File #1529: "CAP NHJ Volume 3, Issue 2 APR-JUN 2016.pdf"

CAP NHJ Volume 3, Issue 2 APR-JUN 2016.pdf

PDF Text


…a journal of
CAP history,
feature articles,
scholarly works,
and stories of

CAP National Historical Journal
Volume III, Issue II: APR-JUN 2016

The Civil Air Patrol National Historical Journal is published quarterly by professional volunteer staff. As academic historians by trade,
we recognize the demand for quality publications reflecting a variety of interests to Civil Air Patrol readers, and strive to provide the
best in feature and thought provoking articles. We trust you will enjoy what the journal has to offer and will consider contributing to
the mission of our staff in providing a forum for the great traditions of our organization.

Without Wings: A History of the
Philip Composite Squadron
Horse Mounted Search and
Rescue Team 1992-2012
Bruce Kipp, PhD.

There were multiple rationales for the formation of a
Mounted SAR Team: The town of Philip, a small
agriculture and ranching community, is surrounded by
acres of cropland and pasture land. The watershed area
to the Bad River around Philip adds to the dimension of
rough terrain as well as land that breaks into the

In 1992, after substantial discussion and planning the
South Dakota Wing Commander at the time, Colonel
Alden House, authorized the commander of the Philip
Composite Squadron (NCR-SD-053) in Philip, SD to form a
horse-mounted ground search and rescue team,
hereafter the Mounted SAR Team. The team was
variously identified in the local newspaper, the Philip
Pioneer Review, and in a regional newspaper, the Rapid
City Journal, as the Philip Mounted Patrol, the 53rd
Mounted Patrol, the 53rd Mounted Ground Team, Philip
Composite Squadron Mounted Patrol, and the Philip
Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol Mounted Ground
Team. For consistency, in this article it will be referred to
as the Mounted SAR Team.

Cheyenne River to the North in Haakon County. A little
south is Bureau of Land Management land that is hilly and
covered by pasture. Nearby are the unforgiving Badlands
of South Dakota, an extensive area of rugged eroded
buttes, rock spires and pinnacles. Because of the diversity
of the land many members of the Philip Composite
Squadron owned and rode horses to handle their daily
chores, much as their Western forefathers did.


he Philip Composite Squadron was a small unit and
it sought for a way to integrate itself into the South

Dakota Wing’s emergency services missions without
duplicating existing capabilities. It was the then squadron
commander, Lt Marsha Sumpter, who pursued the idea
of a mounted search and rescue team which would take
advantage of the local expertise in horsemanship in the

rugged terrain around and near Philip. She reasoned that

ordinary, thus warning their rider who may be looking in

horses could pretty well get around and through most

another direction.4 Additionally, horses are a relatively

terrain obstacles encountered on SAR missions, not often

quiet mode of transportation, unlike ATV’s and

having to divert too far off a search line. Their squadron

snowmobiles which can cover a large area but are noisy,

had enough horses and riders to support such a team.

and may muffle cries for help.5

A horse-mounted search and rescue team has the ability

Staff & Acknowledgements

to cover a vast area quickly and quietly. Such speed made

National Commander
Maj Gen Joseph R. Vazquez

the Mounted SAR Team superior to a regular ground
search and rescue team in mountainous and hilly regions.

Chief Historian
Col Frank A. Blazich Jr.

Horses can carry more supplies to stay out longer, offer a
higher viewing platform for searching, and provide a

National Historical Editor
Lt Col Richard B. Mulanax

more rested rescue worker when a subject is found.
Furthermore, medical or emergency services personnel

National Historical Journal Editor
Maj Kurt Efinger

can be transported to a rescue site in a timely manner.

As the horse component of an overall ground search and
rescue team effort, they can be used to set up mobile
radio relay points in rugged terrain, and trails can be


olonel Alden House, who commanded the South
Dakota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol from 1990 to

1994, took some convincing. It took over a year of


quickly checked and blocked if needed. Packhorses can
be used to transport medical equipment, block and
tackle, litters, and radio gear. Six 40-pound backpacks can

discussion and planning before Lt Sumpter submitted a
formal proposal for authorization to form the Philip
Mounted SAR Team.

be carried on a large packhorse, leaving foot searchers
more mobile and not as prone to exhaustion.2

In an undated letter, most likely in the spring of 1992 Col.
House approved Lt Sumpter’s request, albeit with five

