The Ohio Wing’s history begins in September 1941, when Earle L. Johnson, director of the Ohio Bureau of Aeronautics, organized Ohio’s civilian pilots into a state wing of the Civil Air Defense Service. When the federal Office of Civilian Defense established the CAP in December 1941, the state Civil Air Defense wing evolved into a CAP wing, with Johnson serving as the first wing commander. Today the Ohio Wing has more than 1,200 members, including 550 cadets.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually.
Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program.