File #367: "Civil Air Patrol Rhode Island Wing Providence Squadron Vol. 1, No. 2 .pdf"

Civil Air Patrol Rhode Island Wing Providence Squadron Vol. 1, No. 2 .pdf

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VOL. 1


1 0 5 1 N O R T H M A I N S T. P R O V I D E N C E , R . I .

Story of the 16th Wing
In area within its jurisdiction, the Rhode
Island Wing is of course the smallest in the
c o u n t r y. I n a e r o n a u t i c a l e q u i p m e n t a n d
flight operations, it is probably close to being the smallest--thanks to the fact that
Rhode Island is one of two states entirely
w i t h i n t h e r e s t r i c t e d Vi t a l D e f e n s e A r e a .
But in its determination and spirit and its
demonstrated persistence in "carrying on"
under adverse circumstances it is far from
being the least of the forty-eight wings in
the country. In our first issue was a brief
history of Civil Air Patrol, taken from a
recent publication of the Missouri Wing.
There have been more elaborate and complete histories of CAP written, but none
which tells so clearly and effectively how
the organization came into being and what
it has done. It may be of interest to suplement this by a brief history of the Rhode
Island Wing.
The 16th, or Rhode Island Wing, was
o r g a n i z e d i n J a n u a r y, 1 9 4 2 , u n d e r t h e
c o m m a n d o f W i l l a r d F l e t c h e r, t h e S t a t e
Commissioner of Aeronautics. His Wing
E x e c u t i v e O f fi c e r, A l b e r t R . Ta v a n i , w a s
largely responsible for setting up the organization of the Wing and seeing it
through its early stages. Four squadrons
were immediately activated: The First,
under Archie Burnett, based at the Providence Airport; the Second, under Phil
Rocchio, soon followed by Bill Crook, with
temporary headquarters at Roger Williams Park; the Third, with George Anderson as commander; and the Fourth, under
Wa l t e r M a i n , a t t h e S m i t h fi e l d A i r p o r t .
Circumstances resulted in the deactivation
of Squadron Three and the incorporation
of some of its personnel ni Squadron Four.
Shortly thereafter, another squadron was
activated at Riconn Airport, at Greene,
under the command of Everett Potter.
During the spring and summer of 1942
combined meetings of the whole Wing

NO. 2

were held weekly at the Cranston Street
Armory, in Providence, as well as squadron meetings at the various squadron headquarters. Average attendance at the drill
sessions was about 150.
Early spring saw the Wing in uniform,
but it had no sooner become organized
than it began to lose members to the
armed services. Many of the best qualified
flyers were of course the first to go. This
process continued to the point where it
began to look doubtful whether there were
enough air-minded members left to keep
t h e W i n g g o i n g . T h e o r i g i n a l W i n g S t a ff
consisted of W. R. Fletcher, Commander,
A. R. Tavani, A. R. Jones, M. E. Eighme,
N. W. Rakestraw, A. Dailey, E. McDonald,
A n n W. K e n y o n . O f t h e s e , o n l y t w o n o w
remain with us. All the original squadron
commandees have also gone.
In the middle of the spring the Army
moved into Hillsgrove, where Wing Headquarters were located. Civilian ships were
soon ordered out of the hangar, and those
belonging to CAP members were scattered, to Smithfield, to Seekonk, and elsewhere. Wing Headquarters still remained
a t H i l l s g r o v e , h o w e v e r, a n d i t w a s e x pected that eventually a new headquarters
building would be built there, with hangar
space for one squadron of CAP planes.
Needless to say, that never happened.
During the summer of 1942 training
activities went on at a great pace in all
squadrons, with a considerable amount of
CAP flying at the Providence and Smithfield Airports. But in August the Vital
Defense Area was established by the Army
and all civiliau flying was grounded. Most
CAP planes were moved outside the Area,
to fields in Western Massachusetts. A very
few remained at Providence Airport, and
it was hoped that they might be put in act i v e C A P s e r v i c e l a t e r. S m i t h fi e l d A i r p o r t
closed and Squadron 16-4, based there, began to disintegrate. Its officers scattered


Major N. W. Rakestraw
Capt. B. L. Mann
Capt. F. H. Lovenberg
Capt. L. J. Custer
Capt. T. N. Saaty
1st Lieut. W. P. Jones
1st Lieut. A. R. Jones

