The Yellowstone Regional Composite Squadron will join other units of Civil Air Patrol across the nation in observing the organization’s anniversary, said Lt Col BJ Carlson, squadron commander.

Civil Air Patrol (CAP) was founded Dec. 1, 1941, by a group of aviation enthusiasts and private pilots who wanted to donate their time and aircraft to protect the nation’s coastlines during World War II and to perform other critical civil defense missions.

Now celebrating its 80th year, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine Cessna aircraft and more than 2,100 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of all search and rescue operations within the contiguous United States as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 130 lives during the past fiscal year. CAP’s 56,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.

As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education resources. Members also serve as mentors to more than 22,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.

“Due to current COVID restrictions, public events will be on hold until a later date,” Carlson said. “An open house will be scheduled once the restrictions are lifted.”

The Yellowstone Squadron meets every Tuesday evening from 6:30-8:30 at the Powell WY Armory at 1102 East 7th St. The squadron serves the Big Horn Basin area and anyone wishing to learn more about Civil Air Patrol and the cadet program is welcome to attend a meeting. It would be best to contact Carlson (capcommander@gmail.com) prior to visiting to confirm the date and time. To learn more, visit the CAP website at gocivilairpatrol.com.

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