Caires’ service honored

LIHU‘E —  Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. honored Col. Roger Caires on Friday for his 50 years of service to the Civil Air Patrol.

Caires serves as the Hawai‘i Wing Commander for the CAP, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force. He has under his command 10 aircraft, two employees and 550 professional emergency services volunteers serving the State of Hawai‘i, the commendation certificate states.

Carvalho made the presentation on the heels of Caires’ recognition in Washington, D.C., where U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye presented Caires a distinguished award at the Capitol Senate Appropriations Committee Office.

During that ceremony, Caires was joined by his wife, Susan, CAP National Commander Major General Amy Courter and Hawai‘i Wing Government Relations Advisor Col. Stanley Fernandez.

Sen. Daniel Akaka also commended Caires for his service during a visit to Akaka’s Washington, D.C., office following the ceremony.

Caires, starting his career with the CAP at an early age, learned to fly gliders at the former Bellows Air Force Base on O‘ahu while attending CAP Cadet Summer Encampments, later earning  powered aircraft commercial pilot and instrumental flight instructor certificates.

Carvalho said Caires has been committed to serving the community on CAP Emergency Services Missions, flying as a pilot and crew members in air searches, disaster relief operations, homeland security and tsunami warnings.

The CAP’s congressionally chartered mission in Hawai‘i includes Emergency Services, Cadet Programs, Aerospace Education as well as having an increasing role in the nation’s Homeland Security.

In the late 1930s, more than 150,000 volunteers who loved aviation argued for an organization which would put their planes and flying skills to use defending the country.

This was the birth of the CAP, one week prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

As a result of the attack, thousands of volunteers answered America’s call to national service and were assigned to the War Department under the jurisdiction of the Army Air Corps.

The contributions of CAP include flying more than 500,000 hours, sinking two enemy submarines and saving hundreds of crash victims during World War II.

On May 26, 1948, Congress established the CAP as the auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.

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