1st Lieut. A. S. Lehmann
1st Lieut. E. A. Mercier
2 d L i e u t . J . N . F o x 2 d L i e u t . D . W. H u r d
W/O Rosalie Lehmann W/O A. E. Swift
W/O B. H. Gratt
F / O S . W. B a r d s l e y
Editor ........................................ C a p t . F . H . L o v e n b e r g
Associate Editor ................................ / O A . E . S w i f t
Associate Editor ........................ S e r g e a n t A . L . H i l l e r

and its remaining personnel, along with
that of Squadron 16-2, which had never
had a flight headquarters, were absorbed
into 16-1. The squadron at Riconn Field
also disintegrated when that field was
closed, and its remaining members were
also attached to 16-1. There thus remained
only one active squadron, with its headquarters still at Providence Airport. This
was the situation in the fall of 1942.
In the late summer the Wing Commande r, W. R . F l e t c h e r, h a d b e e n c a l l e d i n t o
s e r v i c e a n d N . W. R a k e s t r a w w a s a p pointed to fill his place. The Wing Executive Officer went into the Navy at
about the same time, so that a complete
r e o r g a n i z a t i o n o f t h e W i n g S t a ff b e c a m e
necessary, as well as a transfer of the Wing
Headquarters to the Armory of Mounted
Commands, in Providence, where all the
Civilian Defense activities were located.
The generosity of the State Council of
Defense was not limited to giving us office
space for headquarters but extended to the
payment of most of the expenses of the
Wing. The Wing would scarcely have been
able to survive had it not been for this
generous help.
During the late fall and winter there
was hope that an industrial courier base
might be established at the Providence
Airport, which was being kept open by a
full time guard. It was not until the spring
of 1943 that a final and positive adverse

decision was given by the Fighter Command that no regular industrial courier
service would be permitted in the Vital
Throughout the winter meetings and
training were continued, at the Armory of
Mounted Commands, where adequate
space had been provided. Since all but
one squadron had by that time been deactivated, practically all distinction between Wing and Squadron activities
c e a s e d . B u t w e s u r v i v e d t h e w i n t e r, a n d
spring brought new life.
Interest and attendance picked up when
the weather cleared up enough to hold
regular meetings again at the headquarters at Providence Airport. The "Prop
House" was cleaned up again and every
We d n e s d a y e v e n i n g s a w a g a t h e r i n g f o r
drill on the open field and class sessions in
engines, code, and other subjects indoors.
N e w e n l i s t m e n t s b e g a n t o a p p e a r, e s p e cially after the change of our national organziation from the Office of Civilian Def e n s e t o t h e Wa r D e p a r t m e n t . B u t w e
s t i l l s u ff e r e d f r o m t h e l a c k o f a n y o p p o r t u n i t y t o fl y.
In the middle of the summer the Wing
got its first real "break." Until then opportunities for active duty had been few
and not very attractive. A small handful
of members had been able to get away to
serve on Coastal Patrol, but there had
been no chance for operational flying within the Wing. Then came a chance to do
some regular courier service for the Army
Engineers. After a little delay an agreement was entered into by which one of our
planes (practically the only one available
to the Wing) was based at the Army Air
Base at Hillsgrove to be used for courier
flights on call. This put us "in business"
at least and proved to be an enormous
boost in morale. There were of course
only very few pilots left in the unit, and
only these were really affected by the new
opportunity, but it at least made us a flying organization again--in a small way.
Subsequent history is recent enough to
be within the memory of all present members. A little later the Wing began to cooperate in the recruiting of Army Aviation
Cadets, and this not only brought us a
large influx of new members--cadets, to be
sure--but gave us more opportunity to do
a little flying, first the "air show" on September 18, and now at the present time
more flying for cadet recruiting, in the
Army ships which were described in our
first issue.
Where do we go from here.
The following were at one time officers
within the Wing, but have since left us,
for active duty or for various other reas-

