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August 17, 2006



Why is it that we keep moving farther and farther away from the mon... I mean USAF?


The story I heard was that one of our planes was flying over DC just after 9/11/01 and almost got popped by a F-16 because it wasn't easily identifiable. The "USAF Aux" was supposed to fix this.

Since it's probably a safe bet that not all USAF pilots know what the Civil Air Patrol is, I wonder if we'll be installing IFF units instead of painting USAF on our tails?


I was the one who noticed the change and made the comment on the portal. When was the change authorized??? Who authorized it?? I never saw a letter or policy change nor it discussed in any NEC or NB meeting.

and most of all..........WHY?????

Right Seater

I'm starting to think that there is a concerted effort by the powers-that-be to distance the entire organization from USAF. First, there was the big push by the National Commander to go to the new corporate uniform (away from the USAF blues) and now we're removing USAF from our aircraft. What's next?


I fear our time as the USAF Aux is nearing an end. So much for sixy plus years in service to America. It appears we will become a beneveolent corporation for sale to any bidder. Anyone willing to pay for us to do a job, be it a search for realestate property, surveys for cell phone towers, or following wayward husbands via aerial surveilence for private eyes is around the corner.

For some it will be welcome...a chance to fly on someone else's dime.

For those of us who want to serve our country....we will be left out in the pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Tribal Elder

On finance side, tighter controls.

On OPS side, tighter controls.

Our 'front office' into distinctive corporate uniform.

Aircraft markings (and vehicle markings) changing--less USAFish.

Smokey could be right-- maybe we're being repackaged to be sold/traded to another set of bureaucrats.

That might increase the mission load and scope. That might mean we lose our 'USAF-Aux' status or we spin off the cadet program. Maybe it means region commanders become fulltime federal employees for GSA'a interagency airlift pool.

We are a valuable subcontractor to USAF, as long as they have inland SAR on their plate. We are so cheap to use--provided we don't offset those savings with the liability exposures.

Is a bureaucrat somewhere saying --'$75-100/ flying hour ? Just tighten up operating standards to reduce that risk and get rid of those pesky teenagers... Tell SecAF we'll do the deal Take Inland SAR off their plate, if he'll unbundle the kids from the deal.'

Or maybe we've gotten too close to USAF and it time for us to step back or get pushed.


MMM... CAP seperates from USAF means I'm out. I have better things to do than become the next Sea Cadet Corps.

And any beaurocrat who would say what was just mentioned above deserves a slap in the face.


MMM... CAP seperates from USAF means I'm out. I have better things to do than become the next Sea Cadet Corps.

And any beaurocrat who would say what was just mentioned above deserves a slap in the face.


Six, you're forgetting the clever photoshop job on the 206 on the CAP website:"



Slow down a little. You all need to take a look at AFI 10-2701, para 2.8.1. It restricts the use of USAF, USAF Axiliary markings on our aircraft for certan missions. This might be being done for the new border missions.

I have been active in the program for 38 yrs. It has it's ups and downs, but I don't believe we are going anywhere.


Ohio Guard is probably right. Even though TP identified CAP involvement in border patrols in terms of a SAR mission, looking for dying illegals, we all really know that the mission is in direct support of the Border Patrol, and is, therefore, a law enforcement mission.

BTW, Ohio Guard, who are you? Mark Haddad?


If there are ulterior reasons for the aircraft insignia change, perhaps it is to align more closely with the Department of Homeland Security? Border Patrol, FEMA, TSA, US Coast Guard now call DHS home.

I am not a CAP member but am interested. At a local USAF open house, I asked the CAP folks what sort of missions they were undertaking locally. The answers I received were in regards to three searches done hundreds of miles away and possibly over the last 1 to 2 years. That's all? Hmmmmm. Moving to DHS might expand the mission. I'll explain ...

From what I have read here about the retention problem, I suspect the lack of real (versus training) missions is a significant factor for certain Wings. DHS - and its expanding role in civilian security - from border patrol (BP) to aviation security (TSA) to disaster response (FEMA) - could give CAP more missions in a wide variety, and expand its value to the nation.

There is nothing wrong with making strategic changes in order to respond to the new environment around us.

