, 2017, 1998 - 1999,


the Congressional Report, contains a formatting change that
occurred in 2002 wherein there is a single number for total
flying hours given instead of the more broken-down accounting of previous decades. Whatever data went into these new
numbers resulted in an even more dramatic increase in flying hours, averaging 105,727.4 per year for the years 2000 to
This might bring one to the conclusion that there would be a
corresponding increase in CAP/Ninety-Nines joint activities,
or at least where the two organizations interacted more via
shared membership or activities. Sadly, this is not reflected in the numbers. For the entirety of the 2000s, there are
about 50 references to CAP personnel and activities (not
necessarily joint) in Ninety-Nines publications, or about
one per issue. It is worth pointing out that the Ninety-Nines
scaled back their publishing rate, putting out one issue per
two month period. Even with that cost-saving strategy in
mind, the decrease in contact between the organizations
is stark. There could be many reasons for this trend. The
Ninety-Nines’ decision to scale back publishing, even missing entire publication periods, likely indicates a significant
reduction in income, which would also indicate an equally
significant reduction in membership. However, those activities and interactions from this period are still worth noting:

“Mt. Shasta: It was a great opportunity to tell them
about the 99s and the Civil Air Patrol. The most popular question was: “What does an airline pilot earn?”
JULY/AUGUST 2000“Janet Patton: As a little girl, I was enamored with
the thought of flying an airplane. I sought guidance
from the local Civil Air Patrol which I joined at 14, and
was selected to receive the Mary von Mach Scholarship, sponsored in part by the Michigan Chapter
99s. It allowed me to attend the CAP ’s annual Flight
Encampment. This led to my first solo at 16, my private before the end of high school, and passing both
commercial and CFI check-rides by age 19.”

Of particular note in the 2007 November/December issue,
there is an entire article included about CAP and our search
and rescue operations. While there is no mention of any
joint operations, its inclusion
at least indicates that CAP still
resides in the collective awareness of the Ninety-Nines. In
that same issue, there are also
numerous references to one
of the most decorated shared
members of the two organizations: Col. Nicole Malachowski.
This issue contains an article
centering on the “Thunderbird
Air Force Col. Nicole
Women,” of whom then-Maj.
Source: U.S. Air Force
Malachowski and her squadron
mate Maj. Samantha Weeks are
featured. The two are even pictured with WASP Betty Blake.
The last seven and a half years
have seen a relative resurgence of CAP references in
Ninety-Nines publications. This
translates into an average of
just under three references per
Mary Feik. Source:
issue with 40 publications to
Maryland State Archives.
date. This is a tremendous development when compared to
the previous decade (116 references vs 48). The content of
these references ranges from those Ninety-Nines members
talking about their membership with CAP, to the passing of
notable CAP/Ninety-Nines members—including Mary Feik.
“Touch & Go: [Meigs Adams] also used her airplane and her talents to help the Civil Air Patrol
with training and rescue missions.”
“Touch & Go: Jeri became a Ninety-Nine and met
Amelia Earhart well before she earned her private

2010 Flying hours records were not included in the 2010 Congressional report. Report details 11,000 CD hours flow, and only hints at “fewer” hours
flown overall for the year.



pilot certificate in 1939. Jeri then joined the Civil
Air Patrol in 1942. On May 30, 2014, the President
of the United States signed a bill into law recognizing the Civil Air Patrol and its earliest members for
their contributions during WWII by honoring them
with the Congressional Gold Medal. On September
22, 2014, Jeri was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel
with a lifetime membership in CAP, along with being presented an Exceptional Service Award. The
CAP Color Guard and Commander of the California
Wing opened the ceremony, which was concluded
by Jeri’s first flight in a search and rescue aircraft
since WWII.”
“Article: [Louise Thaden] became involved with
many aviation organizations, jobs and projects in
the following years, but especially flying search
and rescue for the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), attaining
the rank of Lt. Colonel. Her proudest achievement
was developing the CAP cadet program to teach
and encourage the younger generation.”
This history of women in aviation sits at the heart of aviation itself. Legendary figures—Amelia Earhart, Willa Brown,
Jackie Cochran, Mary Feik—laid the groundwork for modern aviatrixes such as Sallie Ride, Mae C. Jemison, Gen. Lori
Robinson and Nicole Malachowski. These pioneers refused
to allow the society’s expectations of women hold them
back. They stand as exemplars for both women and men
who aspire for open skies and a better tomorrow.
Capt. Timothy Bagnell is a CAP officer, and serves full time as
the upper-grades Leadership & Character instructor at the
North Carolina Leadership Academy in Kernersville, N.C.

Editor’s Note: The Civil Air Patrol National Historical Journal continues to receive quality submissions from across the CAP community, and appreciates the continued support of its members.
Please adhere to the guidelines specified in the
journal with regard to format, content, and review.