o n s . We l i k e t o t h i n k t h e y a r e m e r e l y o n
an "inactive list," gone but not forgotten:
Captain J. K. Fenno,
(Group commander, later engineering
Captain A. C. Burnett,
(Wing operations and squadron
1st Lieut. Ann W. Kenyon,
(Once wing supply officer; military
1st Lieut. W. E. Main,
(Once squadron commander)
1st Lieut. T. S. Messinger,
(Wing intelligence)
1st Lieut. I. H. Strasmich,
(Assistant training officer; aide for
2d Lieut. C. E. Hagan,
(Wing medical officer)
2nd Lieut. M. T. Boucher,
(Squadron engineering officer)
2nd Lieut. G. I. Rounds,
(Squadron engineering officer)
2nd Lieut. J. D. Austin,
(Training officer)
2nd Lieut. L. E. Moody,
(Transportation officer)
Flight Officer T. J. Rannalli
Flight Officer J. N. Chaffee
This list does not include those who held
provisional office in the original squadrons
but only those who actually held formal
commissions or warrants.
Visitation to Woonsocket
Major Rakestraw and Captain Lovenberg, members of the Rhode Island Wing,
CAP, and Officers of the Providence, R. I.
S q u a d r o n v i s i t e d t h e Wo o n s o c k e t , R . I .
Squadron Sunday morning, February 20,
1944. The Woonsocket Squadron expected
visitors and immediately lined up for inspection. They presented the Wing members and the Providence Squadron with a
very snappy drill formation. Each Flight
Commander drilled his flight individually, and the grils' flight demonstrated their
ability in military drill also. Immediately
following drill formation the visiting members were shown the equipment of the
Woonsocket Squadron. The First Aid,
movie projector and office equipment were
o n d i s p l a y. A f e w o f t h e m a n y r e a d i n g
films were shown. Following inspection of
m a t e r i a l o n d i s p l a y, a n O f fi c e r s ' m e e t i n g
w a s c a l l e d b y C a p t . C u s t e r, C o m m a n d e r
Woonsocket Squadron. The meeting was
operated in a "Question and Answer"
m a n n e r. M a n y S q u a d r o n p r o b l e m s w e r e
discussed, such as required attendance,
and permanent headquarters for the
Woonsocket Squadron.
The meeting was dismissed at 1300

Yo u r B u l l e t i n
The Wing Bulleting is your publication.
It wants to carry news about you--news
about your flight. It wants to tell other
Wings and Squadrons about what you are
A p p o i n t t o e a c h fl i g h t a r e p o r t e r, w h o
will receive all items pertaining to his flight
and in turn pass this information on to the
Associate Editor, who will assemble, edit
and submit to the editor for approval such
news that is gathered. Select someone who
will make it his or her job to get news.
Flight leaders should call for a report of
materials gathered at each meeting, check
i t o v e r, o k i t a n d s e n d i t i n . I f e v e r y o n e
follows this plan your editors will be
swamped with useable news.
For the Record
CAP pilots and observers flew more than
24,000,000 air miles over the ocean ....
173 subs were spotted, 57 of which were
attacked with bombs and depth charges.
At least two were sunk in addition to many
more sunk or damaged by Army and Navy
a i r c r a f t s u m m o n e d f o r t h e k i l l b y C A P.
Thirty-six bodies, three hundred and sixtythree survivors of ship sinkings, aircraft
crashes recovered--17 roaring mines in
shipping lanes spotted--numerous ships
and planes in distress reported.
CAP Service Ribbons
Members of CAP who have served more
than a year and put upwards of 250 hours
into the work may be awarded the CAP
service ribbon recently approved by the
Wa r D e p a r t m e n t . A w h i t e r i b b o n w i t h t h e
CAP emblem in the middle and green
stripes stand for one year and not less than
250 hours; red stripes for 18 months and
500 actual working hours; and blue for
two years and 1000 hours or more.
Members who have put in a large number of hours in less than a year are not
eligible for the green ribbon until they
have completed a full year with the CAP.
A member who has 1000 hours is not
eligible for the blue ribbon unil he has
served full two years but may get the red
or green.

One Indian Guide to break trail for
a certain :~oung lady who seems to
have untold trouble in finding our big
c i t y a f t e r s h e h a s p a r k e d h e r c a r.
Salary: One batch of unburnt cookies.

