b'Though Edwards and Sharp were the first civilians toAIR MEDALreceive the Air Medal, they were joined by others from theirThe Air Medal, established by own ranks. In 1948, 824 Air Medals were presented to CAPExecutive Order 9158, May 11, members. 1942, as amended by Executive The coastal patrols stood down in Aug. 31, 1943, but theOrder 9242, Sept. 11, 1942.fledgling organizations other World War II missions continued.The Air Medal is awarded to While Air Medals were issued for some of those participatingU.S. and civilian personnel for in the coastal patrols, little other recognition was forthcomingsingle acts of heroism or mer-for the myriad of humanitarian services CAPs volunteersitoriousachievementswhile provided during the war. participating in aerial flight and We who served asked for nothing in return and gotforeignmilitarypersonnelin nothing, said former U.S. Rep. Lester Wolff, D-N.Y., whoactualcombatinsupportof commanded a CAP squadron based at Mitchell Field on Longoperations.Island, N.Y., during World War II. Requiredachievementislessthanthatrequiredforthe Often, it was a perilous task, Wolff said, recalling the lossDistinguishedFlyingCross,butmustbeaccomplishedwith of one of his squadron members. Remember; many of thesedistinctionaboveandbeyondthatexpectedofprofessional civilian planes, though not built specifically for the task, hadairmen. It is not awarded for peace time sustained operational bombs and depth charges strapped to them. activities and flights.Sixty-eight CAP members died26 of them lost atseaas a result of the war effort. Their ranks, more than 200,000 strong at wars end, CAP Col. Robert Arn flew anti-sub missions out of included not only ordinary men, women and teenagers in Coastal Patrol Base No. 14 in Panama City, Fla., fromcommunities throughout the country but also such prominent September 1942 to June 1943. Of the 12 original pilots hefigures as a noted Hollywood director and a world-famous served with at Panama City, we lost six of them, said Arn,pianist, a Munchkin from The Wizard of Oz and a sitting who flew 179 missions totaling 557 hours of flight time overstate governor, a storied Wall Street financier and a pioneering the Gulf of Mexico. African-American female aviator, future Tuskegee Airmen, I think with the aircraft we had, which werent built to gothe head of a major brewery and founder of a famousout over the Gulf of Mexico, we were able to do a job and dodoughnut chain.it well, he said. Notably, Civil Air Patrol served as a pioneering opportunity So many people forget that our little effort contributed for the nations women to serve the nation in uniform. so much, especially in terms of providing protection forThrough CAP, countless women wore a uniform on behalfshipping, said Wolff. of their nation, representing a catalyst for increasingThe coastal patrol service helped force the German Navy tofemale participation in civil aviation. More than half of the move further offshore. It was a significant result from a newlyWomens Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) served in CAP formed civilian organization. during some part of the war. So did many of the members The success of the coastal patrols spawned other missionsof the Womens Army Corps (WAC), Women Accepted on behalf of the war effort with thousands more joining thefor Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) and the Marine cause. Forest fire patrols, disaster relief, medical evacuation,Corps Womens Reserve.radar training missions and observation flights to check By 1944, one in four members of Civil Air Patrol was a the effectiveness of blackouts, industrial camouflage andwoman, and they were flying important inland missions.smokescreens were but a handful of the other operationsBeginning in October 1942, a CAP cadet programcompleted by the CAP.allowed young men and women from 15 to 18 to serve in the Nationwide, CAP quickly established itself as a vitalorganization. The cadet program extended the benefits of the resource to the military and communities across the nation.senior program and prepared many young men and women These included 20,500 missions involving towing aerialthrough CAP training for military service. In 1943, CAP gunnery targets for live-fire antiaircraft gunnery training andworked with the Army Air Forces to recruit aviation cadets nighttime tracking missions for searchlights. and allowed 17-year-old members of the Air Corps Enlisted Along the Rio Grande, CAP aircraft flew 30,000 hours Reserve to receive CAP training while awaiting call-up to to prevent illegal border crossings and report any unusualactive military duty.activities. A courier service serving three major Army Air Forces commands carried over 3.5 million pounds of cargo,By wars end, over 80,000 young Americans had servedflying more than 20,000 miles daily. A search and rescuein CAP, providing the Army Air Forces with a pool of pilotsservice used CAP air and ground units to searching isolatedand aircrew for the latter stages of the war and the postwarmountains and forested terrain for lost military aircraft. military. CAPs success with coastal patrol and otherThe citizens who served in CAP came from all walks of life.military-supported operations contributed to its transfer Some were rich, bringing along their own planes. Others by executive order in April 1943 from the Office of Civilian were not, but they all had a common thread: They were allDefense to the War Department. volunteers eager to serve their country. .continued on page 30Thank You For Your Service Military Appreciation Resource Magizine 29'