The Journey from Idea to Action:
Origins of the CAP Cadet
Program, 1941-1942
Col Frank Blazich, Jr., Ph.D., CAP National Historian

For 75 years, the cadets of Civil Air Patrol have pledged
to better themselves, their community, state and nation.
Cadets have served in every branch of this nation’s armed
forces and received the nation’s highest military decorations for valor and distinguished service. Former cadets
have risen to the highest officer and enlisted ranks in the
U.S. Air Force. Other cadets have medaled in the Olympics,
become Rhodes Scholars, flown with the U.S. Air Force
Thunderbirds, explored the cosmos, achieved prominence
in civil service and academia, and even voyaged to the
moon. All of this is remarkable when considering how the
CAP cadet program launched with a single one-page memorandum. But behind the Suggestedpaper isandlarger story Article
piece of Images a Captions for
spanning several years but resting on the value of an idea
Note: Images are not in any particular order and can be inserted in the
andfit. few ardent advocates of turning the idea into reality.

The origins of the CAP cadet
program commence largely
in summer 1936. In the United States, the effects of the
Great Depression continue to
adversely impact the nation
despite the efforts of President
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New
Deal. Across the Atlantic, the
German people prepare to host
Gill Robb Wilson. Source:
the world’s premiere athletes CAP National Archives and
in Berlin for the Games of the Historical Collections
11th Olympiad. With the Olympics the prime news story, an American veteran of World
War I and current New Jersey director of aviation, Gill Robb
Wilson, arrives from Lakehurst after a flight aboard the
Zeppelin Hindenburg. In a month-long visit, Wilson meets
with numerous aviation officials and glimpses Germany’s
new air force, the Luftwaffe. To support the growth and
sustainment of this new force, Germany marshalled its national resources to foster a vibrant interest and competen- Colle
Gill Robb Wilson. Source: CAP National Archives and Historical
cy in aviation among the nation’s youth. After witnessing

the German Gliding Championship in Wasserkuppe, Wilson
recognized that “the basis of Germany’s strength in the air
is not merely technical knowledge, but the enthusiasm that
is being engendered in the youth of the nation.” To create
the Luftwaffe, Wilson concluded that “Hitler was not drafting an air force, he was raising it from the cradle.”1
Wilson’s observations about the engagement of youth in
aviation represented part of a larger realization: A second
world war was coming. Cognizant of aviation’s prominence
in modern warfare, in turn demanding ever larger numbers
of aircraft and aircrew, Wilson deemed it essential for the
nation to prepare the nation’s civilian youth to become
more aviation-minded. His writings and public presentations on mobilizing civil aviation and the nation’s youth
joined a growing chorus of voices urging the federal government provide some form of aviation training for national defense.2 In late December 1938, President Roosevelt
announced creation of the Civilian Pilot Training Program
(CPTP) which planned to annually train 20,000 civilian pilots, providing a much-needed boost to civilian aviation
and creating a pool of potential military pilots. Commencing in 1939, the program provided male and female college
undergraduates 72 hours of ground school and from 35 to
50 hours of flight instruction. At the time of its abolishment
in 1946, the program had produced 435,165 pilots for the
nation’s war effort.3
While the CPTP gathered momentum in 1939, the Nazi war
machine swallowed up Poland and Great Britain and France
once again found themselves fighting their Western European neighbor. In the fall of 1940, Americans listened on
their radio to journalist Edward R. Murrow’s nightly radio
broadcasts opening with a simple announcement: “This is
London.” Throughout the Luftwaffe’s bombing campaign
against the British capital, known as the Blitz, Murrow’s
reports stirred Americans to contemplate if, how, or when

they too might be subject to nightly visits by enemy bombers. This perceived threat of aerial bombardment raised
questions by the general public and civic leaders about
what the federal government intended to do to safeguard
the home front.4
In a February 1941 report to President Roosevelt, New
York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia – himself a World War
I bomber pilot – recommended creating a home defense
among the civilian population and training ordinary citizens
to meet the threat of air or naval attack on American cities.5
His message resonated with
some civil aviation advocates,
and spurred one to action. On
April 22, 1941, Thomas H. Beck,
president of the Crowell-Collier Publishing Company and
a committed promotor of civil
aviation, hand delivered a letter to President Roosevelt. His
letter outlined a “plan for increasing defense and war-con- Fiorello LaGuardia.
Source: CAP National
sciousness and for enlisting the Archives and Historical
youth of the United States in Collections
aviation.” Among the elements
of his plan, Beck recommended the Bureau of Education
provide textbooks and model airplanes to elementary
schools, provide a glider for every high school to teach glider flying, and organize all CPTP students not accepted into
the armed forced into a youth aviation patrol, flying aircraft
for patrol, observation, and two-way radio training.6
Fiorello LaGuardia. Source: CAP National Archives and Historical Collections.

