to celebrities and other prominent figures.
A Wall Street financier commanded one coastal patrol
base; a noted Hollywood director served as deputy commander of another. Pilots for CAP included a famed
movie actor, a popular comic strip cartoonist, a
Munchkin from Wizard of the head of a
major brewery and the founder of a famous doughnut
chain. The wartime ranks also included a pioneering
African-American female aviator, future Tuskegee Airmen, an award-winning film actress, a world-famous
concert pianist and a pioneering female aviator.
CAP was founded Dec. 1, 1941, six days before Pearl
Harbor. Within three months the highestprofile wartime mission was underway, thanks to the
Petroleum Industry War request for the federal
government to provide protection for oil tankers targeted
by German U-boats.
Photo by Lt. Col. Steven Solomon, Maryland Wing
With the Army and Navy unable to spare the necessary aircraft, the government turned to CAP. Over the
next 15 months members flew their own planes over the
coastal waters in search of U-boats, alerting the Navy or
Coast Guard when a submarine came into view and
sometimes dropping bombs on the vessel below.
The coastal patrols totaled 86,685 missions, 244,600
flight hours and more than 24 million miles flown.
Along with spotting 173 suspected U-boats and attacking 57, they escorted more than 5,600 shipping convoys
and reported 17 floating mines, 91 ships in distress and
363 survivors in the water.
In all, CAP members flew more than 750,000
hours during the war, with 65 killed in the performance
of their missions. Of those, 26 died during coastal
Another CAP World War II member was
Meinhardt Raabe, who played the Munchkin
Congressional Gold Medal website:
To add to list of World War II members:
Information and supporting evidence can be
submitted at www.capnhq.gov/CAP.World
coroner in Wizard of pronouncing the
Wicked Witch of the East only merely dead,
really, most sincerely Raabe joined CAP
because, at 4-foot-7, he was inches too short for
the military. He served in the Michigan and Illinois
wings and flew missions for the Coast Guard and
Fire Service, whose own pilots had gone off to war.
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