For the rescue itself, many types of injuries do not
prevent rescue on horseback. Not only does this speed up
extraction time, it reduces the number of rescuers
needed, since the subject does not have to be carried out
of the field on a litter.3 While not comparable to dogs for
their air-scent capability, horses are aware of their

stipulations: The Civil Air Patrol will not be liable for
injury/loss/damage to personal property (including
horses); All Mounted SAR Team personnel must meet the
same qualifications as any other ground team to serve as
a qualified team member; All members must be members
of the Civil Air Patrol and have completed Level 1 to

surroundings and will alert at anything out of the

Philip (53rd) Mounted Search and Rescue Fact Sheet,











include CPPT; All members must retain a CAPF 101

You have not lived until you ride in an old jeep with side

marked as “Ground Team – Mounted”; [and] All members

curtains that would not stay shut in 20 degree weather. It

not fully qualified must have completed the CAP 116 test

was a long ride to the Airport. We were loaded onto the

and have the basic knowledge in horsemanship to be able

helicopters and lifted off early in the morning, bound for

to handle their horses.6 Continued on page 5

Cumberland. I learned another cold weather lesson; in a
H21, with overhead heating, your body above the waist is

Night of the Bomber

extremely hot and below is chillingly frozen. I was

Phil Saleet

supposed to be a Ground Team member but, upon arrival,

The following is a reprint of the article “Night of the Bomber”, by Lt Col
Phil Saleet, CAP, written for the North Carolina Wing Paper “Wing
Span” August 2011. The narrative is from the author’s own memories
of events, as well as excerpts from the article, “A Night to Remember”
by Dan Whetzel, in the “Mountain Discoveries Magazine”, Fall/Winter,

In the early morning hours of Monday, 13 January 1964,
the telephone rang in my home. My father answered (I
was a teenager; I did not get out of bed to answer a
telephone in the middle of the night). It was my Squadron

we found out that the aircraft carried nuclear weapons
and only Military personnel would be used for Search and
Rescue/Recovery. My base assignment became Cadet
Commander, due to the fact that, as a Cadet Captain, I
was the ranking cadet officer.


he cadets were tasked with manning the
Communications Van and served as a Security

Commander (Odenton Cadet Squadron). We had been

Cordon, as survivors and victims were flown into the

alerted, for a REDCAP, which is what we old timers used

airport. At night we were quartered in St. John’s Lutheran

to call a real mission. The number was EARC 2-13. A US

Church in South Cumberland. They fed us fried chicken

Air Force B-52 had gone down in a blizzard somewhere in

dinners and other meals. Hundreds of meals were

the Appalachian Mountains of Western Maryland, not far

prepared by many volunteers, from church members to

from the town of Lonaconing.

local citizens, who had assembled to provide us with the
meals and cots to sleep. The weather conditions that

Squadron Commander, Major William Klob, arranged to

night, which caused the crash, are very well known today.

pick up two other Cadets and myself at my house around

The cause of the B-52 crash near Lonaconing, MD was

0400. It was snowing so hard that only 4-wheel drive

directly related to a combination of two storm systems,

vehicles were allowed to travel on the roads. Major Klob

one heading from the west and a super storm from the

pulled up in front of my home in our old surplus military

southwest that caused very extreme turbulence, as

jeep. We had to report to Friendship Airport (now

remembered by co-pilot Captain Parker Peedin.

Baltimore Washington Intl. Airport) right after sunrise to

Increasing turbulence prompted the pilot, Major Thomas

be airlifted by Army H21 Helicopters to Cumberland

McCormick, to ask to be cleared to a lower altitude of

Municipal Airport, our Base of Operations.

29,000 feet. After several minutes, he was granted


Alden House, Colonel, CAP, Horse Mounted Ground Team
approval letter, undated.


permission to proceed. Even with this maneuver, the
weather conditions continued to rapidly get worse and
the B-52 proceeded into the perfect storm.

