Saturday, August 29, 2015

Fellow Members of the California Wing,
Today is a very proud day for all members of the Civil Air Patrol. For the last 74 years, CAP has been serving our nation without a lot of fanfare. Our members have served in times of war, saved countless lives, brought peace to families of the lost, trained multiple generations of leaders and future leaders and teaches the nation about the past, present and future of aerospace. Hundreds of thousands have been members since our inception and over 58,000 are members today.
While we have been the Official Auxiliary of the United States Air Force since 1948, our partnership with the Air Force has strengthen over the last several years and they have begun relying on us for many vital missions. Over the last year, our National Commander, Major General Joe Vazquez has been working with the Air Force to solidify that relationship. At this morning's opening session of the National Conference in Orlando, Brigadier General Paul Guemmer, the Commander of the Jeannie M. Holm Center delivered a message on behalf of Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Mark Welsh announcing that Air Force Basic Doctrine has been changed and that the Civil Air Patrol is now part of the Air Force's Total Force of Active Duty, Reserves, Air National Guard and now, Auxiliary. For the first time, members of the Civil Air Patrol were referred to as American Airmen.
While being considered an Airman is a true honor, it is also carries with it an immense responsibility. We can no longer be the best kept secret in the Air Force. As a member of the Total Force, we will be expected to perform at the levels of the other members of the team. In short, we are no longer in the minor leagues. We have made it to the big leagues and everything we do from how we wear our uniforms to how we perform our missions must always live up to the title of American Airman.
Over the last four years, I have had the honor of leading one of the finest wings in the nation and have seen all of you rise to the challenges that the organization has placed before you. You have exceed my expectations and it is as a result of your hard work that we have been bestowed this honor but it will be up to all of you moving forward to continue the tradition of excellence and continue to grow personally and professionally. You must continue to grow and excel in our three missions and in your own professional development. It is only through this growth that we will demonstrate our contribution to the Total Force and to the safety and security of our nation.
Over the last four years, I have adopted a slogan that I use at the end of all my presentations that says "I am proud to tell everyone that will listen that I am a member of the California Wing" and I can now add to that "and am an American Airman." Thank you for all that you do and have done to make this change in the Basic Doctrine possible. The future is before us. Go seize it.

Semper Vigilans, Airmen

Jon Stokes, Colonel, CAP
Commander, California Wing.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Civil Air Patrol joins total force ‘Airmen’

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- When conducting missions for the Air Force as the official Air Force auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol is now included in the Air Force’s definition of the total force. CAP has provided 74 years of support to emergency services, aerospace education and cadet programs.

In August 2015, the Air Force updated Doctrine Volume 2, “Leadership,” expanding the Air Force’s descriptions of total force and Airmen to now consist of regular, Guard, Reserve, civilian and auxiliary members.

Historically, the broader term Airmen referred to uniformed and civilian members of the U.S. Air Force (officer or enlisted, regular, Reserve, or Guard) regardless of rank, component or specialty.

With this newest change, Air Force leaders should consider each part of the total force, including the auxiliary, when determining the most effective and efficient ways to complete the mission. CAP has approximately 57,000 volunteers and 550 aircraft assigned to more than 1,500 units stateside available or currently supporting non-combat missions on behalf of the Air Force.

“As a strategic partner, these unpaid professionals have boldly served our nation saving the Air Force almost 40 times the cost of using military assets for each hour served,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “Inclusion in the total force reflects the continuing key contributions of this highly trained and equipped organization.”

The auxiliary members, who fly the nearly 100,000 hours per year performing disaster relief, counterdrug, search and rescue, fighter interceptor training, aerial observation and cadet orientation flights, will now be included in the total force and referred to as Airmen during the performance of official duties in recognition of their contributions to the Air Force.

“Civil Air Patrol enjoys a proud legacy of selfless sacrifice and service to country and community that spans decades,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph Vazquez, the CAP national commander. “Our ability to augment the Air Force is second to none. We provide 85 percent of inland search and rescue missions and disaster-relief support to local, state and national agencies as well as aerial reconnaissance for homeland security, and remain continually postured to offer more.”

Beyond CAP’s support to achieve its homeland responsibilities for non-combat operations, the organization has been recognized for their efforts to inspire hundreds of thousands of cadets and K-12 students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and training.

“Civil Air Patrol’s increased exposure has a direct impact on attracting youth interest in STEM-based activities which are skills necessary to develop the innovative Airmen our Air Force needs,” said Chief of Staff General Mark A. Welsh III. “We proudly welcome the Air Force auxiliary by extending our badge of honor as Airmen.”