For more than
75 years, Civil Air Patrol squadrons stationed along Florida’s Gulf Coast have
been conducting safety patrols of coastal waterways. The aircrews are well-trained
in search techniques and keep a watchful eye on the waters below providing boaters
an extra margin of safety.
from the Charlotte County Composite Squadron had the opportunity speak with
radio hosts, Captain Tom Healey and his wife Heidi, about CAP’s role in boater
safety in Charlotte Harbor and the Intercostal waterway. Maj. Earle
Bretz, Public Affairs Officer, joined the hosts of WENG’s Saturday morning boating show on August 19th to explain the long history of local volunteer aviators serving the local
Patrol (CAP), the civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force, dates back
to WWII days and was originally formed to provide civilian air support to
aid the war effort through border and coastal patrols, military training
assistance, courier services and other activities,” said Maj. Bretz. Civil Air Patrol officially began Dec.
1 1941 and we are now celebrating our 76th year. Our connection to
boaters and marine safety continues.”
Major Bretz went
on to described CAP’s partnership with other agencies, the importance of the
weekly harbor patrols and how most boaters are accustomed to the marine advisory
broadcast that CAP aircrews provide using the Coast Guard Channel 16.
broadcast was a member of the squadron’s communications team, Captain Kevin
Kelly. “Radio communications are critical to CAP search and rescue missions as
well as the importance of marine communications with the Coast Guard.” Kelly explained that Civil Air
Patrol maintains a robust nation-wide radio communications network and provided an
overview of the various types of communication equipment and methods used.
As usual, Maj. Bretz took advantage of the opportunity to highlight the cadet program. Bretz
is a longtime champion for the youth program as key to fostering CAP core values of respect, integrity,
excellence and volunteer service. True to form, he steered the conversation during the radio show to
explain how the CAP program is designed to develop leadership and good
citizenship in America's youth, using aerospace education, Air Force role
models and emphasis on public service.
Color Guard team from Charlotte County squadron presents colors at local airshow. (CAP photo)