Luxembourg national becomes first non US citizen inducted into the CAP

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Civil Air Patrol 2nd Lieutenant Frank Schuler, a Luxembourg national, became the first non United States citizen to join the Civil Air Patrol ever.

"I don't feel like I'm special at all. I'm just another member," said Lieutenant Schuler. The cadets of Spangdahlem's CAP tell a different story. 

"It's a real good benefit having Frank take us anywhere and everywhere to see the sites where everything happened during World War II," said Aaron Conner, Cadet Commander of CAP at Spanghdahlem. 

Lieutenant Schuler is a grade school teacher by trade, but every Thursday afternoon he locks the door to his classroom in Luxembourg and makes the 45-minute drive to Bitburg Annex. 

"We have a military in Luxembourg which is an army with 400 men. That's it," he said of his country's armed forces. "If we had something like the Civil Air Patrol, there'll be more people in that than in the military itself." 

Luxembourg might not have the largest military, but Lieutenant Schuler knows the importance of the armed forces and preserving its history. While his classroom in Luxembourg sits quiet, he is still busy teaching. Small scraps from downed planes of the Second World War he found during a hike near his home in Luxembourg are scattered across a long table. The cadets listen in as he talks of what the pieces might be. Part of today's lesson came stories Lieutenant Schuler heard from his grandfather about American Soldiers and what the United States meant to Luxembourg during World War II. 

"My grandfather always told me about the Soldiers. He got chewing gum, his first chocolate and he was always so fascinated," Lieutenant Schuler said of his grandfather. "He said always keep the remembrance." 

More than half a century after his grandfather met Americans for the first time, his grandson is making history of his own as the first non US citizen to join the Civil Air Patrol. 

"We sent our papers to the Civil Air Patrol headquarters and they said, 'you are not American and you don't live in the states, so we don't know what to do with you," he said of his initial attempt to join the CAP. 

After almost a year of paperwork, Lieutenant Schuler was granted a waiver to join the CAP based on the Department of Defense's acceptance of non US citizens in the armed forces. He might be the first non US citizen in the CAP to share his love for history and his passion for aviation with future generations, but this lieutenant will always say he is just another member.