World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) were collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal Wednesday, Dec. 10, at a ceremony held in Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.
Surviving CAP members along with leaders of the U.S. House and Senate attended the ceremony. The medal was authorized by Congress under Public Law No: 113-108 to recognize the military service and exemplary record of the Civil Air Patrol during World War II.
The Civil Air Patrol was established on Dec. 1, 1941, just six days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. In a period of one year and three months, the CAP logged over 24 million miles in an attempt to protect vital shipping routes along the Eastern seaboard and throughout the Gulf region. Their vigilance led to 173 U-boat sightings, 57 of which they attacked. They are also credited with spotting 17 floating mines, 36 bodies, 91 ships in distress and 363 maritime survivors.
"Decades after the end of WWII, it is long overdue and altogether fitting that Congress finally bestows this honor upon the WWII members of the Civil Air Patrol," said Congressman Michael McCaul. " The valiant efforts of these brave men and women who volunteered to defend our coastlines, provide essential combat support services, and fly dangerous humanitarian missions in America during World War II embodies the American Spirit of volunteerism."
Thirty-one designs candidates for the gold medal were created and reviewed, with two of them selected — one of the obverse or heads side and one for the reverse.
Shown on the obverse of the gold medal is an image of two CAP volunteers as they watch the skies for signs of trouble. Behind, a tanker is seen as it is escorted by Civil Air Patrol planes. Inscriptions include "CIVIL AIR PATROL" and "1941-1945." The scene was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program designer Donna Weaver and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart.
The reverse features a partial laurel wreath, representing honor and service, surrounding CAP insignias. Reverse inscriptions include "HONOR," "CIVILIAN VOLUNTEERS WHO FLEW ARMED & HUMANITARIAN MISSIONS," and "ACT OF CONGRESS 2014." The image was also designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso.
Bronze replicas of the gold medal were authorized by Congress and are available from the United States Mint. Three-inch replicas may be ordered for $39.95 with 1.5-inch medals available for $6.95. Orders are accepted online at catalog.usmint.gov or by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing and speech-impaired customers with TTY equipment may call 1-888-321-MINT (6468).