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Civil Air Patrol World War II veterans were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal—Congress' highest honor—for their role in protecting the US homeland during the war, in a ceremony at the Capitol on Wednesday. "I salute CAP’s founding members for their legacy of service and sacrifice in protecting the homeland during World War II," CAP Commander Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez said in a release. Some 40 wartime CAP members, including six "sub-chasers" who patrolled the US coastline for German U-Boats, as well as Berlin Airlift hero retired Col. Gail Halvorsen, who learned to fly in CAP during the war, attended the Dec. 10 ceremony.  CAP members flying civil light aircraft from 21 coastal patrol bases along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts were credited with spotting 173 U-Boats, attacking 57 of the vessels, and escorting some 5,600 allied shipping convoys. CAP members located 91 allied vessels in distress and 363 survivors at sea, according to officials. Surviving wartime members were presented replica medals in recognition of their service. President Obama signed the award into law back in May.