Tribal Elder

I have been active in the program for 38 yrs. It has it's ups and downs, but I don't believe we are going anywhere.

Posted by: OhioGuard | August 17, 2006 at 15:11

I hope Ohio Guard is right.

But, our big volume, wholesale mission for USAF, chasing ELT's, runs out soon. I believe that's the reason why USAF has kept us. They have this mission, inland SAR, that doesn't fit well with their core business, the slaying of people and breaking of things actively inimical to the interests of the United States through airpower. If they can subcontract inland SAR to us cheap enough they want us. But, if they can dump that mission ...

If ARCC can dial up the aircraft owner at home, 98% of ELT chases end. The ones that remain are much more likely to be truly 'missing'. If you can thin out the 98% false activations, and remaining 2% can be treated as sirens-and-flashing lights events starting when ARCC makes the call. They become rescues, not SEARCH and rescue.

If I were a bureaucrat with FEMA, wishing to extend my empire, one way would by to take over Inland SAR. Now that it's gonna be more Inland Rescue, with the false alarms shifted out at the Nat'l Call Center, I could use existing full-time paid firefighters and police for these responses under current mutual aid agreements. I could pass out money. I could give grants.

My press conference would include something like-

"The technology of SAR has advanced, and, with those advances, FEMA has improved the level of service in this critical area. This new technology allows faster identification of truly missing aircraft, and eliminates the need for the national network of volunteer searchers formerly supplied by the Civil Air Patrol.

America owes them a lot for their 60+ years of dedicated service.

Next question ..."

Like I said, hope Ohio Guard is right.


Tribal Elder makes a good point, and one that requires some serious consideration. It brings up a point that I've mentioned before.

We have GOT to get geared up to be a player in the Global War of Terror!

One of the most common failings of military organizations to to be very ready to fight the last war. SAR has changed in our lifetimes. (Well, MINE anyway.) It will change some more. We can still offer some excellent service providing light aircraft support to the USAF, but we have GOT to be a few things:

1. Trained professionals. Talk the talk, walk the walk, and keep in step with USAF officers. The only difference in USAF and CAP officers should be on payday, and the fact that many of us are too old.

2. Relavant. We need to prepare ourselves for the missions that will be needed to be flown in GWOT. Top-cover for Guard and reserve convoys in mobilizations and exercises. Emergency airlift of VIP's and critical supplies. Transforming GA airports into emergency military airfields within hours. Patrols of critical infrastructure assets, like power plants and bridges. This may require some legislative changes.

3. Flexible, invovled, and aggressive. We need to, as an organization, have a "Put me in, Coach" can-do attitude. Even if it means doing different things in ways that are new. We cannot sit back and say "This is how we did things back in (insert year), and this is how we'll always do things." Things change. Be ready.

OLD 1505

I can't beleave how much CAP has changed since I was a cadet in the 1960s. I have been back as a Senior Member since 2002. I wanted to do something for my country after 911 and I was too old to go back into the Air Force so I joined CAP to work woth cadets. I right found that the Air Force was very missing and once an while a AF person would show up. And I find that Squadrons have to beg a place to have meetings unless you want pay out or own pocket to get things done.There is very little support from the higher ups in CAP or USAF. Where my Squadron located, there is no AFB or any other base, Then there were five uniforms to choose from ,What ! there was only one uniform that I remember when I was a cadet AIR FORCE . But if you don't want to cut your hair or your beard you have a uniform for you. Then the unrealistic weight standards are a joke. How many 190lb 600 foot men do you know who are 45 to 55 years old Right ! So lets wear something that make us look like a POLICE SWAT Member. Now we are taking Off the USAF AUX off the uniforms airplanes and vehicles. Whats next red bennies ! I guess I wanted to bring back the pride and uniformity of the UASF to CAP, The cadets want it but for the most part except for seniors who work with cadets , Most could give a rip. They just want to fly and do ground teams and nothing else. There is nothing wrong with that. But there are young eyes watching us as a mentors, and You are who they are watching everytime you put that uniform or flight suit on. And with out Good seniors and a USAF that cares and helps we will be the New Sea Scouts..


