Civil Air Patrol
  • Aircrew returing to base

St. Mary’s Composite Squadron marches in the Leonardtown Veterans Day parade

11/15/2017–CALIFORNIA, Md. — Civil Air Patrol members from Maryland Wing’s St. Mary’s Composite Squadron met at the St. Mary’s County Regional Airport at 7:30 a.m. to start staging for the Veterans Day parade.  This early morning it was 28 degrees (F) as they moved to the St. Mary’s Ryken High School for the final staging ground.  The 22 members of St. Mary’s Composite Squadron represented Civil Air Patrol in one of the oldest and largest Veterans Day parades in the state.  The 18 cadets were led by the Cadet Commander, Cadet 2nd Lt. Michael Petschk, and the color guard by former Cadet Commander Cadet 1st Lt. Abigail Wood.  Four senior Civil Air Patrol members marched in the parade with the cadets or drove in the van led by Capt. David Webster. 

For the last 10 years or longer, St. Mary’s squadron has had the privilege of marching in the annual parade honoring the veterans of our nation and remembering the fallen service members who gave their all defending our freedoms. 

Parade organizers extended an invitation to the entire community to attend the annual Veterans Day parade in Leonardtown on Saturday, November 11th.  The cold weather may have been the reason that crowds along the parade route seemed to be thinner than in years past.  The parade started at 10:00 a.m. and moved from the staging area at St. Mary’s Ryken High School onto Fenwick Street, proceeding to Washington Street and the town square area, ending on Courthouse Drive. The parade featured veterans, dignitaries, elected officials, military units, color guards, local school marching bands, classic and antique cars, boy and girl scouts, cheerleaders, horses, motorcycles, fire, police, emergency personnel and equipment, and more. 

St. Mary’s Composite Squadron meets every Wednesday night from 7:00 to 9:00 at St. Mary’s County Regional Airport, also known as Captain Walter Francis Duke Regional Airport, in the terminal building.  The commander of the squadron is Lt. Col. Lawrence McGovern.  Information at the local squadron can be found at http://md089.capunit.com. 

Nearly 1,500 CAP members serve in Maryland. Last year wing members flew 13 search and rescue missions. The wing was credited with four finds. Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland. Members flew 2,245 hours in all mission categories. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For more information, contact the Maryland Wing at http://mdwg.cap.gov/ or follow the wing on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarylandWingCivilAirPatrol.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.

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by Capt. David Webster

Photo:  St. Mary’s Composite Squadron marching in the 2017 Leonardtown Veterans Day parade.  (Photographer:  Capt. David Webster, CAP)

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