SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - The Civil Air Patrol is marking its 75th anniversary around the country, including in Central New York.
The Civil Air Patrol got its start in the U.S. on Dec. 1, 1941 in support of World War II and has evolved over the years.
The Central New York Group covers eight counties and 9,462 square miles with its all volunteer force.
Lt. Col. Dean Anderson, Local Group Commander, says " It’s a big day for us on the 75th Anniversary and we're excited to celebrate that and be part of something bigger than ourselves."
One of the CNY Group's missions is in search and rescue operations.
Capt. Glenn Gabriele, Commander of the Local Senior Squadron, tells NewsChannel 9, "We get a call and we reach out to our members, see who has the availability to go and we meet, brief the mission and jump in the airplane and head out."
The bulk of the work the group does is with cadets between 12 and 18 years old.
The kids get everything from leadership training to actual hands on experience in the cockpit of a plane.
Major Shawn Herrmann, Deputy Commander of the group was once a cadet himself with the Civil Air Patrol.
"When I went through the program I was able to get my flying certificate through Civil Air Patrol through a flight scholarship. Now that I'm a pilot and I want to give back to these cadets to show them that there are these possibilities, you can be a pilot of an aircraft, you can make a difference." Herrmann says.
Here in Syracuse, the Civil Air Patrol has a handful of planes specifically dedicated to flying chase missions behind the MQ-9 Reaper, the remotely piloted aircraft the 174th Attack Wing flies in and out of Hancock Field.
"It obviously saves the taxpayer money so the Air Force doesn't have to put resources against what we can fill in." Lt. Col. Anderson says.
What season is this? A very warm start to Wednesday, but it will be…