The newest Civil Air Patrol (CAP) unit in Louisiana held its inaugural meeting to officially launch its unit, CENLA Flight 270, on June 4, 2019 at the Leesville Airport.

In the presence of LTC James Viney, Vice Commander for the State of Louisiana Civil Air Patrol Wing, and COL Ed Jones, Commander of the Lake Charles Composite Squadron, cadets, recruits and family members were introduced to the commanders and senior staff of CENLA Flight 270.

Following introductions and a few short descriptions of their military careers and experiences with CAP, parents and potential recruits were given a brief overview of what CAP is.

They were also told of the many programs the CAP uses to foster a youth’s interest in aviation and aeronautics, and the impact it has in instilling the values and discipline needed in the young leaders of tomorrow.

The Civil Air Patrol is a congressionally chartered, federally supported non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF).

It is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles and occupations.

It performs three congressionally assigned key missions: emergency services, which includes search and rescue (by air and ground) and disaster relief operations; aerospace education for youth and the general public; and cadet programs for teenage youth.

The idea of a civilian air patrol came in the late 1930s by aviation advocate Gill Robb Wilson, who foresaw general aviation's potential to supplement America's military operations.

At the time Fiorello H. LaGuardia was the Mayor of New York and he was also the Director of the Office of Civilian Defense. He signed Administrative Order 9, 1 December 1941 creating the Civil Air Patrol.

The Civil Air Patrol had 90 days to prove they were needed and able to make a difference in helping American forces.

During World War II, CAP was seen as a way to use America's civilian aviation resources to aid the war effort instead of grounding them. The organization assumed many missions including anti-submarine patrol and warfare, border patrols, and courier services.

CAP pilots flew 24 million miles and sighted 173 enemy U-boats, and dropped a total of 82 bombs and depth charges during WWII, reportedly destroying two submarines.

By the end of the war, 68 CAP members had lost their lives in the line of duty.

After World War II, CAP became the civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force, and its incorporating charter declared that it would never again be involved in direct combat activities, but would be of a benevolent nature.

Today, CAP members operate the largest fleet of single-engine piston aircraft in the world with 560 planes who are active in providing support, both on the ground and in the air, during disaster situations. In 2018 through the efforts CAP members, 158 lives were saved and 712 “finds” were recorded through Air Force-assigned search and rescue missions.

CAP is active in stimulating an interest in STEM education for adult and cadet members who have an interest in aviation and aeronautics.

Through one of their many programs, free flying lessons and training on how to operate a drone are possible.

Cadets are also exposed to cyber defense careers through CyberPatriot, the Air Force Association’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition.

CAP even provides educators with more than forty free educational programs and products as well as offering grant and college credit opportunities for adult and teacher members.

CENLA Flight 270 will be under the direction of Commander Doug Plummer. LTC Ron Kariker will serve as Deputy Commander; Ralph McRae is Chief Pilot and Aerospace Officer; CW5 Jimmie Evans will be in charge of Search & Rescue and Safety; Bill Pardue is the Finance Officer; Jeremy Ousley is in charge of Drill and Ceremonies, and Al Pagliaro is the units Chaplain.

CAP CENLA Flight 270 meetings will take place at the Leesville Airport every Tuesday from 6:30PM-8:30PM.

For more information call Ron Kariker at 281-732-5812 or 337-286-5212.