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WWII pilots honored with Congressional Gold Medal

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WASHINGTON – A group of World War II veterans were honored with one of the nation’s biggest awards.

Members of the Civil Air Patrol were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their service during World War II.

The organization was founded on Dec. 1, 1941, just six days before Pearl Harbor.

During WWII, the Civil Air Patrol’s founding members protected the nation against deadly German U-boat attacks.

Members of CAP’s coastal patrols flew 24 million miles in a year and a half over the Atlantic and Gulf coasts to ward off U-boat attacks against U.S. ships, especially domestic oil tankers bound for Europe.

During that time, crews spotted 173 U-boats and attacked 57. They also escorted more than 5,600 convoys and reported 17 floating mines, 36 bodies, 91 ships in distress and 363 survivors in the water.

By the end of the war, 65 CAP members lost their lives in the line of duty.

On Wednesday, the group was honored with the award.

In all, 40 living veterans and the families of the deceased attended the ceremony.

There is one surviving patrolman who lives in Oklahoma.

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