Written by David Shivers
The Albany-based unit of the Civil Air Patrol is the oldest in Georgia and is still flying high.
CAP squadron commander Fred Broome spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County on March 4 about the CAP’s history and objectives. He related that the national CAP was chartered in 1942 shortly after the United States entered World War II, with the initial mission of patrolling the Atlantic coast for German submarines.The organization’s emergency services have expanded over the years and now consist of disaster relief, search-and-rescue missions, counterdrug efforts (such as marijuana flyovers), and Homeland Security efforts.
The Albany squadron is one several in southern half of the state and is based at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport. Others include Columbus, Macon, Savannah and Valdosta. The current local membership , said Broome, is about 38 members split almost evenly between senior and junior members. The group meets weekly on Tuesday evenings and holds monthly special activities for cadets. Search-and-rescue training exercises are conducted every four months.
The CAP is an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. Nationwide, said Lt. Col. Broome, there are some 60,000 members.
The CAP Cadet Program has four aspects: Leadership skills, aerospace education, physical fitness, and character development. All are integral to instilling the CAP’s core values of integrity, volunteer service, excellence, and respect.
Cadets in training, Broome said, are taken on training flights; the Air Force pays for five powered flights and four glider flights. The cadets are not, however, allowed to accompany on actual missions.
The cadet summer camp was held at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany last year and is scheduled there again this year, said Broome, who is a veteran of the Army and Army Reserve as well as the U.S. Navy.
There are local opportunities to assist the Civil Air Patrol by becoming either a volunteer or patron member. Citizens can also make donations or become sponsors.