The Citizens Coinage
Advisory Committee discussed during a July 8 teleconference
design themes for a congressional gold medal honoring World War II
members of the Civil Air Patrol who flew combat and humanitarian missions.
The medal is authorized under provisions of Public Law 113-108, signed into law by President
Obama on May 30.
John Swain, director of government relations for the Civil Air
Patrol, presented CAP’s recommendations for suggested design
themes to the CCAC and U.S. Mint.
The themes will be used by the U.S. Mint engraving staff and U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artists in
developing representative designs.
Possible design elements suggested by Swain are:
- Two aircrew members, one male, one female.
- CAP light
single engine aircraft.
- Recommended inscriptions: CIVIL AIR
- Two armed CAP light aircraft flying over an oil tanker.
- CAP Coastal Patrol roundel.
- Five primary CAP active
service duty patches (Coastal Patrol, Southern Liaison Patrol,
Forest Patrol, Missing Aircraft Search, and Courier Service).
The Civil Air Patrol was originally conceived in the late 1930s by
legendary New Jersey aviation advocate Gill Robb Wilson. It was
established on Dec. 1, 1941, six days before the bombing of Pearl
Harbor by the Japanese and the entry of the U.S. into World War II.
Soon after its establishment, CAP became involved in combat
operations off the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts.
German U-boats were sinking merchant ships and oil tankers within
sight of coastal communities along the East Coast. With the Army and
Navy lacking the necessary patrol aircraft and vessels, losses of
merchant vessels skyrocketed. The military authorized the CAP to
establish coastal patrol flights, according to Swain.
CAP patrol flights, composed of two aircraft each, canvassed the
costal shipping lanes of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.
The flights forced enemy submarines to remain submerged and hidden
while merchant ships safely transported oil, war materials, and soldiers.
In May 1942, the military armed CAP light personal aircraft with
demolition and depth bombs, Swain said.
The CAP served in other missions on behalf of the war effort. CAP
pilots towed aerial gunnery targets for live-fire anti-aircraft
training and nighttime tracking missions for searchlights; CAP
aircraft patrolled the Rio Grande to prevent illegal border crossings;
a search and rescue service used CAP units to search for lost military
aircraft; and many other activities.
For more information, visit CAP's home page or the "Our
Congressional Gold Medal" page.