Major McCormick tried to return to a higher altitude but
even this attempt did not solve their problem as they
continued to be battered by the strong winds. As the
aircraft was tossed about by the severe turbulence,
Whetzel wrote, “the tail fin snapped off, hurling the
massive metal piece into the left horizontal stabilizer and
tail gunners pod.” Now unbalanced, the aircraft rolled

Letters to the Editor
The Editor at the CAP NHJ welcomes your comments
and feedback. Please submit letters for review by
emailing the editor at the address provided.
All comments will be reviewed by the entire editorial
staff prior to publication. The CAP NHJ Editorial Staff
reserves the right to refuse publication to any member
based on the content of the letter.
CAP members are encouraged to maintain a
professional and collegial attitude when submitting

over and began a tight spiral toward the ground. “A
Mayday and then bailout call was issued by Major

Sergeant Mel Wooten was not so lucky. He was struck by

McCormick at 1:30 A.M. on 13 January”, Whetzel noted.

a piece of the plane which caused severe injuries.
“Landing in a field known as Dye Factory, he could see the

Captain Peedin ejected and fell toward the earth, the

lights of Salisbury, Pennsylvania only a half mile in the

frigid night air soon numbing the body and mind. He

distance”, added Whetzel. Injured, and in a blinding

fortunately landed on a farm roughly two miles from the

snowstorm, it was believed he thought the city was closer

town Grantsville, Maryland. A Civil Air Patrol plane from

than it was and he attempted to crawl to it. His body was

Maryland Wing found him, and using their radio, directed

found near the Casselman River. Navigator Major Robert

the ground teams to his position. He was picked up by an

Payne ejected from the aircraft but was injured. His

Army helicopter and flown to Cumberland Airport, where

parachute and equipment, plus tracks in the snow also

the CAP members, myself included, formed two lines

were located from the air by Civil Air Patrol aircraft. He

from the copter to the terminal, to keep reporters and

was believed to have been in shock because he walked

unauthorized personnel from getting access to him.

into a barn, walked around in circles, and then went back

Major Tom McCormick ejected and landed next to a tree

out into the storm. He then tried to build a fire which did

just, a couple of miles from where Captain Peedin was

not light. Being unable to climb the embankment of a

located. McCormick decided to stay at his location until

creek, he slid backward into the almost frozen stream

morning. At first light he walked roughly two miles until

where he perished before being located. Major Payne’s

he came upon a farm house setting along US Route 40. He

body was flown by helicopter to Cumberland Airport

was picked up and transported to Cumberland for

where again, myself and other Civil Air Patrol personnel,

medical treatment.

were cordoned around the helicopter while his body was
transferred to an awaiting ambulance for transport to the
Hospital. Again, we had to hold reporters at bay.

Bombardier Robert Townley did not eject from the

associated with their trucks and trailers, horses and

aircraft and died in the crash. The location of the downed

animal tack as well as the costs for feed and the fuel.

aircraft was critical due to its payload. When it was

Certain standard items of Civil Air Patrol search and

located, the Maryland State Police arranged a security

rescue gear such as a field litter and the had-held radio-

ring around the main wreckage site until arriving federal

direction-finding emergency beacon locator were

officials could insure the security of the crash site. The

provided by either the Wing or the squadron.

major concern was the two, 24-megaton nuclear bombs
that were onboard. The location of the aircraft prevented

The members of the Philip Composite Squadron’s

efforts to successfully remove the nuclear bombs from

Mounted SAR Team wore a unique CAP uniform

Big Savage Mountain until 15 January. The bombs were

authorized by the Wing Commander. They did not wear

taken to Cumberland Airport for transport by an Air Force

the camouflage battle dress (BDU) uniform. Their duty

C-124 Globemaster II.

uniform consisted of black cowboy boots, gray Wrangler
brand jeans, a white aviator shirt with epaulets, an Air

The Civil Air Patrol stood down from this mission on 17

Force blue necktie for males, and a black “Stetson”-style

January 1964. Whetzel stated that “a large memorial,

western cowboy hat with a South Dakota Wing patch on

located about a mile east of Grantsville on US Route 40,

the front. Essentially the same uniform was worn in the

called the Mountain District American Legion Monument,

field as the Wranglers were durable and easy to ride in;

was dedicated in 1964.”

cowboy boots were authorized because military boots

Authors note: Captain Peedin became a member of the
Civil Air Patrol and served until his death in 2004.

were too bulky for horseback and the low heel tended to

Lt Col Phil Saleet, is the Historical Projects Division Head for
National Headquarters. He served two combat tours in the
Tonkin Gulf off the coast of North Vietnam and worked for 32
years in the airline industry where he taught at the US Airways
Training Center. He resides with his wife Pat in Newport, NC.

