09:54 AM

Missouri Squadrons Hold Advance Commemoration of CAP Anniversary

Capt. David Chilenski
Public Affairs Officer
Gateway Senior Squadron
Missouri Wing

Color guard

Three Missouri Wing squadrons got a head start Sept. 18 – birthday of the U.S. Air Force – on celebrating the 80th anniversary of Civil Air Patrol’s founding.

The observation brought hundreds of all ages to Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield to meet pilots of numerous aircraft, including current and vintage CAP planes and World War II and modern aircraft. Members of St. Louis area squadrons -- the Gateway Senior Squadron and St. Louis and Wentzville composite squadrons – told them about CAP’s missions, programs and history.

Members staffed booths on aerospace education, showed off the aircraft and equipment needed for emergency services missions, and provided refreshments. Senior members and cadets helped ensure the aircraft ramp was secure and that visitors were able to park safely in overflow lots.

Twenty aircraft were on display, including an Air National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, a World War II B-25 Mitchell bomber, a T-28 Trojan, a CAP Cessna 172 and Cessna 182, a police helicopter, and vintage aircraft, including an L-2, L-3 and L-16.

Elite Aviation offered introductory Cessna 172 flights, and the Youth Aviation Museum in Creve Coeur brought its restored F-4 Phantom II cockpit and pedal aircraft for children to pretend to fly.

“It’s fulfilling to be part of such a proud past and an organization with the agility to meet the missions of the future,” said the Gateway squadron’s historian, 1st Lt. Larry Corbin.

Lt. Col. Keith G. Monteith, Gateway squadron commander, spearheaded the effort to commemorate CAP’s creation on Dec. 1, 1941.

“We received an overwhelming amount of support from Elite Aviation, the premier Cessna Pilot Center at Spirit of St Louis Airport, and our community, be it the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, Army National Guard and local aviation organizations and aircraft owners, to put on this celebration of CAP’s history as well as inform the public of our capabilities and contribution to the nation,” Monteith said. “It was a team effort.”