A cadet helps position a CAP Cessna 182 for display at Spirit of St. Louis Airport.
Some of the CAP aircraft on display.
Crowds begin to gather at the beginning of the day.
Col. Erica Williams, wing commander, and Lt. Col. David Miller, the wing’s public affairs officer, confer during the anniversary celebration.
Photos by Senior Member Madolena Key. Missouri Wing
2nd Lt. David Chilenski
Public Affairs Officer
Gateway Senior Squadron
MISSOURI – Hundreds of St. Louis area residents gathered on an unseasonably warm May day to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Gateway Senior Squadron.
What began as a simple squadron gathering at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield evolved into a community celebration that included people of all ages, numerous aircraft displays and a B-2 flyover. The Gateway squadron has served the St. Louis metropolitan area and eastern Missouri for three decades, participating in countless Civil Air Patrol missions, including disaster response, counter-drug and missing aircraft searches.
The squadron’s commander, Lt. Col. Carolyn Rice, spearheaded the effort to bring together current and past squadron members.
“I am honored to serve with this distinguished group of volunteers,” Rice said. “I was overwhelmed by the amount support we received from our community, be it the wing staff, Air Force or even the local fixed base operator.”
The day began with a cadet color guard from the St. Charles Composite Squadron, followed by remarks by Lt. Col. Dan Ranson, Missouri Wing vice commander.
Officers and cadets helped ensure the aircraft ramp was secure and that cars were able to park safely in overflow lots. An unexpected concern was the extraordinary heat, which neared triple digits on the tarmac around the aircraft displays. Members reacted by ensuring that all participants had access to plenty of water and shade in a nearby hangar.
The 23 displays featured aircraft from both the military and civilian aviation worlds. Visitors were treated to up-close looks at a U.S. Air Force A-10, police and Medevac helicopters and, of course, CAP aircraft, including the Gippsland GA-8 Airvan and Cessna 182 Nav III.
Looking ahead to the squadron’s next anniversary, 2nd Lt. Larry Corbin, the unit’s historian, said with a grin, “I’m proud to be part of such a noteworthy organization. I hope we can do this again next year.”