The following month, on May 20, 1941, Roosevelt issued
Executive Order 8757, establishing the Office of Civilian Defense, and tapped LaGuardia to serve as director. The president tasked the office with coordinating federal civilian
defense activities with state and local governments and as-

Jill Paulson, “Preview of the 75th Anniversary History of the Civil Air Patrol: Eyes on the Home Skies” CAP National Historical Journal 2, no. 2 (AprilJune 2015): 1-2.
Ibid., 3-4.
Patricia Strickland, The Putt-Putt Air Force: The Story of the Civilian Pilot Training Program and the War Training Service (1939-1944) (Washington,
DC: Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Aviation Education Staff, 1971), iii, 3-4; Dominick A. Pisano, To Fill the Skies with
Pilots: The Civilian Pilot Training Program, 1939-1946 (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001), 30.
Matthew Dallek, Defenseless Under the Night: The Roosevelt Years and the Origins of Homeland Security (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016),
Ibid., 111-14.
Thomas H. Beck to the President, 22 April 1941, attached to letter of Thomas H. Beck to Kendall K. Hoyt, 16 September 1942, Kendall King Hoyt
Papers, CAP National Archives and Historical Collections.


sisting these in the establishment of state and local defense
councils to attune civilian defense activities.7 Around the
same time, Beck shared his letter with Guy Gannett, president of Guy Gannett Publishing. In the first week of June,
with LaGuardia just settling into his new post, Gannett met
with the mayor in New York City and shared Beck’s plan
with him.8 A week later, on June 12, LaGuardia appointed
a committee consisting of Beck, Gannett, and Wilson to
“formulate plans and submit suggestions . . . as to the enrollment of private planes, owners, and pilots and suggestions for their use in connection with the Civilian Defense
On June 17, 1941, the three men met in New York City to
draft their plan. Kendall K. Hoyt, manager of the National
Aeronautic Association, and its director of both publicity
and the air youth division, took the meeting minutes as
the plan took shape throughout the day’s discussions.10 On
June 25, Beck and Wilson arrived in Washington, D.C., and
presented their proposed plan for the “Civil Air Defense
Services” to LaGuardia. The proposal consisted of two objectives:
Civil Air Patrol cadets in World War II. Source: CAP National

CAP Archives and Historical CAP National
1. The immediate organization of the civil air resources Cadets in World War II. Source: Collections Archives and Historical Collections.
censes and establishing flight scholarships for high school
2. The ultimate civil development essential to any sound
students. Developing and fostering aviation-minded youth
foundation for air power.
would be a key tenet for this proposed program.11

To attain these objectives, the proposed plan outlined the
Reading the proposal today, one cannot help but marvel at
elements of Beck’s original letter to Roosevelt to engagein World War II. Source: CAPmen. Nevertheless, LaGuardia Collections.
CAP Cadets
the sagacity of these National Archives and Historical initially
the nation’s youth from elementary to high schools with
did not move to transform the plan into action. In August,
aviation education. The three men also recommended prohe acknowledged the delay and appointed his aviation aide,
viding funds for school teachers to attain private pilot’s liReed G. Landis, to turn the proposal into an actionable

Executive Order no. 8757, “Establishing the Office of Civilian Defense,” 20 May 1941, John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, The American Presidency
Project, (accessed 5 November 2017).
Guy P. Gannett to Kendall K. Hoyt, 2 October 1942; Kendall K. Hoyt, “Civil Aviation Services Chronology of Origin and Progress,” 22 January 1942, attached to letter of Thomas H. Beck to Kendall K. Hoyt, 16 September 1942, Kendall King Hoyt Papers, CAP National Archives and Historical Collections.
Fiorello LaGuardia to Gill Robb Wilson, 12 June 1941, Barry L. Spink Collection, CAP National Archives and Historical Collections; press release from
Washington Correspondent, Washington, DC for Portland Press Herald, “La Guadia [sic] Names Civil Air Reserve; Acts on Maine Man’s Plan to Aid
Defense: Guy P. Gannett to Serve with Gil [sic] Robb Wilson, Thomas H. Beck,” 13 June 1941, Kendall King Hoyt Papers, CAP National Archives and
Historical Collections.
Kendall K. Hoyt, “Civil Aviation Services Chronology of Origin and Progress,” 22 January 1942, attached to letter of Thomas H. Beck to Kendall K.
Hoyt, 16 September 1942; “Kendall King Hoyt – Personal History,” February 1959, Kendall King Hoyt Papers, CAP National Archives and Historical
Kendall K. Hoyt, “Civil Aviation Services Chronology of Origin and Progress,” 22 January 1942, attached to letter of Thomas H. Beck to Kendall K.
Hoyt, 16 September 1942, Kendall King Hoyt Papers, CAP National Archives and Historical Collections; Gill Robb Wilson to Fiorello La Guardia, 24 June
1941, as transmittal level for preliminary report for the “Civil Air Defense Services,” CAP National Archives and Historical Collections, online: https://


plan.12 Throughout August and September, Landis fleshed
out the Beck-Wilson-Gannett plan and a new organization
name emerged: “Civil Air Patrol.” What apparently began
to fade, however, was an emphasis on engaging youth.
LaGuardia, in a letter of Sept. 29 to the Secretaries of Commerce and the Navy, made no mention of Beck’s original
youth focus.13
From the surviving records, it is evident that the youth
element did not entirely vanish from the planning effort.
Landis’ work developing the CAP tracked with the June
1941 proposal, writing in a letter to Beck of Oct. 3 that
“Step One in connection with the accomplishment of a
very desirable program for civil aeronautics in order that
civilian aviation may make its maximum contribution to the
welfare of the nation in the post-emergency duties as well
as contribute whatever it can during the emergency to national defense.”14 On October 7, LaGuardia requested and

