ANDREWS AFB, Md. --
An open house was hosted Nov. 30, by a tenant unit here, who provides search and rescue support to the National Capital Region.
The open house was held to explain the three missions of the Civil Air Patrol, display equipment used in search and rescue operations and educate visitors on opportunities available.
"The three missions of the Civil Air Patrol are cadet programs, aerospace education and emergency services operations," said CAP Maj.
Paul S. Cianciolo, Andrews Squadron commander. "The CAP is the only all volunteer force."
The tenant unit hosts more than 100 aerospace education workshops each year, with aerospace classroom materials ranging from kindergarten to college level.
A part of the open house featured some common equipment used during search and rescue missions and a demonstration of how the technology works.
"The CAP performs more than 95 percent of the nation's inland search and rescue operations, saving on average more than 100 lives per year," said CAP Capt. Joe E. Gleason, Emergency Services officer. "We do disaster relief and damage assessment, search and rescue, and we assisted evacuating people during hurricane Katrina as well as being the first non-military flight allowed over New York following the World Trade Center attack."
The all volunteer force is the auxiliary of the Air Force and separated into eight geographic regions with 52 wings and 1,700 units total. The CAP National Headquarters is based at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. The Civil Air Patrol consists of the world's largest fleet of 535 single-engine, piston aircraft and 1,000 emergency services vehicles.
"One of the things we use is a typical radio you can find at any electronics store," said Captain Gleason. "It can pick up the frequency of the emergency beacon from aircrafts."
The open house featured a formation by 16 cadet Airmen followed by a promotion and awarding of the Amelia Earheart award.
A milestone of the cadet program is the Amelia Earheart Award, which has existed since 1964, and is earned after a cadet has completed 11 out of 16 segments of the cadet program.
According to the CAP Web-site, the cadet program provides opportunities for the learning, maturing, accepting and nurturing of leadership of more than 25,000 young Americans ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Advice and assistance from CAP members at national, regional, state and local levels, and the Air Force is given to cadets, which are exposed to a structured program of aerospace education, leadership, physical fitness, moral and ethical values.
The CAP consists of more than 59,917 volunteers with more than 34,874 senior members from ages 18 to 96 and more than 25,043 cadets from ages 12 to 18.
The CAP accepts all volunteers including Active Duty servicemembers.
"Servicemembers who volunteer for the CAP can hold two ranks," said the major. "They can be a staff sergeant in the Air Force and a captain in the CAP at the same time. They are also eligible to receive the Department of Defense Volunteer Service Medal and attend Air War College by correspondence.
The CAP contains a wide variety of volunteer opportunities for servicemembers and civilians alike.
For more information, visit www.natcapwg.cap.gov
or call 202-767-7776.