When the Helpers need Help
Since 1942, the Civil Air Patrol’s Col. Mary S. Feik Composite Squadron, formally known as the Annapolis Composite Squadron, has met at Lee Airport in Edgewater, Maryland. For 79 years, the squadron has been a part of the Edgewater and Annapolis communities providing emergency services, community outreach, and educational programs. Additionally, the squadron has been a regular participant in the Annapolis Memorial Day Parade, the Annapolis Fourth of July Parade, the Annapolis Military Bowl Parade, the MRE Tug-of-War, and the Wreaths Across America event at the Annapolis National Cemetery.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, Civil Air Patrol ceased in person meetings and the Col Mary S. Feik Composite Squadron went virtual to assure organizational cohesiveness and ongoing success. By the end of May 2021, the squadron was anticipating a return to in person meetings; however, the squadron’s meeting place, a World War II era Nissen hut (affectingly referred to as “the Hut”) was deemed unsafe and the squadron was directed to identify another place to congregate.
For the first time since World War II, the squadron found itself without a home. Fearing the unit would not endure an evolving COVID-19 response environment, the unit commenced meeting outdoors at the Lee Airport while the search for a new meeting location began in earnest. In July 2021, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Chapter 304 of Annapolis, agreed to host the squadron for weekly meetings for as long as needed.
After a four month search for a larger, more suitable environment, the City of Annapolis Recreation and Parks, and the Pip Moyer Recreation Center (PMRC) agreed to allow us to use space at the PMRC to host weekly squadron meetings in a temporary setting. We believe this new relationship with the PMCR will make the Col. Mary S. Feik Composite Squadron more accessible to local children and adults who, under alternate situations, would remain unaware of the Civil Air Patrol mission and the many benefits it brings to both the state and our local communities. In support of the PMCR, the squadron will assist in respective community outreach programs in the future.
Sincere appreciation is extended to Mr. Kurt Surber (VFW Chapter 304 Commander), Mr. Michael Blackwell (VFW Chapter 304 Senior Vice Commander), Mr. Archie Trader (Director of the City of Annapolis Recreation and Parks), and Mr. John “Bumper” Moyer (Facilities Supervisor of the PMRC) for coming to the squadron’s aide when in time of need. It is because of these community leaders that the Col. Mary S. Feik Composition Squadron can continue serving and be part of the Annapolis community for many more years to come.
Nearly 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.
For More Information:
MAJ Robert J. Williams, Commander Col. Mary S. Feik Composite Squadron
1st Lt Jeffrey Robertson, Maryland Wing Public Affairs