Offutt’s CAP squadron celebrates 65th anniversary

  • Published
  • By L. Cunningham
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

Offutt’s Civil Air Patrol Squadron, General Curtis E. Lemay Offutt Composite Squadron, was stood Dec.1, 1956, and celebrated its 65th Anniversary.

It is the longest continuously operating squadron at Offutt and is currently housed in the oldest building on the base, built in 1893 as a regimental blacksmith, tinsmith, plumber, paint, carpenter and wheelwright shop.

The squadron, with 45 members, is currently lead by its 37th squadron commander, Capt. David Farley, who assumed command earlier this year.

“CAP has given me the opportunity to continue working in emergency services and help build foundations of our Cadets that they will use throughout the rest of their life,” Farley said. “As squadron commander, having the opportunity to lead this group of 45 outstanding civic minded individuals is an honor.” 

CAP was founded December 1941, one week before the U.S. entered World War II and is celebrating its 80th anniversary. Its mission has evolved over the past eight decades to meet the ever-changing needs of America’s communities with advanced lifesaving technology and world-class programs in youth development and education.

The CAP has more than 56,000 members nationwide, youth and adult members, volunteer their time and talent to perform essential emergency services, advance aerospace and STEM education, and provide youth programs that build character, enhance physical and mental fitness, and shape the leaders of tomorrow.

“Congratulations, and happy anniversary, Civil Air Patrol. I’m happy to be here with you, and to be working with you as a partner every day,” said Brig. Gen. William D. Betts, vice commander, First Air Force and Air Forces Northern Command, who touted the organization’s ability to always adapt so that its members stay mission-ready.

Programs for CAP cadets age 12-18 focus on developing well-rounded community-minded servant leaders by integrating education, enhancing physical fitness, increasing confidence and more. Civil Air Patrol is also helping address the looming national pilot shortage with innovative programs like Cadet Wings that provide scholarships to train cadets 17 and older to be private pilots — an opportunity that can change the trajectory of a young life.

Civil Air Patrol’s education programs for youth span grades K-12 with science-based aviation and aerospace education curriculum, interactive STEM kits, and career exploration. Volunteer University, the organization’s adult learning center of excellence, provides online, on-site, and on-demand opportunities for adult members to hone existing skills and learn new ones to help create a highly trained and effective volunteer workforce.

The most distinguished of Offutt’s former Cadets is Air Force Academy Graduate Gen. Michael E. Ryan, who served as the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff of the from Oct. 1997 – Sept. 2001.

“The fact that CAP has lasted for 80 years is a testament to the importance and flexibility of the organization,” said Farley. “The first CAP mission was to establish costal patrol flights along the Atlantic coast to spot German submarines. CAP today specializes emergency services, aerospace education and Cadet Programs.”