Not to fan any flames, but I just saw this paragraph in the CAWG CC NB Notes (Oh how I hate all the initialisms):

We are changing the signage on the doors of vans and aircraft to now say CAP instead of USAF Aux. This is being done so that we can use these assets on other than Air Force missions. Since we are doing missions for other agencies, it is necessary that we remove anything that says USAF Aux on mission equipment.


In response to Landis' comment:
"We are changing the signage on the doors of vans and aircraft to now say CAP instead of USAF Aux. This is being done so that we can use these assets on other than Air Force missions. Since we are doing missions for other agencies, it is necessary that we remove anything that says USAF Aux on mission equipment."

We are trying to sell our services to other agencies (LE, HS, etc.). I've been personally involved with some of this at a squadron level. It's a tough sell and we absolutely must have credibility/legitimacy in order to do so. The "Air Force Auxiliary" title provides us with a lot of that credibility. Although people may not know exactly what the USAF Aux. means, they make an association and give it more weight than CAP (right, wrong or other). As we all are aware, the Civil Air Patrol has an identity problem. The way to solve that is to build upon and leverage our relationship with the Air Force, not further distance ourselves.

Once again, I am in disagreement with decisions coming out of National. Will decisions such as these continue to alienate membership such as myself? Stay tuned (but I won't be surprised).


The terms "senior member" does promote the image of white-haired (or any-haired) senior citizens. I suspect the terms came because of a need to differentiate adult members from cadets. Let's look at it from the standpoint of police departments or the military, which have cadets. The adult members are referred to as officers and the cadets are referred to as cadets. If we don't like the word "officer," what's wrong with just "members"? I understand cadets are members too, but perhaps cadets can enjoy a special membership category.


Having been in CAP for almost 30 years, including four as a cadet, I have seen that CAP has had a history of identity problems for decades, and it gets worse with age. This is not a problem, as much as it is a reflection of the reality of who we are today vs. what we were yesterday. CAP does perform missions that may not be compatible with the Air Force's missions. If you think about it, our missions are more closely aligned with DHS (e.g., the Coast Guard), the FAA, and state agencies than with the defense-oriented Air Force. The AF is a military, combatant organization. We can't get away from those roles quickly enough, and that has been the case since Day 1.

Here is another example of how we try to make something of ourselves that we are not. BDUs. Why would CAP members wear BDUs? Because that's what the Air Force wears. However, these uniforms are meant to camouflage the wearer in a combat environment (hence the name BATTLE dress uniform). In CAP, on an emergency services mission, we want to do anything but camouflage ourselves. That's why we put the orange vests on. What if we went to a truly more usable uniform that we didn't have to hide with another one, like lime-yellow or hunter orange shirts? Certainly those would be more in keeping with emergency services functions than BDUs. Even the SWAT style uniforms are at least more in line with what the Coast Guard wears, and I would say we have more in common with the Coast Guard's noncombatant mission than with the Air Force's defense missions.

Here is another possible motive to try to distance CAP from the AF: recruitment, especially of cadets. Some people don't feel comfortable with having their kids in a ready state to go into the military once they are of age. I am not interjecting my ideas of military service or anything like that. I was at a public event a few months ago, and some parents I talked to held reservations about this very issue. Once I explained to them that CAP is NOT the Air Force (like the Air Guard or AF Reserve), they seemed more receptive to the idea of their kids enrolling in CAP. Especially with the current state of affairs regarding deployement of defense assets to hostile areas of the world, you can see why some people might be apprehensive of such an association.

Sometimes an association with a larger organization can get in the way of what the subsidiary organization does. Look at the corporate world for examples. Is there an advantage for Cessna to identify itself with its parent, Textron? CAP is distinct in the AF family, and there are advantages to that distinction. We enjoy the benefits of being part of the AF family, but we definitely do not have the same or even similar relationship to the Air Force as the Air National Guard or the AF Reserve.

Bottom line is that we are unique, and identifying our assets as part of the USAF is not accurate or even advantageous, at times. Before we all start going off the deep end and assume the worst, let's look at more likely scenarios. Hopefully, our management, at the corporate and DoD levels, are intelligent and rational human beings who are trying to do what's best for CAP, its customers and its stakeholders.

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