(From left) Cadet Tech. Sgt Steven Farina of the Schenectady Composite Squadron, Senior Member Rob Salica of the Capt. Luke C. Wullenwaber Composite Squadron,, and Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Irish and 1st Lt. John Farina, both members of the Schenectady squadron, help set up mission base for the New York members assisting with the Stratton Air National Guard Family Day Picnic.
In recognition of the 70th anniversary of CAP’s supporting the U.S. Air Force and its predecessors, a group of cadets and officers – (from left) Cadet Senior Airman Jessica Voorheis of the Schenectady squadron and, from the Vanguard Composite Squadron 2nd Lt. Michael Profera Jr., Cadet Master Sgt. Weylin Kohler, Cadet 2nd Lt. Brenden Ward, Cadet Tech. Sgt. Matthew Seeley and Maj. Susan Neal – turned out re-enact the organization’s early era by wearing period uniforms and displaying a fully restored CAP Fairchild 24 in period paint scheme. The vintage aircraft is owned by Neal, commander of the Vanguard unit, and her husband, Lt. Col. Sean Neal, Mid-Eastern Group commander.
Cadet Tech. Sgt. Steven Farina (left) and Aaron Whitney on patrol at Stratton Air National Guard.
A C-130 hangar stands ready to serve as a dining hall after New York Wing members help set up tables and chairs.
Photos by 2nd Lt. Kevin Irish, New York Wing
2nd Lt. Kevin Irish
Public Affairs Officer
Schenectady Composite Squadron
New York Wing
NEW YORK – Search and rescue probably lies in the foreground of the public’s awareness of Civil Air Patrol.
Emergency services often gets the spotlight, after all. It’s not as if members are likely to ever be called out at 2 a.m. to go teach a moral leadership class, and cadets earning medals for model rocketry rarely make the news.
Nonetheless, emergency services is but one of CAP’s main missions. Falling under another core mission, cadet programs, would be a recent event supported by members of the New York Wing’s Mid-Eastern Group.
This mission involved no need for aerial teams or 24-hour packs. Instead, it was carried out solely to show appreciation.
Each year, the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia holds a family day event, giving the Guard members a chance to socialize, meet family members and showcase the facility. This year’s event, held Sept. 16, featured a display of various aircraft, vendors, a kids’ area, a live band, a tailgate party and great food.
In a show of appreciation for the members of the 109th, cadets and officers from the New York Wing turned out ready for duty.
“Our squadron’s weekly meeting place is the Aero-Medical Evacuation building on base, so this is our way of showing them our appreciation for letting us use the facility, and the fact that we had such a good turnout is outstanding,” said Maj. Fred Feurer, deputy commander for the Schenectady Composite Squadron.
The squadron’s commander, Maj. David Panzera, had much the same to say: “I am thrilled at the level of participation. “
This was no small production, and many worked hard to ensure its success. Nearly 50 CAP cadets and officers mobilized to maintain fresh supplies of food, beverages and ice throughout the day. They also directed traffic, provided shuttles for the handicapped, kept garbage and recycling containers empty and provided janitorial services.
Among the aircraft on display were several C-130s, a C-17, C-47, Navy F-5, Navy F-6 and many others. Patrols of the aircraft displays were carried out by the cadets, who executed flawlessly.
The project officer for the event, 1st Lt. John Farina, deputy commander of cadets for the Schenectady squadron, and the assistant project officer, 2nd Lt. Quinton Monaco, the unit’s cadet activities officer, worked with base personnel weeks in advance to prepare for the CAP members’ role.
The result was a greatly reduced workload for the event’s staff, helping to deliver a well-deserved day of rest and relaxation for the members of the 109th .
“I think this gives the cadets a sense of the scope of what’s involved to pull off an event like this,” said the event’s safety officer, 2nd Lt. Kevin Irish, public affairs officer for the Schenectady unit.
“From the planning to the setup, the maintaining, to the cleanup, they get a first-hand look at what goes on behind the scenes,”
Before the event, a handful of cadets and officers arrived early to set up nearly 120 tables and 800 chairs.
“We transformed a C-130 hangar into a dining hall in little more than an hour. This gives the cadets a real sense of what it means to volunteer,” Farina said.
The team also worked to set up the mission base for the event. They offered promotional materials, conducted safety briefings, kept track of member signs, posted maps of the facility and logged task assignments.
“I cannot thank you and CAP enough for all you did,” New York Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. Rodney Begin, told the officers.
“It was through your hard work and dedication that made our family day a success. It was a pleasure working with you and your cadets.”