up well in the field and were easier to spot from an

slip through the stirrup. The white aviator shirts showed

aircraft. In February 1993, a request was made and
approved for a large blue silk bandana to replace the blue
necktie. The justification for the bandana was that the
necktie was basically useless in the field whereas the
bandana was multipurpose; it could serve as a head

Continued from page 3
The pickup trucks, trailers, horses, horse tack and
specialized rescue equipment were all privately owned by
the members of the Mounted SAR Team. There was some
question at the time the team was formed as to whether
the Wing would pay for fuel for the Mounted SAR Team’s
vehicles if called out on a real-world mission. It was
decided that the team was responsible for all costs

and/or face cover in inclement weather or as a smoke
mask. It could also serve as a splint sling or tourniquet.


he Philip Composite Squadron was a small unit
averaging about 21 members. Of those some 12-

15 senior members and cadets were directly involved in
one capacity or another with the Mounted SAR Team.
There were on average 5 qualified riders utilizing 4-5

horses, the rest of the personnel provided mission base

search team and supported by two CAP aircraft to seek

support services such as driving the pickup hauling the

two cadets who played the role of hikers lost in the Sage

horse trailer, caring for reserve horses and/or the pack

Creek Wilderness Area of the Badlands National Park.

horse, maintaining a communications base station,

Initially the two cadets deliberately did not make

equipment logistics, etc. They were essential in moving

themselves visible to the aircraft. However, later that day

the mission base to a new location as the perimeter of the

the temperature plunged from 70 to 50 in about 30

search area expanded. The squadron was one of the few,

minutes, with the wind gusting up to 60 mph. When the

if any in Civil Air Patrol to focus their monthly unit safety

cold, blustery weather moved in the “lost hikers”

briefings on equine safety.

definitely wanted to be rescued as they were wearing


shorts and t-shirts. Because the Sage Creek Wilderness
embers of the Mounted SAR Team were eager to

Area is walking or riding only, the Mounted SAR Team

perfect their skills and exhibit their expertise to

brought them out of the area to the comfort of a CAP van

validate the team’s value to the South Dakota Wing’s

parked on a nearby roadway.8

search and rescue capability. From the time they were
formed they were very active in participating in search

This SAREX was not without drama at the Mission Base at

and rescue training missions (SAREXs). So much so that

the Philips Municipal Airport. Wind gusts of up to 60 mph

within the first few years they logged about 580 hours of

necessitated the dispatch of wing-walkers to meet the

training mission assignments participating in SAREXs in

CAP aircraft returning from their missions. In addition,

the Black Hills, at Onida and Pierre, Custer, Mitchell, Philip

CAP vans were used as a mobile wind break to help get

and in Aberdeen and the surrounding area.7 While most

the aircraft to their tie-down locations.9

of the SAREXs in which they participated were routine,
two SAREXs stand out for drama and humor.

The SAREX also had a humorous episode. The strong
winds allowed the South Dakota Wing to try out a new

The first official search and rescue training exercise for

experimental aircraft – the “flying outhouse” – which

the Mounted SAR Team took place on the weekend of 16-

took off and cleared the airport’s three-strand barbed

17 May 1992. The South Dakota Wing held a major Search

wire fence. When the porta-potty crash landed, a team of

and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) in Philip. Senior members

emergency services personnel were dispatched on a real-

and cadets, vehicles and aircraft from across the state

world search and rescue mission to the site to determine

gathered at the Philip Municipal Airport. The Mounted

if there were any physical damages or personal injuries.

SAR Team was dispatched in conjunction with a ground

As it turned out, the flying outhouse was unpiloted.10


Philip (53rd) Mounted Search and Rescue Fact Sheet,



8 1st Lt. Vaughan, Roberta, CAP. “Mount Up! Move Out!”,
The Pioneer Review (Philip, SD), Page 2, May 21, 1992



