Peninsula Composite Squadron is the Kitsap County branch of the United States Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol. The Civil Air Patrol, or CAP, is tasked by Congress with three missions: Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services.
Aerospace education programs provide information about aviation activities to both CAP members and to the educational community. Each year CAP funds over 200 aerospace education workshops for teachers at over 100 colleges and universities around the country, preparing 5,000 teachers to teach aerospace-related subjects in their classrooms yearly. The National Congress on Aviation and Space Education is one of CAP's major contributions to the nation's aerospace education. The organization also develops curriculum and publishes aerospace educational materials for use in the nation's schools.
CAP Cadets have the opportunity to learn to fly both powered aircraft and gliders.
The purpose of the Cadet Program is to inspire the country's youth to become responsible leaders and good citizens through their interest in aerospace and leadership theory. Cadets in the program range in age from 12 to 21. Through a comprehensive study program and hands-on activities, cadets progress through a rank system modeled after that of the USAF, including the use of written tests, physical fitness tests, and time in rank. As cadets progress they earn increased rank, awards and/or certificates. Cadets may become eligible for CAP national or international special activities and compete for academic and flying scholarships. Cadets who achieve the Gen. Billy Mitchell Award may enlist in the USAF at a rank of E-3.
C/Capt Thadeus Smith, C/CMSgt Nathan Smith, and C/SMSgt Avery Atwater of Peninsula Composite Squadron lower the flag at the conclusion of Desert Eagle Flight Academy IX
CAP's emergency services include air and ground search and rescue, disaster relief and civil defense for natural disasters. Its members fly approximately 85 percent of the search and rescue mission hours directed by the Air Force Rescue and Coordination Center at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Civil Air Patrol was credited with saving 92 lives in 2016 alone. CAP assists the U.S. Customs Service, DEA, and U.S. Forest Service in their counter drug efforts by flying air reconnaissance missions across the nation. CAP participation only involves reconnaissance, transportation and communications support. Members do not carry firearms, make arrests or give chase to suspected drug traffickers.
CAP Cadets can earn Ground Team Ratings and participate in Search-and-Rescue missions.