2/26/2012–HAGERSTOWN, MD–Hagerstown Civil Air Patrol Composite Squadron, a unit in the Civil Air Patrol Maryland Wing, held its annual awards banquet on February 4. During the event the squadron recognized the efforts of many of its members and celebrated the 70th anniversary of the squadron.
Special guests in attendance were former Maryland State Senator Donald Munson; Pudge Forrester, representative for Congressman Roscoe Bartlett,; Washington County Commissioners Ruth Anne Callaham and William B. “Bill” McKinley; Air Force Association President, Staff Sgt. Neal Sutherland, USAF; Lt. Col. Bruce Drury, CAP, commander of CAP Maryland Wing’s Group I; and Robert “Bob” Rohrer, the first Hagerstown squadron cadet commander from 1944.
Commissioner Callaham informed the attendees that her father flew with the Hagerstown squadron and, as a result, holds the CAP program near and dear to her heart. Bob Rohrer spoke a few words and donated some personal memorabilia to the squadron from 1944. Rohrer then posed for pictures with the squadron’s former cadet commander, Cadet Lt. Col. Esther Rea, and the current cadet commander, Cadet Maj. Kyle Lahr. The squadron presented several appreciation awards to individuals and organizations which provide support and services that keep the squadron functioning.
The Hagerstown Composite Squadron completed all the accomplishments necessary to receive the CAP Quality Cadet Unit Award for 2011. Commissioner McKinley presented a proclamation in recognition of the squadron’s 70th anniversary. Additionally, Joan Bowers announced the Thomas J. Bowers Aviation Scholarship in her father’s honor to be available June 2013. The fund can be accessed through the Community Foundation of Washington County, Md., Inc. and has been created to “provide scholarships to deserving Washington County students who are active in Civil Air Patrol and express a desire to pursue a degree in an aviation related field.”
Personal achievement awards were also presented during the event. Lt. Col. Meredith Phares, CAP, deputy commander of cadets of the Hagerstown squadron, received the Cadet Advocate of the Year Award from the Maryland Wing for her support of the cadet programs. The award was presented on behalf of the Wing commander by Lt. Col. Drury. Phares has been a member of the Hagerstown squadron since 1998 and has served as deputy commander since 2004. Phares served in the USAF from 1969 to 1973. She received her Master’s degree in Speech Pathology in 1978 and currently works for the Washington County Public School system. Phares has been an advocate for young people for many years.
Cadet Maj. Kyle Lahr was presented the Air Force Association’s (AFA) Outstanding Civil Air Patrol Cadet award for the squadron by the President of the AFA SSgt Neal Sutherland, USAF, in recognition of his outstanding achievement in leadership and academic standing in the Civil Air Patrol. Lahr, 16, is a junior at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts. He currently serves as the Cadet Commander at the Hagerstown squadron and the cadet commander of the Middle East Region Honor Guard. In addition, he is a 2010 graduate of the CAP National Honor Guard Academy and active in many local CAP activities including emergency services ground team.
Additional awards presented during the event included:
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.
More than 1,500 members of CAP serve in Maryland. Last fiscal year wing members flew 42 search and rescue missions and were credited with 31 finds. For more information, visit www.mdcap.org.
The Hagerstown Composite Squadron meets weekly on Tuesday nights 7:00 - 9:00 pm at the squadron building: 18621 Jarkey Drive, Hagerstown, Md. 21742. Lt. Col. Barry McNew, CAP, is the squadron commander.