Letter from LaGuardia to Wilson regarding the appointment of
a committee to incorporate civil aviation into civilian defense,
June 12, 1941. Source: Barry L. Spink Collection, CAP National
Archives and Historical Collections

obtained the services of Wilson to join Landis in the planning work.15 Wilson, fresh off establishing the New Jersey
Civilian Air Defense Services, provided a wealth of practical
ed his attention to a relatively new Canadian plan for air
planning expertise. Wilson’s work cribbed off his New Jercadet units comprised of boys from 12 to 18 years of age.
sey organization; however, while not explicitly including a
In mid-October, LaGuardia wrote to Squadron Leader R.W.
youth component, the program also did not specify miniLetter from LaGuardia acting national director of theof a committee to incorporate civil
Frost, to Wilson regarding the appointment Air Cadet League of
mum age requirements.16 Replying to Landis’ letter aviation into civilian defense, 12 June 1941. Source: Barry L. Spink Collection, CAP National
of Oct.
Canada, requesting information on the Canadian organiza3, Beck replied on October 9 that he hoped stepsArchives and Historical Collections.
tion.18 The impact of this information, however, is presently
be taken to teach the fundamentals of aviation in public
lost to history. What we do know is that when LaGuardia
schools following “Step One.”17
publicly announced the existence of the CAP and called for
volunteers to join, the minimum age requirement was set
Shortly after Wilson’s arrival in Washington, Landis direct12
Kendall K. Hoyt, “Civil Aviation Services Chronology of Origin and Progress,” 22 January 1942, attached to letter of Thomas H. Beck to Kendall K.
Hoyt, 16 September 1942, Kendall King Hoyt Papers, CAP National Archives and Historical Collections. Of note, Landis was himself a World War I aviator, and the only son of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first commissioner of Major League Baseball.
Elwyn A. Mauck, “Civilian Defense in the United States, 1941 – 1945” (unpublished manuscript by the Historical Officer of the Office of Civilian Defense, July 1946, typed), Chapter 9, 2-3; Fiorello LaGuardia to Frank Knox and Jesse H. Jones, 29 September 1941, Confidential CAP Chronological file,
Office of Civilian Defense, National Headquarters, General Correspondence, 1941 – May 1942, Record Group 171, Entry I/12, Box 1, National Archives
and Records Administration, College Park, Md. Both letters from LaGuardia were drafted by Landis.
Reed G. Landis to Thomas H. Beck, 3 October 1941, Confidential CAP Chronological file, Office of Civilian Defense, National Headquarters, General
Correspondence, 1941 – May 1942, Record Group 171, Entry I/12, Box 1, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
Telegram from Fiorello H. LaGuardia to Charles Edison, 7 October 1941, Confidential CAP Chronological file, Office of Civilian Defense, National
Headquarters, General Correspondence, 1941 – May 1942, Record Group 171, Entry I/12, Box 1, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
New Jersey Defense Council, New Jersey Wing: Civil Air Defense Services (Trenton, NJ: New Jersey Defense Council, November 1941), 3-5; “Civilian
Pilot Recruiting to Start in State July 10,” Asbury Park Press (Ashbury Park, NJ), 3 July 1941, 1, 10; “Plan Formation of N.J. Civil Air Guard,” The Daily
Journal (Vineland, N.J.), 14 July 1941, 3; “Formed Ready for Air Group,” Asbury Park Press (Asbury Park, N.J.), 12 July 1941, 1.
Kendall K. Hoyt, “Civil Aviation Services Chronology of Origin and Progress,” 22 January 1942, attached to letter of Thomas H. Beck to Kendall K.
Hoyt, 16 September 1942, Kendall King Hoyt Papers, CAP National Archives and Historical Collections.
Reed G. Landis to Gill Robb Wilson, 11 October, 1941; R.W. Frost to Fiorello H. LaGuardia, 22 October 1941; Fiorello H. LaGuardia to R.W. Frost, 30
October 1941, Barry L. Spink Collection, CAP National Archives and Historical Collections; Fiorello H. LaGuardia to R.W. Frost, 18 October 1941, Confidential CAP Chronological file, Office of Civilian Defense, National Headquarters, General Correspondence, 1941 – May 1942, Record Group 171, Entry
I/12, Box 1, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.


at 16 years of age, although only those volunteers of 18
years or older would be accepted for flight duty.19 In late
July 1941, Maj. Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold stated his opposition to any effort “to increase the existing private pilot
activity when such an expansion is in any way to be achieved
at the expense of the purely military effort.”20 In November
1941, Arnold appointed a board to review the finalized CAP
plan. After meeting on Nov. 7, the board approved the plan
provided that War Department cooperation “shall not involve any expenditure of War Department funds other than
the pay and allowances of officers assigned to the Office of
Civilian Defense.”21 CAP’s focus from the onset would be
squarely focused on Step One, mobilizing existing resources for immediate employment in the war effort.
But what became of Beck’s original emphasis on youth? Engaging youth remained a desired objective, but with Europe
under Nazi control in the fall of 1941 and the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy casting a voracious gaze on the Philippines and other southwest Asian territories, the singular priority for the Office of Civilian Defense rested on organizing all
existing civilian aviation personnel and resources to defend
the home front. A youth effort inherently represented a proactive, offensive effort. With the nation still at peace, defensive
preparations represented the logical use of limited resources.
The key individual who helped launch the cadet program
was a Washington, D.C.-native, reserve officer, writer, publicist and civil engineer named Kendall K. Hoyt.22 In September 1941, while Landis began the heavy planning work, Hoyt
used his position at the National Aeronautics Association to
advocate development of a model building and youth effort
for CAP, but his advocacy did not impact the urgent efforts

