is the Combat Aircrews' Preservation Society, or CAPS?
How is the B-17
documentary coming along?
Why will it cost
so much to produce this series?
Why will it cost
so much for post production?
What kind of programming
does CAPS offer?
Are there any more
projects in the works other than the 13 Episode Series?
Are my donations
to CAPS tax deductible?
Is CAPS a 501(c)3
Non-profit entity as recognized by the IRS?
What is the Combat Aircrews' Preservation Society, or CAPS?
the “A” concourse at Midway Airport in Chicago,
there is a memorial to the sailors and airmen who fought in
the Battle of Midway in WWII. One of the quotes engraved on
this memorial is from PFC Edgar R. Fox, USMC, Ret., whose
words remind us of the importance of preserving our rich military
history. PFC Fox wrote:
all the guys that never returned, for the men that gave that
last effort and could not
get back to be as fortunate as I, I will tell the kids about
what you did and why.”
words could better sum up the mission of Combat Aircrews'
Preservation Society (CAPS). Our mission is to preserve the
oral first person histories of those who served our Country
in all wars by professionally recording these stories on broadcast-quality
video tape. Many thousands of valiant men and women died preserving
our freedoms. We at believe it is important to keep the memories
of these heroes alive, through the first person accounts of
those who were fortunate enough to survive those same wars.
Let’s tell our future generations what sacrifices and
efforts it took to keep our freedom alive. Hopefully this
education will move them to respect and honor those things
our veterans fought, bled and died for, for generations to
1995, CAPS founder and president Jon Cermin has been professionally
videotaping first person stories from WWII Army Air Corps
personnel; primarily those associated with the B-17 Flying
Fortress. It was the original intent of CAPS to produce a
thirteen-part documentary on the B-17, from its inception
prior to WWII, all the way through its many roles in aerial
combat, to its many post war roles.
this project is still in the works, other projects have since
taken priority in the time line as interviews continue to
be taped of airmen from a wide variety of aircraft.
We foresee interviewing aircrews as an ongoing and almost
daily process. A number of B-24 crewmembers have already been
interviewed in anticipation on producing a B-24 documentary.
of this Society is to preserve history through education.
Today’s children are growing up in an age of microchips,
memory sticks, and real time information access. While it
was considered cutting edge at the time, aircrews from the
early 20th century operated with primitive equipment by today’s
standards. There were no pressurized cabins, ground radar,
electronic targeting systems, GPS navigation, and so forth.
These combatants relied only on their skills, talent, instincts
and fellow airmen to complete their military objectives.
first person stories will inspire future generations with
tales of dedication and service to the profession of air combat
in an environment void of modern technology. This cause isn’t
meant to glorify war, but rather to honor those who worked,
fought and died in the unforgiving environment of the stratosphere.
How is the B-17 documentary coming along?
The B-17 documentary is still in the works, albeit at a slow
pace. CAPS president Jon Cermin continues to interview B-17
crewmembers for the 13 part documentary series, “In
Their Own Words: The B-17 Flying Fortress”. He is searching
for Luftwaffe pilots and flak gunners to complete the interview
process. While there are enough interviews “in the can”
to complete this project (with the exception of the Germans),
we are in dire need of funding to complete this project. A
one hour pilot episode on B-17 Aeromedical Factors (Episode
VII) has been completed, but it will take approximately $780,000
to complete this entire 13 part series.
Why will it cost so much to produce this series?
programs for the History Channel, Travel Channel, Lifetime,
etc. start in price at about $2,000 per finished minute. The
“In Their Own Words” series will cost about half
of that price, mainly because Jon has been working on this
project since 1995 at his own expense and in his spare time.
Much of the production work has already been done. The expensive
part now is the post-production work (editing, graphics, music,
Why will it cost so much for post production?
production is expensive because CAPS has to outsource nearly
all of this work. While CCPI owns and has donated all of the
production equipment to date (cameras, lighting equipment
and microphones) and most labor needed to shoot the interviews,
CAPS has to rely on outside vendors for a majority of the
post production elements. These include editing, custom music,
3-D graphics, errors and omissions insurance, archives combat
footage and duplication to name just a few of these expenses.
And while we can amortize most of these expenses over the
entire thirteen episode series, it still comes to about $78,000
per episode. At this time, we have planed for each episode
to be one hour in length, so this is still way under the $
2,000 per finished minute quoted earlier. In fact, we have
so much material, we may even stretch each episode to two
What kind of programming does CAPS offer?
the recent board meeting it was decided that CAPS should focus
more on education at the intermediate and high school levels.
It seems that today’s schools’ History classes
are focusing more on pop-culture rather than real history.
CAPS covers a small niche of our war history (that of aerial
combat), it is felt that there are others who are adequately
covering other niches from WWII, i.e. Tom Hanks and his documentation
of foot soldiers, and Steven Spielberg and his documentation
of Holocaust survivors. Our niche is a very important part
of the overall story of combat and world history.
programming will include a brief lesson plan for History teachers.
Several board members are currently working on locating History
class programming opportunities. If you, our readers, have
any ideas or contacts for this endeavor to provide History
lesson modules on aerial combat from WWII, please contact
Jon at the address on the back page.
Are there any more projects in the works other than the 13
is currently editing some of the interview tapes into one-hour
radio shows (note that a one hour show is actually only 44
to 54 minutes long when you take into account commercials,
station breaks, and promos). The reason for this move is that
1) it can be done rather inexpensively (around $ 3,564 per
show), and 2) there is at least one local AM talk radio station
that is interested in airing the shows, and 3) if the shows
are popular, we can start selling commercial time and/or show
sponsorships, which will provide much needed revenue to the
CAPS entity. See accompanying article “Air Combat Journal”
shows really take off in popularity, they could then be edited
into “biography” style videos that we could potentially
air on cable or broadcast TV. This would only occur if we
were able to operate this financially the black, as editing
video is much more expensive than editing just audio, i.e.
a radio show.
Are my donations to CAPS tax deductible?
your donations to CAPS are fully deductible to the full extent
of the IRS tax code. CAPS is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.
Kirk: Link to IRS Letter.
Is CAPS a 501(c)3 Non-profit entity as recognized by the IRS?
operates as a 501©3 non-profit corporation. Our corporate
charter is from Texas, and our home office is located in St.
Croix Falls, Wisconsin. CAPS derives a substantial amount
of it’s operating capital from charitable donations
donations are deductible to the full extent of the law. CAPS
can now also take gifts of real estate or stocks. Please contact
us for more information on charitable gift giving.
if you know of an organization or charitable entity that supports
historical preservation/education projects, please contact
approval letter can be viewed by clicking ::HERE.