CAP & Helmet

Today’s Poster is for America’s Civil Air Patrol or ‘CAP‘. The artist, presumably the ‘Kenney’ from ‘Squadron 511-3’ has chosen the visual cliche of the leather helmeted and goggled aviator’s head, which became a cliche due to its utility as a stand in for ‘aviator’ as we’ve seen before.


As the Wiki page linked above states; “During World War II, CAP was seen as a way to use America’s civilian aviation resources to aid the war effort instead of grounding them. The organization assumed many missions including anti-submarine patrol and warfare, border patrols, and courier services. During World War II, CAP’s coastal patrol reportedly flew 24 million miles and sighted 173 enemy U-boats, dropping a total of 82 bombs and depth charges throughout the conflict. Two submarines were reportedly destroyed by CAP aircraft, but later research found there was no basis for this claim. By the end of the war, 68 CAP members had lost their lives in the line of duty.”

Artistically, the strong composition works well, with the downward angle appropriate for the surveillance role the CAP undertook. The aircraft, bedecked with the quasi-military CAP roundel, are a generic type, perhaps akin to the Beech 17.

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

Details from here: ‘Civil Air Patrol poster produced for the Office of Civilian Defense, as part of a campaign to build interest in joining CAP during World War II. This poster is OCD publication 7013, U.S. Government Printing Office ID# 1943–O-503140. The text “Kenney, Squadron 511-3” is written in the upper-right corner.’

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