The Volunteer State, with the support of state senators Bill Ketron and Jim Tracy, will play a big role this summer in helping the volunteer civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force celebrate its 75th birthday.
National leadership of Civil Air Patrol, organized just days before the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor propelled the U.S. into World War II, will come to Nashville in August for its annual national conference.
Commemorations of CAP's founding on Dec. 1, 1941, will punctuate the four-day event at Gaylord Opryland on Aug. 11-13 – and put the 1,000-member Tennessee Wing and its squadrons across the state into the spotlight as host.
House Speaker Beth Harwell, working with Ketron, R-13th District, and Tracy, R-14th District, recently presented Tennessee Wing with a joint resolution of the General Assembly, signed by Gov. Bill Haslam, which recognized the anniversary and national conference.
"We deeply appreciate the support by senators Ketron and Tracy, along with Governor Haslam, Lt. Gov. (Ron) Ramsey and Speaker Harwell, of the service rendered by the Tennessee Wing and all of Civil Air Patrol," said Col. Arlinda Bailey, commander of the state's wing.
The resolution recognized CAP as "one of the nation's premier humanitarian service organizations, saving lives, finding those who are lost, helping fellow citizens in times of disaster, working to keep America safe, preparing future leaders, offering aerospace education to inspire our nation's youth and honoring our military."
CAP, an all-volunteer organization with 56,000 members nationwide, is the newest member of the Air Force's Total Force, which also includes the regular Air Force, the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve.
In its Total Force role, CAP operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of the continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force's Rescue Coordination Center.
CAP also supports aerospace education and serves as mentors to more than 24,000 young people participating in its cadet program.
Bailey personally thanked Ketron and Tracy for their support of CAP's missions. Both senators hold the rank of major in the Tennessee State Legislative Squadron, the largest unit in the state wing.
"They honor us by their service to Tennessee Wing and our efforts to serve our state and nation," Bailey said.