Letter from Landis to Wilson regarding the modeling of a cadet
program after the Air Cadet League of Canada’s model, Oct. 11,
1941. Source: Barry L. Spink Collection, CAP National Archives
and Historical Collections

to mobilize existing civilian aviation resources for wartime
duties.23 On Nov. 10, Wilson in reply to a letter from Jean
H. DuBuque about “A Civilian Air Defense Program for Our
Youth,” stated that yes, “very definitely a youth plan should
be developed” and encouraged DeBuque to write to Hoyt
in regard to work he was engaged in between NAA and the
Boy Scouts of America.24 Even after CAP’s establishment,
Hoyt continued to promote model building for youth, as
the work “pre-trains hundreds of thousands of boys and
girls in aviation handicraft, developing their skill as future
pilots and aircraft mechanics.”25 Years later, Hoyt claimed
that in the fall of 1941, “it was not possible to receive au-

Office of Civilian Defense, Civil Air Patrol: Organization, Purpose, Program, Enlistment (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1941), 11.
Henry H. Arnold to L.D. Gasser, 28 July 1941, in Leonard Blascovich, “Civil Air Patrol Historical Documents No. 1: Important Letters & Memos July
1941 to September 1941.”
Memorandum from George E. Stratemeyer to Chief of the Army Air Forces, on “Civil Air Patrol,” 8 November 1941 and attached “Report of Proceedings of Board of Officers,” in Leonard Blascovich, “Civil Air Patrol Historical Documents No. 1: Important Letters & Memos July 1941 to September
1941”; Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters, “Report of Civil Air Patrol,” 28 December 1943, 1, folder 4, Earle Levan Johnson Papers, Western Reserve
Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio, Box 1.
Frank A. Blazich, Jr., World War II Diaries of Kendall King Hoyt, January 1943 – March 1946 (CAP National History Program, 2014), 1. http://history.
“Model Planes Drive Shaped at Conference,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 29 September 1941, 8; “Junior Aviator Squadron,” The Pittsburgh Press, 26
September 1941, 59.
Gill Robb Wilson to Jean H. DuBuque, 10 November 1941, Confidential CAP Chronological file, Office of Civilian Defense, National Headquarters,
General Correspondence, 1941 – May 1942, Record Group 171, Entry I/12, Box 1, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
Devon Francis, “Model Building Must Continue,” The Courier-News (Plainfield, N.J.), 23 December 1941, 3.


thority to undertake more than the organization of the private pilots.”26
Hoyt, however, did not fade away. On March 30, 1942, he
entered the Army Air Forces under his Army Reserve commission of first lieutenant and on April 1 began duty at CAP
National Headquarters as the national intelligence officer.27
That same day, CAP’s Executive Officer, Earle L. Johnson,
received a presidential commission to the grade of captain
in the Army Air Forces and assumed the duties of national
commander.28 Together the men developed a strong working relationship – Hoyt being considered Johnson’s favorite officer at headquarters.29 Presumably it was Hoyt more
than anyone else who helped Johnson understand the original June 1941 plan and the importance of bringing youth
into the CAP effort.
Throughout 1942, Johnson, Hoyt, and the small headquarters staff oversaw CAP’s growth from concept to a force of
approximately 63,000 volunteers engaged in a cornucopia
of activities.30 Foremost of importance for CAP and the Of-

their first offensive operations against the Empire of Japan
on the island of Guadalcanal. Concurrently in the Chesapeake Bay, an American invasion force assembled to take
the offensive against Fascist forces in North Africa. The
tides of war were turning in favor of the Allies.

Col. Earle L. Johnson,
circa 1945. Source: CAP
National Archives and
Historical Collections

With offensives in both theaters
essentially in motion, Hoyt and
Johnson apparently concluded that CAP had also obtained
the “step one” objectives of the
June 1941 proposal. It was high
time to launch the youth effort.
In late September, Hoyt and
Johnson draft their simple plan,
and on Oct. 1 published General Memorandum No. 58.32

At a cost of $200 to print the
memorandum and membership forms, the cadet program
thus began.33 In a special bulletin to aviation writers, CAP
fice of Civilian Defense was the coastal patrol effort, begun
National Headquarters explained that the original CAP plan
in March with three coastal patrol bases in Delaware, New L. Johnson, circa 1945. Source: CAP National Archives and Historical Collections.
Col Earle
intended to “accomplish in the American way what Russia,
Jersey and Florida, and which expanded to 21 bases formGermany, and Italy did in the building of air power through
ing a line of daytime inner coastal patrols, stretching from
mass movements which carried young people step by step
Maine to the Texas-Mexico border. The last of these, Base
into aviation.” Pearl Harbor, however, made the organiza21, commenced operations out of Beaufort, N.C., on Sept.
tion of existing civil aviation air power the first step for CAP;
27, 1942.31 Across the Pacific, Allied forces were locked in

