urpose is what started Civil Air Patrol,
founded in December 1941 to give
civilians a role in helping protect the
homeland as the globe exploded with World
War II. But after the war, a plan was needed to
keep the organization operating and vital.
That plan constitution and bylaws
was largely the doing of George A. Stone, a
CAP lieutenant colonel, later full colonel and
commander of the Ohio Wing.
very existence after World War II might best be
described as tentative. The organization had started out under
the Office of Civilian Defense in 1941. In 1943 it was transferred to the War Department and the U.S. Army Air Forces.
Because it was structured as a military organization, CAP did
not require a constitution or bylaws.
But in early 1945, the Army Air Forces issued a letter outlining its intentions to discontinue support and services for
CAP. What followed was a scramble by CAP leaders to keep
their organization alive.
After heavy lobbying including an elaborate dinner
hosted by CAP in Washington, D.C., in 1946, and attended by
President Harry S. Truman and some 300 members of Congress the various parties agreed CAP was worth saving. In
July 1946, Truman signed Public Law 79-476, Act to
Incorporate the Civil Air
supplied this photo of her father in his Civil Air
Patrol uniform and in front of a portrait of his
good friend, Gen. Carl A. Spaatz, another CAP
VIP, whose resume included service as a World
With a born-again CAP becoming a public corporation, a
constitution and bylaws became necessary. leaders
tapped Stone to come up with a working document, one that
would outline new role yet have the flexibility to take
the organization securely into the future. In turn, Stone contacted two Philadelphia lawyers, both CAP members Majs.
George Witney and Wallace D. Newcomb to write the drafts.
Nancy Heymann, George daughter,
War II general, the first chief of staff of the U.S.
Air Force and first chairman of the CAP
National Board. Civil Air highest cadet
honor is the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award.
A CAP aircraft out of Coastal Patrol Base No. 3, Lantana, Florida, flies north off the east coast of Florida between Palm Beach
and Melbourne, c. 1942-1943. Photo courtesy of Historical Society of Palm Beach County
Citizens Serving Communities