Civil Air Patrol marks full year of pandemic operations

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Alabama — The Civil Air Patrol reached a mission milestone March 24, 2021: 365 continuous days in support of America’s humanitarian response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Today we begin Year Two of our COVID-19 operations,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP’s national commander and CEO, who previewed the full year of service in a recent message to CAP’s membership of 54,000 volunteers.

“These missions are making a big difference in our local communities, our states, and our nation,” he said. “Over 41,000 volunteer days have been logged in our biggest endeavor since World War II. On top of that, volunteers and staff have innovated to conquer pandemic-imposed roadblocks to ensure we get the business of CAP done.”

The Air Force auxiliary is aligned with First Air Force to rapidly respond to non-military threats domestically. When executing Air Force assigned missions, members work as a component of the Air Force in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity to save lives, relieve suffering, and provide humanitarian assistance.

This is the third mission milestone CAP reached in March. In addition to the 40,000-plus days of volunteer service achieved earlier this month, CAP’s Operation Pulse Lift blood collection program surpassed its one-year goal of 2,500 units last week, four weeks before the target date. That mission began in March 2020 in response to an appeal from the American Red Cross for more blood donation sites.

Here is a statistical rundown of what the organization’s missions have delivered, as of March 24, 2021:

2,803 units of blood;8,209,955 meals;1,154,861 pounds of food;More than 2.6 million masks;177,407 test kits;116,792 test samples; and7,493 vials of vaccine.

The achievements occurred despite the pandemic-related personal challenges members have faced, CAP officials noted. Like many Americans, CAP volunteers have practiced COVID-19 safeguards, which have included a shutdown of most regular on-site activities.

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