Civil Air Patrol Duck Club – The Most Dangerous Achievement For Civilian Pilots During WWII

CAP Duck Club

World War II had a massive impact on the world. But, it also changed how Americans bought and used products. The government stepped in, putting restrictions on how much businesses could produce and how much would be distributed to civilians.

Civil Air Patrol

Civilians were even being used as a part of the war effort. In fact, they were used to find submarines, which led to the formation of the Civil Air Patrol.

Private planes and civilian pilots were marshaled by the military. In all, there were 200,000 men and women in CAP. In a matter of six months, the Nazi submarines took out 400 ships off the Atlantic coast, so the military had the civilian pilots hunt them down.

Sometimes the pilots had to eject from their planes into the cold water. Those who had to endure the cold water called it the Duck Club.

Duck Club

The planes were notoriously unreliable. The volunteers would fly about 50 miles along the coast, searching for submarines, knowing the planes could stall at any time. Having to bail into icy waters could have dire consequences.

To offer some protection, the pilots wore rubber suits. But there was still no guarantee that they would not become hypothermic and die. Over the course of the war, 59 pilots were lost. Of the 59, 26 were lost to the ocean.

Every CAP station employed the use of an amphibian plane to retrieve the pilots. Each rescued pilot became a member of the Duck Club. They even earned a badge.

It had Donald Duck on it with red propellers for eyes, signifying the Civil Air Patrol. Decades later, President Obama designated Congressional Gold Medals for each member.

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