Members of the Mounted SAR Team were sent out on a
search and rescue training mission in the Black Hills. This
SAREX was also not without its drama. 1st Lt Rick Reimann
suffered an injury to his ankle and foot when his horse
acted up and got him in a tight situation. We were just
ending the search so Sumpter rode to a nearby
farmhouse to get some ice. With his foot packed in ice,
the team switched from a SAREX to a REDCAP to evacuate
Reimann to Ellsworth Air Force Base for medical care.
Figure 1. This photo, taken by Maj Don Barbalace, Wing PAO at the
time, shows some of the members of the Philip Composite Squadron
Mounted SAR Team at the evaluated search and rescue exercise held
June 13th 1993 at the Rapid City Regional Airport. Members of the
team mounted are (l to r) Senior Member Merle Johnson on Red, 2d
Lt Steve Millage on Blue Pine; the unit pack horse Howdy; Cadet
Stanley Reimann on Chief; and Senior Member Rick Reimann on Poko.
Standing (l to r) is 1st Lt Marsha Sumpter, the Philip Squadron
Commander wearing a hat unique to her position, and 1st Lt Roberta
Vaughan, squadron PAO. On her cap is a reflective “Civil Air Patrol”

The next significant SAREX for the Mounted SAR Team
came in mid-June 1993 when the South Dakota Wing
underwent an Air Force Evaluated Search and Rescue
Exercise. The Mission Base was at Rapid City’s Regional
Airport. As part of the SAREX the Philip Composite
Squadron’s Mounted SAR Team was deployed to
Hermosa, SD in the rugged Black Hills area to search for a
missing small aircraft with a pilot and a passenger aboard.

Figure 2. Kneeling and wearing the black Stetson is SM Rick Reimann.
2d Lt Steve Millage is on the radio. Photo credit: Marsha Sumpter

While waiting for him to be treated, a storm came up
making travel hazardous so the Mounted SAR Team set
up camp that night near the airbase. For some reason,
Rick’s dog Rex who usually rode on top of the pack horse
vanished into the storm. The team launched a search and
rescue mission for Rex. Radio stations were alerted and

The Mounted SAR Team was accompanied by a USAF
evaluator. In the usual “hurry-up and wait” pattern of
SAREXs after the team got to Hermosa they had some
down time before commencing the search. While waiting,
the USAF officer had the opportunity to mount the pack
horse Howdy and take a short trail ride for instructional
purposes, a uniformed “Zoomie” on horseback was an
incongruous sight to see.

word was sent out about the lost dog. He had a collar tag
with his name and number and before camp was broken
the next day, with Rick on crutches, Rex was found in New
Underwood about 15 miles away.

Editor's Note: The Civil air Patrol National
Historical Journal continues to receive quality
submissions from across the CAP community, and
appreciates the continued support of its members.
Please adhere to the guidelines specified in the
journal with regard to format, content, and review.

Mounted SAR Team looked sharp. The riders decided to
take the horses out to Custer State Park and ride a little
to give the horses some exercise before returning home,
about a 140 mile journey. Rick and Stanley Reimann had
ridden in Custer State Park many times rounding up the
buffalo, which is a yearly event. The riders unloaded their
horses and took off. Howdy the pack horse was unloaded
to let him graze and move around next to the trailer. Maj
Vaughan and Lt Sumpter had stayed with the vehicle and
trailer to tend to Howdy. All of a sudden, seemingly out of
Figure 3. Close up of the tack and equipment worn by the horses. The
horses in firgures 2 & 3 belonged to SM Reimann. Photo credit:
Marsha Sumpter

nowhere a herd of buffalo came right toward them! Maj.

The Philip Composite Squadron’s Mounted SAR Team’s

him in the horse trailer just in time as the buffalo

peak period of activity was in the early 1990s when they

surrounded them. The two were stuck in the trailer for

trained extensively, participated in numerous SAREXs and

some time until the buffalo continued on their way. Lt

took part in many parades in their own and nearby

Sumpter could have driven away, but chose to quietly stay

communities. Unfortunately, the Mounted SAR Team was

put to see how the event was going to play out. All ended

never called upon to demonstrate their expertise during

well. The riders returned in fine shape having seen the

a REDCAP. According to Sumpter, the Philip Composite


Squadron commander, “By 2002, we had basically fallen

unsurprisingly, the size of the herd, as did the size of each

by the wayside when we lost members with horse trailers

individual buffalo, got bigger and bigger with every

and enough equipment to support [a SAR mission].” Later

retelling of the story.

Vaughan jumped out of the van, grabbed Howdy and got








she added, “… by 2000 we had not been used by CAP in
SARs to the potential that we could have been and it was

The Philip Composite Squadron Mounted SAR Team had

about then that members' interest faded as well. We

one last hurrah when the Wing organized a parade in

never officially disbanded or stood down.”