Information regarding the CAP and the
official insignia in full colors is now available through the National Geographic
S o c i e t y, W a s h i n g t o n 6 , D . C . , i n a b o o k l e t
entitled "Insignia and Decorations of the
U. S. Armed Forces." It includes the
information and color plates printed in the
December issue of National Geographic.
CAP units may obtain single copies for 50
cents each or 100 or more for 35 cents each.
Why Make CAP Permanent?
Best letters answering this question will
be awarded $64.00 by SOUTHERN
FLIGHT Magazine. Many people believe
that the Civil Air Patrol should continue
on after Victory--as a tremendous reserve
pool of airmen and airplanes--a guarantee
that we will never again be caught napping. In 640 words or less write a letter to
SOUTHERN FLIGHT giving your answer
to this question--"How and Why Make
CAP Permanent." The contest will run
f o r t h r e e m o n t h s , M a r c h , A p r i l a n d M a y,
deadline for each month being the 15th of
the previous month. Send YOUR letter to
E d i t o r s o f S O U T H E R N F L I G H T , P. O .
B o x 7 5 0 , D a l l a s , Te x a s .
Girls Flight
[[he boy cadets are going to have a little
competition in military drill in the Providence Squardon from now or~ Maybe you
have noticed a few more girls running
t h r o u g h t h e h a l l s o f t h e a r m o r y l a t e l y.
That's it. There is a girls' flight in the
S q u a d r o n n o w. I t h a s b e e n a l o n g t i m e
since the Squadron has had as many girls.
A s y e t i t i s n ' t o p e r a t i n g a t f u l l c a p a c i t y,
but as soon as the correct quota has been
reached they plan to compete with the boy
cadets in military drill and in the class
Several women members of the Civil Air
Patrol are assisting in the organization and
training of the girl cadets which consists
of girls from neighboring high schools. The
g i r l s h a v e s t a r t e d m e e t i n g e a c h Tu e s d a y
with their Flight Leader Rosalie Lehmann
for extra training in military drill, and
their cooperation shows rapid improvement. Plans for these Tuesday meetings
will continue until they are well assured of
their capability in drill. With new recruits
joining, these meetings will probably continue for several months. The girls show
great interest in being cadets and they are
willing to give freely of their time.


W e a r Yo u r U n i f o r m W i t h P r i d e
Yo u r C i v i l A i r P a t r o l u n i f o r m i s s o m e thing in which you can take great pride
It distinguishes you as a person who is
giving both time and talent, without demanding payment in return. It tells the
world that you are a member o~' an organization with one of the most outstanding
r e c o r d s i n t h e h i s t o r y o f t h e c o u n t r y. I t
points you out as a VOLUNTEER .... one
who has earned the nickname of "Flying
M i n u t e M a n " . . . t h e h a r d w a y.
Yo u a r e a n a u x i l i a r y m e m b e r o f t h e
United States Army Air Forces. The unif o r m y o u w e a r i s t h a t o f t h e a r m y, w i t h
distinguishing insignia.
T h e r e f o r e , K E E P C O R R E C T.
When you wear your uniform, wear the
whole uniform, including all of the insignia to which you are entitled.
CAP insignia should be centered one
inch from the forward fold. Collar ornaments are to be centered, disregarding the
collar ponts, and set back approximately
one-half inch.
When wearing your blouse don't forget
to replace the sleeve braid with CAP red.
It can't be stressed too strongly that red
s h o u l d e r e p a u l e t s M U S T D E W O R N AT
ALL TIMES with your uniform. When
these loops are not worn you make yourself liable to arrest for impersonating an
officer or an enlisted man of the regular
A r m y.
While in uniform you are under the
jurisdiction of the Military I~olice, who, together with our Allies and Enemies, have
your uniform properly registered.
No subject has been stressed as much as
CAP Uniform regulations. The reason is
o b v i o u s . Yi e t , t h e r e i s a n i n e x c u s i b l e l a x i t y
on the part of many members' including
officers. National Headquarters warns
about the importance of CAP dress regulations, directing all Squadron Commanders
to get "tough" with severe disciplinary
action for even the slightest violation.
National Headquarters instructs that
CAP uniforms will NOT be worn in the
course of members' occupation outside the
Patrol and not related to aviation. CAP
members and officers particularly must
NOT wear uniforms under circumstances
which will reflect adversely on the organization.

Girls interested in the Civil Air Patrol Cadet program will find information at the
Providence Squadron Headquarters in the Armory of Mounted Commands Building,
M o n d a y a n d W e d n e s d a y E v e n i n g s , b e t w e e n 8 : 0 0 P. M . a n d 1 0 : 0 0 P. M .