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More than 500 members of the Civil Air Patrol, the Air Force auxiliary, are expected to participate in the organization's annual conference in Denver this week, according to a release. The conference runs Aug. 15-17; preconference workshops focusing on CAP technology began on Tuesday, states the release. "Our direct support to the Department of Defense and our defense support to civil authorities are expanding exponentially," said CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Chuck Carr. "We want to call special attention to the ways our unpaid professionals contribute to our nation's defense," he said. Among the items on the agenda, retired Gen. Stephen Lorenz, president of the Air Force Academy Endowment, will speak at the CAP annual banquet on Aug. 17. CAP, with a fleet of some 550 airplanes, has 61,000 members who serve more than 1,500 communities nationwide, including performing 90 percent of inland search and rescue missions within the continental United States, states the release.