Philip to honor the team’s 10th Anniversary. The parade,
also open to community participants, was held on

Another memorable moment came when the Mounted

Saturday, June 8, 2002. The theme was “A Ride like No

SAR Team and other members of the squadron were

Other”. From the staging area the parade route was eight

invited to Custer to carry the flags for their big parade.

blocks down Main Street to the park downtown for

The team took their horses to Custer and set up camp the

speeches, food, fun and music.11, 12

night before the parade. The day of the parade the

“CAP Will Be Honored During Parade”, The Pioneer
Review (Philip, SD), Page 2, June 6, 2002.


“Mounted & Ready”, The Pioneer Review (Philip, SD),
Page 3, June 20, 2002.


By 2002, the Mounted SAR Team had not been riding for

membership, the Wing “demoted” the Philip unit from a

some time so in order to stage the event the squadron

composite squadron to a composite flight. Sadly,

had to scramble to find horses and qualified riders. Maj.

membership continued to decline. In 2012, the flight was

Vaughan and Capt. Sumpter rode horses he had at his

disbanded and its remaining members were reassigned to

place over the parade route two times ahead of the

the Pierre Composite Squadron in Pierre closing the

parade to get the horses accustomed to being ridden and

chapter on the Philip Composite Squadron. Hopefully

aware of the surroundings in the town. Six Mounted SAR

someday the Philip Composite Squadron will be

Team riders took part in the parade. They made two trips

reactivated and shine in its past glory.

down the parade route. It was a well-attended event with

Maj Bruce Kipp is a former Department of Defense employee
who holds a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the
Joint Military Intelligence College (JMIC, now the National
Intelligence University), and a Ph. D. in European History. He
currently serves as the South Dakota Wing's Public Affairs

some 250 people in attendance. The parade, however,
was not without incident. It was very windy that day.
Team member Lt Marsha Sumpter was on the horse
Christian. As the parade proceeded along the route an
American flag in front of the mortuary made a loud
snapping sound in the high wind. Christian got spooked at

Call for Submissions

the sound and fell down. Fortunately, Marsha was able to

The Civil Air Patrol National Historical Journal (NHJ)
welcomes articles, essays, and commentaries on any topic
relating to the history of the Civil Air Patrol, or military/civilian
aviation and aerospace history.

step off and held on to the reins to keep the horse from
bolting. When the horse stood up she needed help
remounting as Christian was still skittish and wouldn't
hold still. Once back on the horse she got back in
formation and finished the parade.

In addition to the parade, the then Mayor of Philip, the
Honorable John F. Hart, issued a proclamation declaring
June 8, 2002 “Civil Air Patrol Day”. In the mayoral
proclamation the Mounted SAR Team was mentioned
twice. Mayor Hart also presented a plaque marking the
day to the Philip Composite Squadron.13 As has happened
in many small towns in South Dakota, a slowly declining
membership in the Philip Composite Squadron and
waning interest in the deployment of the Mounted SAR

All historiographical works and essays must be submitted in
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). Authors should submit
digital photographs (minimal resolution of 300 dots per inch)
and illustrations for publication. Content should be the work
of the author or open source. Adjustments to pixel saturation,
color and size will be made according to the editorial staff’s
recommendations. Please note that when submitted to the
editor at the Civil Air Patrol National Historical Journal, all
works and related media are released from copyright
infringements when published.
Editorial changes are at the sole discretion of the editorial
staff, and will be discussed with the author prior to
publication, and require release from the author.
The CAP NHJ editorial staff reserves the right to refuse
any work submitted. All submissions must be sent as
MS Word attachments and mailed to the editor at

Team spelled the team’s demise. Later, due to declining


“Civil Air Patrol Day Mayoral Proclamation”, The Pioneer
Review (Philip, SD), Number 41, Volume 96, June 6, 2002.


Editor's Column: The Good, the Bad,

avoid the fatal tendency to rewrite, alter, embellish, or

and Cap History

otherwise fabricate history.

