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Lt. Gov. addresses volunteers

BURLINGTON Vermont Civil Air Patrol (CAP) members from across the state are gathering in Burlington for their annual conference Nov. 16 and 17. Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie will give a banquet ad-dress highlighting joint goals of homeland security, educating Vermonts youth in science fields, promoting aviation and aerospace industry in Vermont, and providing assistance to the state for emergency response and disaster relief. The event honors CAP volunteers activities in communities and the state, and features seminars on aerospace, public affairs, emergency services, communications and operations topics. Lt. Gov. Dubie, a colonel in the Air Force Reserve and an Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer, is an enthusiastic supporter of Civil Air Patrols missions. He has provided expertise to CAP to develop emergency scenarios for their practice missions. The Vermont Aviation & Aerospace Association, an organization he founded whose dual missions of developing the aerospace and aviation business sector and encouraging young people to excel in the fields of science, math and engineering, are supported by Civil Air Patrols programs. Col. Ann Clark, a volunteer for more than 25 years, will wrap up her four years as head of the state CAP organization at the change-of-command ceremony. She will turn over responsibilities to Lt. Col. Thomas Benckert, Jr., of Swanton. Lt. Col. Benckert joined Civil Air Patrol 26 years ago as a cadet and returned to service in 2003. He is employed by the Dept. of Homeland Security and has served as a CAP volunteer in Vermont for five years in many positions including director of Vermont operations, emergency services and professional development. Over 100 attendees are expected to participate in the conference, as well as the National Director of Civil Air Patrol who will be traveling to Vermont from national headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama . Heads of the northeast region and statewide CAP units in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Pennsylvania will be also be in Burlington to honor Vermont volunteers and leaders, Vermont Civil Air Patrol maintains six units with 225 members in Rutland, Burlington, South Burlington, Montpelier, Lyndonville, and Springfield. Three CAP airplanes are flown by highly trained CAP pilots on state and Air Force missions supporting the State of Vermont and its citizens by providing critical services such as aerial reconnaissance of reservoirs and dams, flooding conditions, damage assessment, traffic surveys, and searches for missing airplanes and lost skiers, hunters and hikers. Civil Air Patrol, founded Dec. 1, 1941, is a charitable nonprofit corporation with more than 55,000 volunteer members nationwide. During WW II, the private pilots of CAP, flying their own small planes, and CAP ground team members played an important role in safeguarding Americas coastline and oil tankers from German submarine attacks. In the 21st century, homeland security continues to be an important mission of Civil Air Patrol. CAP acts as the volunteer civilian auxiliary of the US Air Force when its services are used by the federal government and, in that capacity, performs 95 percent of the inland search-and-rescue missions. Last year CAP was credited with saving 58 lives. Civil Air Patrol volunteers perform many types of community service including disaster relief, aerospace education, and serving as mentors to the more than 22,000 young people currently participating in the CAP Cadet Program. For more information, sign on to www.cap.gov, and call 802-863-3988. Civil Air Patrol has volunteer opportunities not only for pilots but for people of all ages and skills.

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