Earle L. Johnson to W.P. Redding, 25 November 1943, Barry L. Spink Collection, CAP National Archives and Historical Collections. The letter was
drafted by Hoyt on behalf of Johnson.
War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Temporary Appointment order for Hoyt, Kendall King, O-205498, 13 March 1942,
com/viewerng/viewer?url= ; certified copy of document stating that
Kendall King Hoyt, O-205498, entered active military service of the United States on 30 March 1942, Kendall King Hoyt Papers, CAP National Archives
and Historical Collections.
pdf; “National Intelligence Office, Civil Air Patrol Bulletin, 3 April 1942, 2.
“New National Commander,” Civil Air Patrol Bulletin, 27 March 1942, 1, ; War Department, Headquarters of the Army Air Forces, Dudley M.
Outcalt to Air Inspector, on “Survey of the Civil Air Patrol,” 8 March 1944, 2, folder 3, Earle Levan Johnson Papers, Western Reserve Historical Society,
Cleveland, OH, Box 5; document titled “Colonel Earle L. Johnson O-901581,” Earle L. Johnson file, CAP National Archives and Historical Collections.
Outcalt, “Survey of the Civil Air Patrol,” 9.
Civil Air Patrol, “Facts About CAP,” November 1942, Kendall King Hoyt Papers, CAP National Archives and Historical Collections.
Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters, Operations Orders No. 1: Activation of CAP Coastal Patrols, 30 November 1942, CAP National Archives and
Historical Collections.
Outcalt, “Survey of the Civil Air Patrol,” 10; Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters, General Memorandum 58 (CAPC-1) to All Unit Commanders on
“Civil Air Patrol Cadets,” 1 October 1942, CAP National Archives and Historical Collections.
Memorandum from Earle L. Johnson to J.A. Ulio, 11 October 1943, third endorsement on aviation training, Barry L. Spink Collection, CAP National
Archives and Historical Collections; Robert E. Neprud, Flying Minute Men: The Story of the Civil Air Patrol (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1948),


General Memorandum No. 58, establishing the CAP cadet program, 1 October 1942. Source:

General Memorandum No. 58, establishing the CAP cadet program, Oct. 1, 1942. Source: CAP National Archives and Historical
CAP National Archives and Historical Collections.


with the senior phase now sufficiently advanced, the cadet
program represented the second step.34
This founding document for the CAP Cadet program is rather modest. Age criteria are not explicitly listed, only “students in good scholastic standing in the last or next to the
last year of senior high school,” which can be interpreted
as varying from 15 to 17 years of age. Cadets could join on
a one-to-one sponsored basis, one male cadet per male senior member, one female cadet per female senior member.
Cadet units were authorized as a counterpart to a senior
unit.35 Although simplistic in approach, the arrangement
launched the fulfilment of the “second step” of the original
plan, with the adult CAP organization providing a functional
structure and corps of experienced civil aviators to mentor
and guide the nation’s aviation-minded youth from classroom to cockpit.
Just over a week after the release of GM-58, Hoyt wrote to
Beck about his work documenting CAP’s origins and early
history. Hoyt shared information about the establishment
of the cadet program, the “second step” of Beck’s original
plans. Hoyt noted that the CAP cadet program
…will be a select corps, limited in members, under a plan
which I think unusual both from an organization and sociological standpoint. The directives have just gone out
so it will be a few days before we can gage the success
of the program but, of course, some of the Wings were
sounded out in advance and all were very enthusiastic.
Whether in view of the other national programs for
youth training in aviation which are being sponsored by
Government agencies CAP will need to go further in this
direction cannot be judged at this time, but I am confident that the program as it stands will result in very tangible progress toward the objectives which you planned
with so much foresight last year.36
Hoyt’s confidence in the program proved prescient. By

December 1943, the
modest youth effort had
grown into approximately
40,000 cadets and serving
as a key element in the
recruitment and training
of aviation cadets for the
Air Corps Enlisted Reserve and the Women’s
Army Corps, preparing
air-minded youth to join
the uniformed ranks of
America’s armed forces
on the offensive to once
again make the world safe
for democracy.37

CAP identification card for Kendall King Hoyt. Source: CAP National Archives and Historical

CAP identification card for
Kendall King Hoyt. Source:
CAP National Archives and
Historical Collections

As the CAP cadet program
moves into the next 75 years, let the names Thomas H. Beck
and Kendall K. Hoyt be remembered and recognized as two
men who shared an idea and ensured it would not be forgotten but given an opportunity to be transformed into an
actionable plan. The necessity of national defense required
Beck’s idea to be placed on hold but through Hoyt there existed an element of institutional memory at CAP National
Headquarters to ensure that when the tide of war shifted
that action would be effected. There remains additional research and analysis into the origins of the CAP cadet program; however, the results of cadet program’s humble establishment on Oct. 1, 1942, are reflected today by the tens
of thousands of current and former cadets across the nation.
Col. Frank Blazich Jr., Ph.D., is the national historian of the
Civil Air Patrol since April 2013. He is a curator of modern military history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum
of American History. He earned his doctorate in modern
American history at The Ohio State University. A native of
Raleigh, N.C., he lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

