Hanscom Composite Squadron

Civil Air Patrol - US Air Force Auxiliary

Hanscom Squadron Emergency Services

Emergency Services is one of Civil Air Patrol's main missions. As a key squadron within the Massachusetts wing, we focus our efforts heavily on training and responding to calls in emergency situations. Hanscom Squadron provides both air and ground teams in response to a variety of situations when called upon. As part of the Hanscom squadron team you can help to make a difference, whatever your skills and background! As much as we need pilots and aircrew, that is only part of the story. We have members who come from all walks of life and contribute to team Hanscom in many different ways. We train our members in the skills they need to contribute to our programs and services.

Growing from its World War II beginnings when volunteers provided aerial support in reaction to the submarine threat to the east coast of the United States of America.

With America's entrance into World War II, German U-boats began to operate along the East Coast. Operating coastal patrols from two locations along the East Coast: Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The CAP's performance was outstanding, by the end of the war, CAP pilots had flown over 500,000 mission hours. However, the Civil Air Patrol paid a high price with the loss of more than 90 aircraft, and between 59 and 64 CAP pilots were killed, including 26 who were lost while on coastal patrol.

Search and Rescue

Perhaps best known for its search-and-rescue efforts, CAP flies more than 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fl. Outside the continental United States, CAP supports the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Just how effective are the CAP missions? Nearly 100 people are saved each year by CAP members.

Disaster Relief

Another important service CAP performs is disaster-relief operations. CAP aircrews and ground personnel provide transportation for cargo and officials, aerial imagery to aid emergency managers in assessing damage, and donations of personnel and equipment to local, state and federal disaster relief organizations during times of need. Volunteer members fly disaster-relief officials to remote locations and provide manpower and leadership to local, state and national disaster-relief organizations. CAP has formal agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies including the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Red Cross, Salvation Army and other civilian agencies frequently ask Civil Air Patrol aircraft to transport vital supplies including medical technicians, medication, and other vital supplies. They often rely on CAP to provide airlift and communications for disaster relief operations. CAP also assists the United States Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, when all general aviation was grounded, one of the first planes to fly over was a CAP aircraft taking photographs.

Humanitarian Services 

CAP flies humanitarian missions, usually in support of the Red Cross-transporting time-sensitive medical materials including blood and human tissue, in situations where other means of transportation are not available.

Air Force Support

It's hardly surprising that CAP performs several missions in direct support of the U.S. Air Force. As the auxillary to the U.S Air Force, CAP performs several missions that are not combat-related in support of the United States Air Force, including damage assessment, transportation of officials, communications support and low-altitude route surveys. The CAP fleet is used in training exercises to prepare USAF pilots to intercept enemy aircraft over the Continental United States. Civil Air Patrol aircraft are flown into restricted airspace, where Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-15 Eagle pilots may practice high-speed intercepts. CAP also conducts light transport, communications support, and low-altitude route surveys. CAP also provides orientation flights for AFROTC cadets. Joint U.S. Air Force and CAP search-and-rescue exercises provide realistic training for missions.


CAP joined the "war on drugs" in 1986 when, pursuant to congressional authorization, CAP signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Customs Service offering CAP resources to help stem the flow of drugs into and within the United States.