11:53 AM

Ohio Cadets Represent CAP at Aviation Shrine Inductions

Lt. Willa Brown


Cadets from the Ohio Wing’s Wright-Patterson Composite Squadron served as the color guard Sept. 24 for the National Aviation Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, during which Civil Air Patrol pioneer Lt. Willa Brown was added to the shrine's roster.  

In 1937, Brown became the first African-American woman to earn a private pilot’s certificate and hold a commercial pilot’s certificate in the U.S. Along with her husband, pilot, and aviation mechanic Cornelius R. Coffey, she also became one of CAP’s first African-American officers in 1942 in the Illinois Wing's fully integrated (male/female, black/white) 111th Flight Training Squadron.

Brown and Coffey founded the Coffey School of Aeronautics south of Chicago, where together they trained other Black pilots and AviationHOFmechanics, many of whom went on to become Tuskegee Airmen. She didn’t stop there, co-founding the National Airmen’s Association of America, a group that worked to integrate the U.S. Army Air Corps.

The Wright-Patterson squadron color guard consisted of Chief Master Sgt. Keegan Bowden and NathanialNatlMuseumofAF Gallegos, Senior Master Sgt. Joshua Dilley, and Master Sgt . Anna Bolha.

.In addition, five female cadets– Cadet Lt. Col. Dana Rose, Cadet 1st Lt. Claire Gerber, Cadet 2nd Lt. Mary Hrouda, and Cadet Chief Master Sgts. Adrienne Detwiler and Jocellen NHmonadDetwiler – from three other squadrons helped represent CAP at the event, along with Brig. Gen. Regena Aye, national vice commander. 

They were able to visit with retired Air Force Col. Eileen Collins, a former NASA astronaut, as well as Aye.

Rose and the Detwilers belong to Victor A. Hammond Composite Squadron 234, Gerber to the Akron Canton Composite Squadron, and Hrouda to the Medina County Skyhawks Composite Squadron.