civil air patrol

With people around the globe marking the one-year anniversary of the global coronavirus pandemic, it’s good to hear tales of those heroes who’ve worked tirelessly and often with few or no thanks for their work but who have made a big difference.

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is one such organization. March 24th marked the 365th day that pilots and support personnel for CAP turned out in support of a massive humanitarian response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

General Mark Smith, CAP’s commander and CEO, said, “Today we begin Year Two of our COVID-19 operations. These missions are making a big difference in our local communities, our states and our nation,” he said, adding, “Over 41,000 volunteer days have been logged in our biggest endeavor since World War II. On top of that, volunteers and staff have innovated to conquer pandemic-imposed roadblocks to ensure we get the business of CAP done.”

What CAP is exactly isn’t well understood. The organization is an auxiliary of the Air Force, and it works in concert with that branch to quicky gear up and respond to domestic emergencies and other events, offering aid in the immediate and ongoing wake of hurricanes and earthquakes. When they’re working on such Air Force-assigned missions, CAP members play a vital role in saving lives, and more, as they provide humanitarian assistance in many forms, all depending on need.

In support of the American Red Cross, which has suffered a dramatic and threatening downturn in blood donations over the past year, CAP’s Operation Pulse Lift blood collection program topped the 2,500-unit mark recently. During the past year, CAP has delivered 2,803 units of blood, 8,209,955 meals, 1,154,861 pounds of food, 2.6 million-plus masks, 177,407 test kits, 116,792 test samples and 7,493 vials of vaccine.