Oregon Wing Civil Air Patrol Change of Command

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Col Bill RayColonel William Ray, CAP, assumed command September 10th of the Civil Air Patrol’s Oregon Wing in a ceremony held at the Boulder Rock Inn in Lebanon, Oregon during the CAP’s conference observing the CAP’s 75th anniversary since it’s founding just prior to WWII in December of 1941. Colonel Ray first joined the CAP as a 14 year old teenaged cadet in 1970 and served on active duty in the USAF from 1975-1977. He became a senior member in 1982 and most recently served as the Oregon Wing Chief of Staff. Colonel Ray replaces Colonel John Longely, CAP who has served as the Oregon Wing commander for the past four years since he was appointed wing commander in 2012.

Since it’s founding and service during WW II, CAP has continued to save lives and provide relief through its emergency services program. CAP participants possess Federal Emergency Management Agency certifications and are qualified nationwide, making them the go-to organization for law enforcement entities such as State Police, the Border Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Operating over 600 single engine aircraft and 63 sailplanes, the Civil Air Patrol performs more than 90 percent of all U.S. Air Force-directed search and rescue missions utilizing aircraft and ground teams and an extensive radio communications network. The Oregon wing of the CAP has seen extensive service this past year with USAF recognition for 4 lives saved. Most recently, the Oregon CAP participated in a search for a missing hiker around Mt. Jefferson and the search for a missing aircraft on the Oregon coast

Members of CAP also play important roles in disaster relief and humanitarian services and train regularly for those roles such as the recent state wide, multi-agency Cascade Rising Exercise earlier this year. In addition to providing air and ground transportation and a vast communication network, CAP has formal agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies, facilitating effective operations.

In addition to performing missions in direct support of the Air Force by conducting light transport, communication support and low-altitude route surveys, CAP joined the war on drugs in 1986, offering their resources to halt the trafficking of drugs into, and within the United States.

The CAP also offers a Cadet Program for teenagers between the ages of 12-18 which includes multiple orientation flights as well as a community oriented aerospace education program.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 57,000 members nationwide. CAP performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 90 lives in fiscal year 2008. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counterdrug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 22,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 75 years. For more information, visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com.