Civil Air Patrol
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Emergency Services


Growing from its World War II experience, the Civil Air Patrol has continued to save lives and alleviate human suffering through a myriad of emergency-services and operational missions.

Search and Rescue

Perhaps best known for its search-and-rescue efforts, CAP flies more than 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fl. Outside the continental United States, CAP supports the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Just how effective are the CAP missions? Nearly 100 people are saved each year by CAP members.

Disaster Relief

Another important service CAP performs is disaster-relief operations. CAP provides air and ground transportation and an extensive communications network. Volunteer members fly disaster-relief officials to remote locations and provide manpower and leadership to local, state and national disaster-relief organizations. CAP has formal agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies including the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Humanitarian Services

CAP flies humanitarian missions, usually in support of the Red Cross-transporting time-sensitive medical materials including blood and human tissue, in situations where other means of transportation are not available.

Air Force Support

It’s hardly surprising that CAP performs several missions in direct support of the U.S. Air Force. Specifically, CAP conducts light transport, communications support, and low-altitude route surveys. CAP also provides orientation flights for AFROTC cadets. Joint U.S. Air Force and CAP search-and-rescue exercises provide realistic training for missions.


CAP joined the “war on drugs” in 1986 when, pursuant to congressional authorization, CAP signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Customs Service offering CAP resources to help stem the flow of drugs into and within the United States.

Getting started in ES

There are many specialty qualifications within Emergency Services and navigating your way through them can be confusing. In all cases, CAP members must start with obtaining their 101 Card. After that, obtaining your Ground Team Member 3 (GTM-3)/Urban Direction Finding (UDF) rating is the most common route. In the links below we will discuss how CAP members can begin their certification process.

Getting your CAP Form 101 (101 Card)
Equipment List
Curriculum book for Ground Teams and Urban Direction Finders

Specialty Qualification Training Records (SQTR)

Once you have your GES you can start training as an Urban Direction Finding Team member (UDF) and a Ground Team Member (GTM). Each of these achievement levels requires training in specific tasks (called SQTRs) and experience from field exercises. As you progress you can obtain additional achievement levels. An understanding of what each SQTR can be found in the links below:

Aircrew & Flightline Tasks
Mission Aircrew School Curriculum
Ground & Urban Direction Finding Team Tasks
Ground Search & Rescue Curriculum
Mission Base Staff Tasks
ICS School Curriculum

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