CAP National Headquarters, Special Bulletin to Aviation Writers about “Civil Air Patrol Cadets,” 9 October 1942, Barry L. Spink Collection, CAP
National Archives and Historical Collections. As fate would have it, the Telegraph Agency of the USSR, TASS, wrote CAP on 15 October 1942 requesting
information on the CAP and the new cadet program. See Betsy Pifer to Office of Civilian Defense, 15 October 1942; Earle L. Johnson to Betsy Pifer, 17
October 1942, Barry L. Spink Collection, CAP National Archives and Historical Collections.
Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters, General Memorandum 58 (CAPC-1) to All Unit Commanders on “Civil Air Patrol Cadets,” 1 October 1942,
CAP National Archives and Historical Collections.
Kendall K. Hoyt to Thomas H. Beck, 9 October 1942, Barry L. Spink Collection, CAP National Archives and Historical Collections.
Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters, “Report of Civil Air Patrol,” 28 December 1943, 2, 9-11, folder 4, Earle Levan Johnson Papers, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio, Box 1.


Civil Air Patrol
and the United States Air Force:
The Origins of a 70-Year
Lt. Col. Richard B. Mulanax, Ph.D.

The origins of Civil Air Patrol lay in two directions: the British Auxiliary Air Force and the various state efforts in the
run up to World War II to prepare for civilian support of the
armed forces of the United States.
The British Royal Air Force (RAF) was established in 1918,
combining the British Army’s Royal Flying Corps and the
Royal Navy Air Service. In the post-war world, the RAF
was faced with creating a peace time establishment of
52 squadrons, but lacked the financial resources to fund
it. This led to the creation of the Auxiliary Air Force (AAF),
an organization designed to supplement the regular force
with a volunteer, part-time, force of civilian pilots, some
of whom were veterans of World War I, and others who
would be trained once they joined up.1
As a volunteer organization, the AAF aircrews served without pay, enabling the RAF to expand its force at minimal
cost. These were true volunteers, recruited at the county
level, who were augmented by a small cadre of regular RAF
staff. The typical organization was a squadron with a regular headquarters cadre, with three flights of volunteers.
Units were integrated directly to RAF groups, and were provided combat aircraft with a combat mission. After World
War II, barrage balloon squadrons were created, manned
by AAF personnel, to defend the homeland. Barrage balloons were tethered to the ground around military targets
and population centers, and were designed to block bombs
and missiles.2
Before the war, these AAF squadrons often resembled social clubs, since pilots were officers, and officers were asso-

ciated with the upper and upper middle class of educated
and socially connected people. They were part-time and
served locally.3
Civil Air Patrol adopted the concept of volunteers serving in
aerial squadrons in support of the regular air force, but with
limitations concerning combat operations. In effect, AAF personnel served in combat units alongside regular RAF units,
which was not the case with the Civil Air Patrol.
With the British model in mind, American aviators envisioned a volunteer aviation organization, but one which
was not integrated into the armed military mission.
The genesis of Civil Air Patrol was in the Office of Civil Defense (OCD). On May 20, 1941, the OCD was created by executive order of the president. Shortly after, aviation leaders from several states approached the OCD’s new director,
Fiorello LaGuardia, about establishing a civilian auxiliary
to the OCD. For the moment, this meant that any aviation
auxiliary to the OCD would be composed of civilians flying
civil defense, not military, missions. Gill Robb Wilson, director of seronautics for the state of New Jersey, organized a
committee that went to Maj. Gen. Henry Arnold, chief of
the Army Air Corps, with the plan. The Air Corps approved
of the creation of Civil Air Patrol, but under Air Corps leadership. Wilson then went to LaGuardia and proposed the
creation of Civil Air Patrol to organize civilian aircraft and
pilots to support civil defense. LaGuardia signed the order
authorizing Civil Air Patrol on Dec. 1, 1941.4
In the meantime, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7,
1941, followed the next day by the U.S. declaration of war
against Japan. Administrative Order 9 of the OCD was issued Dec. 8, 1941, establishing Civil Air Patrol. Maj. Gen.
John F. Curry was appointed the first commander.5
The immediate threat to the United States after the war
started was the fear of invasion and German U-boat attacks
along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The Army was tasked

Jefford, Jeff, Air Reserves 1912 to Munich, in Royal Air Force History and Auxiliary Forces, Royal Air Force Historical Society, Northmoor, England, UK,
2003m, p 19-23.
Shores, Christopher, The Auxiliary Air Force in World War II, in Royal Air Force History and Auxiliary Forces, p 24.
Wilkinson, Louise, The Auxiliary Air Force: How typical wee the two elite London squadrons in relation to the wider organization?
Neprud, Robert, Flying Minutemen, p 22. For further details on the establishment and founding of Civil Air Patrol, see Blazich, Col Frank, Civil Air
Patrol Monograph, “Founding” vs “Establishment”: A Perspective on Civil Air Patrol’s Recognized Date of Origin, 2017, which can be found at http://
Neprud, p 23.


