Glen Burnie Squadron: Sky High

August 11, 1994

Members of Glen Burnie's Civil Air Patrol have cause for celebration: They have been designated as the nation's top squadron by that volunteer auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.

They won that honor largely because of their strong recruiting. We say: Well done!

Since its founding in 1941 shortly before the Pearl Harbor attack, the Civil Air Patrol has become an important element of this nation's preparedness. It has trained tens of thousands of young people through its cadet and aerospace education programs and provided invaluable emergency services.

Today, the Civil Air Patrol conducts about 80 percent of the inland searches for missing or downed aircraft for the Air Force. Using its own planes, it can do so more cheaply and efficiently than the Air Force. Air Patrol members also help in other emergencies. During last summer's floods in Missouri, Marylanders in the CAP went there to contribute to rescue work.

In just three years, the Glen Burnie squadron has grown from a unit teetering on the brink of collapse into one with lots of spunk. Its membership ranks have increased from eight to 37, all because of tireless recruitment efforts.

The squadron was selected as the Maryland Wing Squadron of the year for 1993. It then received the award for Middle East Region Squadron of Distinction.

Now comes the national honor that made members so jubilant that one said: "They're going to have to tie me down because I'm so excited."

Young people can join the Civil Air Patrol at 13 -- or having completed the sixth grade, whichever comes first. At 21, they graduate into the senior program in this paramilitary organization that uses the ranks and uniforms of the U.S. Air Force but has its own insignia.

It has about 20 squadrons in Maryland and its nationwide membership is about 60,000.

Because it deals with young people during their formative years, the Civil Air Patrol performs important leadership training functions.

"At 13 years old, most teens have established their values and have a pretty good idea of where they want to get in life," says the Glen Burnie squadron commander, Maj. Richard Bullock. "They just need someone to show them how to get there."

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