Civil Air Patrol Flies Under the Radar
The volunteer group takes off from Harford Airpark.
Harford County has a committed group of men, women and teens active in the Harford Composite Squadron that makes up the Harford County Civil Air Patrol.
The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is an auxiliary of the United States Air Force that was founded in the late 1930s and now boasts more than 130,000 volunteers nationwide.
I had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing 2nd Lt. Tracy Urena, Public Affairs Officer for the Harford Composite Squadron on my show, Aberdeen Happenings, on WAMD.
Asked how she became involved in the CAP, Urena quickly said that her father and grandfather were active in the Civil Air Patrol. When her son turned 12, he too became involved in the CAP. Accompanying her son to meetings, she found the regiment and activities interesting and purposeful, so she too joined up.
The assumption is that to join, one must be a pilot or a former member of the Air Force, when in fact, “people of all walks of life” are members of the Civil Air Patrol, she said. Urena has no interest in getting her pilot's license, but has been on board the Cessna 172P, the primary aircraft flown out of the Harford Airport in Churchville.
As involved as these dedicated people are to the CAP, many folks don’t know what the Civil Air Patrol does and just how important the members' jobs are.
Flying in support of the local law enforcement agencies as well as for the federal government, the CAP is used for search and rescue missions on both the county’s waterways and over land. In years past, the CAP has been involved in more than 40 searches and has been credited with more than 30 finds. The CAP is also widely used for aerial photography of Maryland state highway projects, Maryland Department of the Environment projects and Maryland Department of Agriculture projects.
The Harford Composite Squadron meets on Monday nights at the Harford Airpark. I was invited to attend their meeting and found men, women and teens anxious to talk about their involvement in the CAP.
Captain Mark Fischer was busy with the cadets this evening, running them through their required physical training exercises.
Lt. Mike Allen was busy doing his pre-flight check before taking the Cessna 172P CAP aircraft up for flight qualifications.
Cadet Elizabeth Roberts had just received the highest rank a cadet can earn and is now a colonel in the cadet corps.
Lt. Scott Wise, a five-year member, joined to become active in land search and rescues.
I found the men, women and young men and women of the Harford Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol professional, dedicated and proud to serve their county and state. Maryland is indeed fortunate to have these volunteers serve alongside our law enforcement professionals and state agency employees, in a wide range of public services that many of us take for granted or know little about. Thank you all for your role in the Civil Air Patrol.
The Civil Air Patrol is always looking for dedicated men, women and teens. For more information, contact Major Jeffery Koubek at 410-256-5353
Editor's Note: (Full disclosure: Radio executive and WAMD owner Bill Parris is a lieutenant colonel in the CAP Group 2, based out of the Martin State Airport in Middle River.)