Southern Maryland CAP squadrons collaborate to support Air Expo at NAS Patuxent River
June 19, 2018 — PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — St. Mary’s Composite and Calvert Cadet squadrons, units of the Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol, joined forces to showcase CAP mission and volunteer opportunities at the 2018 Patuxent River Air Expo. Twenty MDWG volunteers supported the Friday rehearsal followed by the two-day expo which took place at the U.S. Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Event organizers anticipated a two-day attendance of more than 120,000 visitors.
On Friday, CAP volunteers and other exhibitors were treated to the best air show performance of the weekend: a full-dress rehearsal by the U. S. Navy’s Blue Angels aerobatic team. The weather was perfect for performances and viewing exceptional as there was hardly a cloud in the sky. Access, during this pre-event rehearsal, was restricted to NAS Pax River personnel, their families, friends, exhibitors, volunteers and special interest groups.
On Saturday and Sunday, members served as event volunteers and staffed the CAP exhibit which included MDWG’s newest Cessna 172. This first day of the expo was well attended and perfect for flying. The performances were exciting and the crowds appreciative. Several thousand people visited the CAP exhibit and interacted with members. Numerous visitors inquired about CAP membership, for both adults and cadets. Traveling from Washington, D.C., Frederick, Md., Fairfax, Va., and Dover, Del., many expressed interest and were provided information as to the location and access to their local CAP units. The Cessna 172 was placed strategically for viewing, positioned on a major taxiway near several aircraft from the Experimental Aircraft Association and a science, technology, engineering and mathematics booth. Visitors were anxious to view the Cessna up close and were eager to sit in the aircraft.
Sunday’s poor weather conditions affected attendance and performances. Clouds that produced low visibility coupled with the onset of heavy rain prevented performers from flying. The cloud ceiling deteriorated to about 600 feet and, at times, was accompanied by heavy rain and winds clocked at over 40 knots. CAP volunteers and other event exhibitors were drenched by the rain and by 2:00 p.m. the flight performances had been canceled. Regardless, weather conditions had no effect on the positive attitude of the St. Mary’s and Calvert squadron members. After securing MDWG equipment, cadets stepped-up and helped other exhibitors and vendors to secure displays and equipment during high/gusty winds coming off the Chesapeake Bay. Even
though the weather considerably affected the outcome of the planned event, all was not lost. As a bonus, everyone was invited to personally meet with the performers at a local firehouse. Overall, St. Mary’s and Calvert squadron volunteers expressed that although they were disappointed that the event had been ‘rained-out,’ they were extremely excited to meet the U. S. Navy Blue Angels team, other event participants and were just as eager to talk with and get their autographs.
The Air Expo is a weekend of aerial acrobatic performances, ground exhibits and demonstrations. By working at this event, our members were provided viewing access to vintage and contemporary aircraft and interacted with event participants. This type of activity encourages interest in flight and contributes to CAP’s mission to provide aeronautical education for its members.
Air Expo performances included Patty Wagstaff, one of the world’s top air show pilots; Rob Holland, five-time world aerobatic champion and one of the most decorated, respected and innovative aerobatic pilots in the world and the Warrior Flight Team. Other exhibits included World War II aircraft such as a North American P-51 Mustang and Vought F4U Corsair and a U. K. Royal Navy Sea Harrier Jump Jet. The event’s most anticipated performance was the U.S Navy Blue Angels high performance flight team who captivated the audience with their awesome flight demonstration. The team of six F/A -18 Hornets pe
rformed with great precision as they executed fly-bys past the audience. Unfortunately, threatening weather somewhat curtailed their performance compared to what they had accomplished the day before. For more information about the U.S. Navy Blue Angels visit www.blueangels.navy.mil/
CAP volunteers included Col. Lawrence Trick, Lt. Col. Glenn Rioux, Maj. Dennis Villar, Maj. Egon Frech, Maj. David Trick, 1st Lt. Steve Lang and cadets from both squadrons who represented the MDWG and CAP in the very best way.
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 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. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, 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 80 lives annually. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 25,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com or www.CAP.news for more information.
Photos (left to right)
St. Mary’s and Calvert squadron cadets interact with the U.S. Navy Blue Angles team and obtained autographs. 1st Lt. Lang stands in the forefront as C/TSgt Holdsworth talks with Commander Eric Doyle, USN, flight leader/commander of the USN aircraft No. 1 of the USN aerobatic team.
Cadet St. Mary’s and Calvert cadets with MDWG Cessna 172 in the background at the NAS Pax River 2018 Air Expo.
St. Mary’s and Calvert cadets took the opportunity to watch the U.S. Navy Blue Angles aerobatic team flyover at the NAS Pax River 2018 Air Expo.
Maj. David Webster
Public Affairs Officer
St. Mary’s Composite Squadron