Maryland Wing honors Civil Air Patrol 78th birthday at Arlington National Cemetery
December 1, 2019 — ARLINGTON, Va. — Members from Civil Air Patrol’s Maryland Wing Headquarters, Bowie Composite Squadron, and Arundel Composite Squadron commemorated Civil Air Patrol’s 78th birthday with remembering those buried at the Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.
On December 1, 2019, Lt. Col. Greg Novak, 1st Lt. Jeffrey Robertson, Cadet Capt. Nicholas Novak and Cadet Technical Sgt. Christopher Nolte laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The opportunity to partake in this hallowed ceremony with the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, also known as the Old Guard, was an incredible experience for each Maryland Wing participant.
In addition to participating in the wreath laying ceremony, Maryland Wing members reflected on the service and sacrifices of the over 4,000 military members buried at the Arlington to include U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Howard Enoch, Jr, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Anissa Shero and U.S. Air Force Col. Robert Frank Phelps, Ph.D.
Enoch crashed his P-51D fighter plane in what would become East Germany on March 19, 1945. Due to the rise of the Cold War Iron Curtain, Enoch’s remains remained in East Germany and returned to the United States 63 years after his death once Germany was reunified.
Shero, the first U.S. Air Force woman to perish in Afghanistan, was a Lockheed MC-130H (Combat Talon II) crew member of the 16th Special Operations Squadron. On June 12, 2002, her airplane crashed and caught fire after taking off from an airstrip in southeast Afghanistan.
Phelps was a lifelong science, technology, engineering and mathematics advocate, a tenured associate professor of electrical engineering at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and also a program evaluator for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Lt. Col. Novak noted that he was honored to participate in the wreath laying event with his son, C/Capt. Novak, and is excited that Nick wishes to follow in his footsteps as a public servant. When Lt. Col. Novak is not volunteering with CAP, he is a career firefighter and currently a division chief with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. C/Capt. Novak is posturing himself to join the cadet cadre at either the U.S. Air Force Academy or the U.S. Coast Guard Academy with the aim of joining the either service’s aviator ranks upon graduation.
In the latter half of the 1930s, World War II Axis powers became a threat to the United States, its allies and respective interests. Consequently, New Jersey director of aeronautics and World War I aviator Gill Robb Wilson envisioned mobilizing America’s civilian aviators for national defense beginning in 1936. By early 1941, Wilson perfected the program concept, founded the Civil Air Defense Services (CADS), and began working with Fiorello H. Laguardia (New York Mayor and director of federal Office of Civilian Defense), Thomas H. Beck (Chairman of the Board, Crowell-Collier Publishing Company) and Guy P. Gannet (owner of a Maine newspaper chain) to draft a proposal focused on organizing the nation’s civilian resources to support national defense interests. In November 1941, their proposition for a Civil Air Patrol was heard by the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Navy and War; and subsequently approved for implementation. Successively, Civil Air Patrol national headquarters opened its doors on December 1, 1941 with Maj. Gen. John F. Curry as its first national commander.
More than 1,500 members serve in Civil Air Patrol’s Maryland Wing. Last year, wing members flew 13 actual search and rescue missions. Overall, the Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland, flying 2,245 hours in all mission categories, and was credited with four finds. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For information, contact the Maryland Wing at mdwg.cap.gov or follow the wing on Facebook.
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 82 lives annually. CAP’s 61,000 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 information.
1st Lt. Jeffrey Robertson, CAP
Public Affairs Officer, Maryland Wing