On December 29th 2015 a Civil Air Patrol Cessna 172 slammed into the northwest corner of an Anchorage office building. A postcrash fire consumed the airplane wreckage. Both the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the crash and found that Demarest “took a CAP plane without authorization from Merrill Field Airport and intentionally flew the plane into a building,” Feger-Pellessier wrote.
The FBI’s assessment that this CAP event was not a national security threat misses an important learning opportunity: The Civil Air Patrol is a soft, incompetent underbelly that facilitates low-level threat access to higher levels of knowledge, equipment and opportunities to do harm.
In 2000, a Civil Air Patrol Major impersonated an actual Air Force officer to steal guns and ammunition from Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania and Fort Meade, Maryland.
On May 14th of 2018, the public was becoming aware of the role Civil Air Patrol had played in the penetration of Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida. That story, about Diomonte Jean’s use of Civil Air Patrol uniform and insignia, included the observation that CAP makes undesirables aware of Vanguard as a mail-order source of uniform items for military impersonators and prospective terrorists.
Later that evening cap-talk turned to discuss this story in a post entitled Faking Your Way Onto a Military Base. Georgia Wing Vice Commander Lt Col Jeff O’Hara (SPAM GA-001) was quick to offer his wisdom on the subject when he spied a reference to “the red line” and security police. He STRONGLY urged that those with base access and flight line access not discuss local base procedures and local safeguards on that CAP forum.