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About the Wing

A Cessna from Civil Air Patrol's National Capital Wing flies over the Jefferson Memorial.

There are 52 wings in Civil Air Patrol, one for each state, the District of Columbia (which encompasses the Washington, D.C., area), and Puerto Rico (which encompasses the U.S. Virgin Islands). National Capital Wing is CAP’s 50th wing, which was activated in 1948 to serve as a model for the nation and its territories, to be readily available for the proving of new procedures and policies, and for the purpose of demonstrating to distinguished foreigners the work of Civil Air Patrol. National Capital Wing is the only wing without specific geographical boundaries.

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The wing-level of Civil Air Patrol is the operational component of the nonprofit organization for performing missions as the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary. The wing is comprised of the wing headquarters and all units (groups, squadrons, and flights) within its “geographical boundary,” which consists of the District of Columbia; Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, and part of Fairfax County in Virginia; and parts of Prince George’s County in Maryland. The wing also operates aircraft out of Manassas Regional Airport (KHEF) and Stafford Regional Airport (KRMN) in Virginia outside of its “boundaries.”

Wing aircrews routinely fly over the national capital area acting as tracks of interest to test and train military and law enforcement air defense capabilities, which includes recurring monthly training with the Joint Air Defense Operation Center. Aerial missions also include route surveys, sensor tests, hurricane recovery efforts, aircrew training, pilot proficiency, and youth orientation flights. The wing staffs the D.C. Emergency Operations Center during National Security Special Events and major disasters to provide air, ground, and radio communication resources. Teams also provide counter-drone support to help train military and homeland security personnel.

$2,735,797 value of the wing’s volunteer hours in 2019

The wing commander has command authority and responsibility for all units and their assigned members within the wing. The wing headquarters and subordinate units are managed by all-volunteer members. The wing has one part-time employee for financial and administrative tasks.

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The only units established within the National Capital Wing are subordinate squadrons. The squadron is the community‐level organization of CAP. Squadrons are charged with recruiting individuals to accomplish CAP’s missions and programs, ensuring those members are trained and developed to accomplish those missions and programs, and stewarding CAP resources to prepare for use in CAP’s operational missions. Wing commanders activate squadrons in accordance with CAP regulations, which must maintain a minimum number of members. Squadrons are designated as either Cadet, Composite, or Senior depending on their membership makeup.

The Squadrons recruit and train members to accomplish the mission and the Wing manages the mission.

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The exception is the cadet squadrons at overseas U.S. military installations and the Congressional Squadron on Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, that reports directly to CAP's National Headquarters.

Above the wing-level, and below Civil Air Patrol’s National Headquarters, CAP is divided into eight separate regions divided geographically within the United States. Their collective boundaries include all the CAP wings. National Capital Wing is part of CAP’s Mid-Atlantic Region, which also includes Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia wings.

In line with the regions are the CAP-USAF Liaison Regions, which are active-duty Air Force offices that provide advice, assistance, and oversight of CAP regions and wings through their respective commanders. At the national-level, CAP‐USAF maintains its headquarters at Maxwell AFB along with CAP’s National Headquarters. The CAP-USAF commander commands all civil service and military members of the U.S. Air Force who are assigned to CAP-USAF (including Air Force personnel at the region liaison offices). The CAP‐USAF commander reports to the commander of First Air Force, who reports to the commander of Air Combat Command.

Civil Air Patrol’s Board of Governors is established by Title 10, United States Code (U.S.C.), as the governing body of CAP. It directs and manages the affairs of the corporation. The activities of the 11-member Board of Governors are described in the CAP Constitution and Bylaws and other CAP publications and include selecting, retaining, and removing the National Commander/Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Operating Officer.


About Civil Air Patrol

Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine Cessna aircraft and 1,944 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 130 lives in fiscal 2020. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Members also serve as mentors to about 25,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. One of the premier public service organizations in America, CAP benefits the nation with an estimated economic impact of $209 million annually.

Civil Air Patrol’s Congressional charter is outlined in Title 36, U.S.C., which defines the purposes of the corporation. In plain language, CAP’s purposes are:

► To encourage citizens to support aviation and be an example through volunteerism;

► To provide aviation training to its members;

► To promote the development of civil aviation in local communities;

► To rally its volunteers to respond to local and national emergencies; and

► To assist the Air Force with its non-combat programs and missions.

CAP Core Values

Civil Air Patrol’s core values establish the standards that our members are expected to conduct themselves. They are:

Integrity – Volunteer Service – Excellence – Respect

 Go to Our Values >>> 

Other important information about Civil Air Patrol to note include the:

CAP Mission Statement

Supporting America’s communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development, and promotion of air, space, and cyber power.

CAP Vision Statement

Civil Air Patrol, America’s Air Force auxiliary, building the nation’s finest force of citizen volunteers serving America.

CAP Slogan

Citizens Serving Communities

CAP Motto

Semper Vigilans (always vigilant)

National Commander’s Credo

One Civil Air Patrol, excelling in service to our nation and our members.


A cadet from Civil Air Patrol's National Capital Wing watches an F-16 Fighting Falcon being prepared for flight as part of a job shadow program.

A National Capital Wing cadet watches an F-16 Fighting Falcon being prepared for flight as part of a job shadow program.


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