Retired Lt. Col. Otha Vaughan expresses his thanks after being honored with CAP's Exceptional Service Award during a ceremony at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., Dec. 1, 2011. Vaughan was recognized at the CAP 70th anniversary ceremony for his service as a cadet during World War II. Courtesy photo
by Susan Schneider
MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS - 12/6/2011) -- Civil Air Patrol
members observed the 70th anniversary of its founding with a
ceremony Dec. 1 at its national headquarters here.
the ceremony, which celebrated the past, present and future of the
official civilian auxiliary of the Air Force, CAP leaders presented
Exceptional Service Awards to a pair of the organization's World War
CAP Lt. Cols. Wendall
Haas and Otha Vaughan, both members of the CAP Alabama Wing, were
honored for their service during CAP's wartime years. They received
their awards from Col. Al Bedgood, the CAP Southeast Region
commander. In addition, Don Rowland, the executive director at CAP
National Headquarters, presented each man with a framed
commemorative 70th-anniversary poster and an anniversary coin.
Haas, 88, joined the CAP in 1942, serving as an officer in a
squadron in California's San Fernando Valley. He played a vital role
on the ground in support of CAP's subchasers as an airplane and
including patching planes shot while towing targets for pilots
training in military planes.
Vaughan joined the CAP in 1944 as a 15-year-old cadet.
His mother drove him to squadron meetings in Anderson, S.C.,
because no unit existed in his hometown of Seneca. After
nearly 30 years in active and reserve Air Force service, he
retired as an Air Force lieutenant colonel in 1989. At 82
years old, Vaughan is an active member of the Huntsville
Senior Squadron in Alabama, having rejoined CAP in 2005. He
serves as the unit's historian, an assistant aerospace
education officer, and a mission scanner during search and
rescue exercise missions.
Air Force Brig. Gen. Roger
Watkins, the commander of the Jeanne M. Holm Center for
Officer Accessions and Citizen Development here, was a guest
speaker at the ceremony. During his speech, he highlighted
the bravery and patriotism of the men and women who serve in
the CAP, especially during World War II.
"CAP members who served during World War II played a
critical role in the defense of America's homeland," Watkins
said. "Their contributions were varied, as evidenced by the
distinguished service of our honorees, but their collective
efforts, both on ground and in the air, were nothing short
of remarkable. As volunteer patriotic Americans, who
provided service at their own expense and even by flying
their own airplanes, they actually spotted nearly 150 German
submarines, attacked 57 and sank two."
Air Force Col.
Paul Gloyd, the commander of CAP-U.S. Air Force and another
guest speaker at the ceremony, echoed Watkins' praise for
that wartime record, lauding "the thousands of men and women
who followed their hearts and volunteered to serve their
country during World War II.
"That same patriotic
service is still the hallmark of success of Civil Air
Patrol," Gloyd said. "Today, CAP is a world-class public
service organization consisting of members who, like their
forefathers, give selflessly every day to make a profound
difference all across America in their communities.
"No matter when and how they are called to serve -- whether
providing aerial and ground team reconnaissance for natural
disasters and emergencies, nurturing the leadership skills
of our youth, promoting aerospace education, partnering with
the Air Force to keep America safe, or honoring veterans
through the Wreaths Across America program -- CAP members
never cease to impress me with their dedication and
commitment to this outstanding organization," he added.
Rowland said there is an effort under way in both houses
of Congress to secure approval of legislation that would
honor CAP's World War II senior members with a congressional
"Their wartime service was highly
unusual," he said, "because they were civilian volunteers
flying combat missions in their own aircraft."
By Civil Air Patrol
Air Force News Service
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