K.J. Efinger, MMH
The Civil Air Patrol has enjoyed seventy-five years of
Quite often the question is asked of historians whether or

history and service to America. Countless lives have been

not we can write “objectively” on a subject. As I reflect on

saved due to the efforts of its members in the air

both my profession as an historian, and tenure as the

operations division of Emergency Services. Aerospace

Editor of the CAP NHJ, I can say that writing objectively is

Education has motivated, and prepared American youth

not an easy task, but one that is a necessity. Since the first

for generations to pursue careers in science, engineering,

publication of the CAP NHJ in 2013, foremost in my mind

and aviation. The Cadet Programs division of CAP has

has been the unabridged and unbiased recording of CAP

taught leadership, responsibility, and camaraderie, as


well as equip Cadets for potential military service. At all
levels of interaction, CAP members contribute to the

Most historians have either repeated, or at least heard

unique, and unprecedented organization that serves

the maxim, “to the victor belong the spoils.” The saying is

faithfully as the official auxiliary of the United States Air

often attributed to Sen. William Marcy of New York,

Force. That said, given the organization’s visibility, and

following the landslide victory of Andrew Jackson in the

impact at the federal, state and local levels, it should

election of 1828. In fact, Sen. Marcy made the remark in

remain a transparent entity. CAP historians have a

defense of Martin Van Buren to the U.S. Senate on

responsibility to report the “good, the bad, and the ugly”

January 25, 1832—four years after the election of Jackson

without omitting embarrassing, or even disreputable and

to the Presidency. In full context, Marcy stated “They see

potentially damaging history. To do otherwise would be

nothing wrong in the rule, that to the victor belong the

less-than acceptable professional behavior.

spoils of the enemy” in reference to politicians—
specifically Jackson and his so-called “spoils system”

In the period following the most notorious of Roman

where he rewarded his political supporters with various

emperors, not long after the death of Augustus, we

government offices while President. Marcy was likely

entered the so-called Silver Age of Roman Literature, and

making a play on the word “spoils” in the sense of loot, or

with it, a time when criticism of the Empire, and its

classic plunder, as well as the reference to political

leaders was as commonplace, and acceptable to society

paybacks. Nevertheless, the victors as we have also

as the Denarius was to commerce. This age—to whatever

heard, write history. This idea—and practice—alone can

extent it existed, and in whatever manner we see it—was

be frightening. To this end, all historians should strive to

one in which complete transparency prevailed. Few


The CAP HNJ is not limited to Civil Air Patrol related history or
articles, however, this editorial focuses strictly on the collection and
recording of CAP history as submitted, reviewed, recorded, and

witnessed by CAP members. The editorial staff reserves the right to
"fact-check" all submissions prior to publication.


would contest the greatness of Rome as a civilization, and

and picture of history. The perspective from which our

fewer still, the many blemishes it left in history. One may

authors come may be diverse, but the goal of providing

argue that if an ascendant and prolific civilization such as

accurate and clear assessments of history is the same.

Rome could be exposed and survive along with its

Semper Vigilans

contributions to the Western world, then an organization

Maj Efinger serves as the Historian for SER HQ, and is a full-time
teacher of Economics and Adjunct Professor of History at Indian
River State College in Ft. Pierce, FL.

that has spanned two centuries ought to be able to
endure criticism and praise as well.

I often tell students of American history, that we are going
to study “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” At first, they
do not always understand, but a few weeks into the
semester, they begin to realize that greatness often
comes at a cost and not without “bad things” as well. As
an organization, CAP finds itself in the unique position of
being comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds
all striving to the same end—service to our country. From
this wealth of experience, we must reach a common goal.
As medieval thinker Thomas Aquinas posited nearly a
thousand years ago, “the common good is made up of
many parts.”15 More than anything, the Civil Air Patrol fits
this paradigm. Coincident with this thought, however, is
the fact that CAP is also comprised of human beings, and
as such, we will see all those things that human beings
do—the good, the bad, and the ugly. None of this should
be omitted from the record—a comprehensive, accurate,
and honest assessment of an organization whose goal
regardless of negative marks should be presented in
perpetuity. The CAP National Historical Journal utilizes
writers—professional historians as well as those whose
civilian life may be far removed from the craft—who have
done a good job at providing the most objective analysis

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a
nonprofit organization with 61,000 members nationwide,
operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary
role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and
rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue
Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving
an average of 80 lives annually. Its volunteers also perform
homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions
at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members
play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors
to more than 26,000 young people currently participating in the
CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in
2011 and has been performing missions for America for 71
years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an
initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of
U.S. military veterans. Visit or for more information.


John Morrall, B, Political Though in Medieval Times (Toronto:
University of Toronto, 1987), 77.