Cap Cadets Honor Veterans
In the decade prior to World War II, thousands of civilian pilots with personal planes were seeking an organization to allow them the privilege of defending their country during this time of increasing world-wide tension. Just one week before Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the Civil Air Patrol was formed to provide these volunteers with a purpose. Assigned by the War Department to the jurisdiction of the Army Air Corps, the CAP performed over 500,000 flying hours of sometimes critical missions for their country, including sinking two enemy submarines and rescuing hundreds of crash victims from the sea.
After the war, the Civil Air Patrol was permanently established by Congress on May 26, 1948 and assigned three missions: aerospace education, emergency services and cadet training.
Today the CAP is a non-profit auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force with over 60,000 members. They still perform over 90 percent of the inland search and rescue missions, as well as participate in homeland security, disaster relief and counter-drug missions at the request of government agencies. They also assume a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people in the CAP cadet program.
The 119th East Central Composite Squadron of the CAP is based in Cuba, but operates all over Crawford County and adjoining communities. There are 37 total members of this unit, and 28 of them are in the Cadet Program. Senior members are adults, but Cadets can join at age 12. This Squadron is the first in Missouri to have a Junior Cadet Program, where children age 10 and 11 can participate prior to becoming full-fledged Cadets. Currently, there are 22 Cadets and 6 Junior Cadets.
Led by their Commanders, Capt. William Leach and Lt. Jane Hayes, five of these Cadets visited two Bourbon Veterans last week to honor their service and also present them with a box of donated food to help them in during the Holiday Season.
Cadet Master Sergeant Jozef Buchanon led Cadets Cody Deadmond, Morgan Bone, Jasmine Funke and Jr. Cadet Aaron Deadmond to their first visit of the mission, visiting Mr. Ed Wilson at his apartment in the Autumn Age Homes. Mr. Wilson was a Army Korean War-era veteran, but was based mostly in Germany.
Their next visit was to WW II veteran Ivan Nelson a little further out of Bourbon. Mr. Nelson started his service in the Army Air Corps as a medic, but was transferred to flying duty when the loss of trained fliers became critical later in the war. Trained as a tail gunner for the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, he was on his way to England to participate in the dangerous bombing missions over Germany when the enemy surrendered. Mr. Nelson luckily never had to fly in combat.
These visits were organized by Pastor Ed Carter of the Calvary Baptist Church of Bourbon and by Ron and Cindy Deadmond, the Activities Directors of the CAP Squadron. Food was collected and donated by Sullivan Precision Metal, Mace’s Grocery in Cuba, and the Town & Country Supermarket in Bourbon.
These holiday visits to veterans are just one of the many activities the Cadet Program of the Civil Air Patrol participate in on a yearly basis. They also have camp-outs, visit Ft. Leonard Wood receive training and undergo missions to help the communities in which they live. For more information on the CAP Cadet Program, call Ron Deadmond at 573-261-9498.