Awarding Congressional Gold Medal to World War II Members of the Civil Air Patrolby Representative Henry Cuellar
Posted on 2014-05-19
CUELLAR. Thank you for yielding to me.
I certainly want to thank my friend, Mike McCaul, as both of us have been working with Senator Harkin on this, and it is a very important bill.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor the contributions of the World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol, CAP. Today, we are considering S. 309, a bill to award CAP members a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of their service to our Nation during World War II.
The Civil Air Patrol was comprised of more than 150,000 volunteers who banded together on December 1, 1941, to create a volunteer air patrol to defend our country.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, it became clear that the establishment of the air patrol was invaluable to the United States, and they were assigned to the War Department under the jurisdiction of the Army Air Corps.
During World War II, the CAP logged more than 750,000 flying hours. The CAP aircrews flew in their own personal planes--and I emphasize in their own personal aircraft--in coastal patrols, performing reconnaissance and search and rescue missions.
During this time, the CAP reported on 173 submarines sighted, summoned assistance for 91 ships and 363 survivors of submarine attacks in distress, and sank two enemy submarines. These CAP volunteer aircrews risked their lives to protect our freedoms, and 64 members of the Civil Air Patrol died while in service during World War II.
On July 1, 1946, in recognition of their service, President Harry Truman signed Public Law 476, incorporating the Civil Air Patrol as a benevolent, nonprofit organization.
Two years later, on May 26, Congress passed Public Law 557, permanently establishing the Civil Air Patrol as the auxiliary of the United States Air Force.
Today, the Civil Air Patrol's primary missions include aerospace education, cadet programs, and emergency services. CAP volunteers continue to serve our Nation through disaster relief, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, Air Force support, and counterdrug missions.
Mr. Speaker, I am honored to have had this time to recognize the Civil Air Patrol for their contributions and their service to our country during World War II.
Again, Congressman Michael McCaul and I urge our colleagues to support S. 309. This Congressional Gold Medal recognition is long overdue, and it is well-deserved. I thank you for your consideration.