The U.S. Civil Air Patrol Rutland Composite Squadron of the Vermont CAP Wing, based at the Rutland Airport, was recognized as the Squadron of Merit of 2011 by the Civil Air Patrol, the all-volunteer civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.
The Rutland squadron was honored for its exceptional cadet programs and overall performance throughout the year. Only one squadron in each CAP wing is selected for the honor annually, according to Maj. William Godair, commander of the Rutland Composite Squadron.
Godair said that Civil Air Patrol enjoys a proud legacy of service to country and community that spans many decades.
The first Civil Air Patrol members of 1941 were men and women who served their country by sinking or chasing away German submarines off America's East and Gulf coasts. As a result of their bravery, patriotism and tenacity, CAP subchasers effectively thwarted German U-boat attacks and, in the process, saved countless lives.
According to Godair, today’s CAP handles 90 percent of inland search and rescue missions, with approximately 75 lives saved each year.
CAP members are among the first on a disaster scene transmitting satellite images of the damage within seconds around the world and providing relief and emergency services following natural and manmade disasters, including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, as well as humanitarian missions along the U.S. and Mexican border.