April 21, 2010

Crapo Honors Civil Air Patrol Members

Bipartisan legislation salutes WW II efforts

Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to members of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) who provided, as civilian volunteers using their own aircraft, extraordinary public and combat emergency services during World War II. Crapo joins Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the Commander of the Congressional Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, and Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) in introducing the legislation.

"World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol stood willing through austere weather conditions, with minimal resources, and often flew their personal aircraft," Crapo said. "These exemplary Americans served a unique and critical role in defending our nation's coasts and deserve the utmost recognition for their selfless service."

"During World War II the Civil Air Patrol stepped up and played a vital role in protecting Americans during a critical time of need for the nation," said Harkin. "These heroes courageously answered the call of duty and deserve to be honored for their extraordinary service."

"During World War II these courageous men and women dutifully patrolled our air space, searched for submarines off our coasts, and provided our nation with whatever they were asked to give. They made the same sacrifices that I and thousands of uniformed armed service members made during that historic conflict," said Inouye, a Medal of Honor recipient. "They deserve our praise and should be honored for their service."

During World War II, members of the Civil Air Patrol started an anti-submarine coastal patrol off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts in March, 1942. With aircraft that was often times only equipped with a compass and a single radio, and lacking any personal safety equipment, the civil air patrol flew over 24 million miles in 18 months. CAP operations reported 173 submarines and found 325 survivors of attacks. Over 200,000 civilians were CAP members who flew total of about 750,000 hours during the war, most of which were in their personal aircraft and often at real risk to their lives. CAP operations were characterized by an exceptional emphasis on safety, discipline and organization. However, by the end of the war, 64 members of the CAP died in service.