One of the major assets Civil Air Patrol brings to the Total Force is its fleet of single-engine planes, which provide “low and slow
“capabilities that the Air Force’s jets can’t match. With CAP’s trained pilots at the controls, aircrews are able to conduct missions that
require a closer look at the ground from a comparatively down tempo perspective. CAP’s 550 Cessnas make up one of the world’s
largest fleets of single-engine aircraft. Source: Civil Air Patrol Marketing and Public Awareness

with coast defense and the Navy for off-shore defense, but
both were not up to the task. This led CAP leaders to volunteer to step into the void. The Navy was skeptical about
the ability of volunteer aviators to fly coastal patrol missions in what it saw as an Army operation. Because of the
tremendous shipping losses off the coasts, especially of oil
tankers, in its desperation, the Army gave CAP the Coastal
Patrol mission. The mission was to fly non-combat spotter
flights looking for U-Boats, and then notify the Navy so that
the Navy could sink them. Some CAP planes were armed

with small aerial bombs attached externally so that they
could mark or perhaps slow down the U-boats long enough
for the Navy to arrive, despite the fact that CAP personnel
were considered non-combatants under the Geneva Convention. By 1943, the U-boat threat had abated, and combat was no longer an issue.6
The CAP Cadet Program was established on Oct. 1, 1942. Its
purpose was to provide aviation oriented, partially trained
personnel to the Army Air Forces, which was established

Neprud, pp 1-13. Civil Air Patrol was initially intended to be the civilian flying auxiliary of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), with no combat mission,
unlike the British Auxiliary Air Force. However, CAP assumed a combat mission temporarily in 1942, due to the immense damage caused to coastal
shipping along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The lack of adequate military and naval aircraft to patrol the coasts in search of German submarines
resulted in the OCD temporarily assigning CAP the Coastal Patrol mission to spot enemy submarines off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts in support of the
U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF)’s coastal defense mission. Several CAP aircraft were armed with small bombs so that they could defend themselves from
attack by deck guns, forcing the submarines to dive and delaying their escape until military and naval planes arrived to sink or capture them. By 1943,
the US Navy had sufficient aircraft and ships, and the German submarine fleet was sufficiently depleted, so that CAP was directed to stand down the
Coastal Patrol mission, and coastal patrol duties were assumed by the Navy. That same year, CAP was transferred to the War Department (Army) to
support other non-combat USAAF missions, including the Cadet Program which was vital to USAAF recruitment and training, and CAP was designated the official auxiliary of the USAAF. CAP then returned to its original civilian non-combatant flying mission, but this time in support of the USAAF
instead of the OCD, and this relationship continued when CAP became the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force in 1948.



the same year. A combination of the successful Coastal Patrol and the effectiveness of the Cadet Program in providing
Army Air Forces personnel resulted in an executive order by
President Roosevelt on April 23, 1943, transferring Civil Air
Patrol to the Army Air Forces and designating Civil Air Patrol
as the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Army Air Forces.
CAP continued as the official auxiliary of the U.S. Army Air
Forces until CAP was chartered as a Congressionally chartered private corporation.7
On July 1, 1946, Public Law 476 incorporated Civil Air Patrol
as an aviation-oriented public organization. The Army Air
Forces agreed to provide the commander and headquarters staff, under the overall guidance of a civilian corporate
board. When the Air Force was established as a separate
service on Sept. 18, 1947, the Army Air Forces staff was
transferred to the Air Force, and management of Civil Air
Patrol became an Air Force responsibility.8
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Carl Spaatz convened a conference of Air Force and CAP leaders in 1947 to make recommendations on the future relationship of the Air Force and
CAP, and this led to the Air Force supporting Public Law 557
on May 26, 1948, designating Civil Air Patrol as the auxiliary
of the Air Force. This officially lead to the partnership between the Air Force and Civil Air Patrol that has endured for
70 years, during peace and war.9
Today, CAP has been more fully integrated into the Total
Force mission, which consists of the active Air Force, Air
Force Reserve, Air National Guard, and the auxiliary, Civil
Air Patrol. In 2010, the Government Accountability noted
CAP’s potential of service to the Department of Homeland
Security through support of Air Force homeland security

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reserves the right to refuse publication to any member based on the content of the letter.
CAP members are encouraged to maintain a professional and collegial attitude when submitting correspondence.

The rise in terrorist activity in the last year points toward
greater involvement by CAP in supporting the Air Force and
the other Armed Forces and other Government departments in defending the nation. Weather-related natural
disasters are on the increase, and this will also be a call to
action for CAP emergency services, in cooperation with the
Air Force.
Civil Air Patrol will continue partnering with the Air Force
in its three core missions of emergency services, aerospace
education, and cadet programs, unchanged since World
War II.
Lt. Col. Richard B. Mulanax is CAP National History Staff
Research Division Head. He is a retired full professor of
history at Indian River State College, where he taught for
twenty years, and a retired Air Force major who served
as an assistant professor in the Department of History at
the U.S. Air Force Academy and as an international politico-military affairs officer in Air Force Special Operations

Neprud, p 71.
CAPP 50-5, April 2013.
CAPP 50-5, April 2013.
Mulanax, Richard, A Chronology of Civil Air Patrol’s Annual Reports to Congress, 1941.2016, in the CAP National History Journal, Jul-Dec 2016.