Civil Air Patrol

CAP Veterans from World War II Available for Interviews

By State of Residence

Alabama

John L. Magnon, 84
Fairhope, AL 
Magnon joined CAP as a cadet in the Louisiana Wing in 1943 while living in New Orleans, serving until 1945 in a unit operating out of Shushan (now New Orleans Lakefront) Airport.

Otha H. Vaughan, 84                         
Huntsville, AL
Vaughan served as CAP cadet in Anderson, S.C., from 1944-1946, attaining the rank of cadet master sergeant and learning sub-spotting techniques and building models, and is still active in CAP as a lieutenant colonel. He served in the Air Force from 1951-1953 in active duty. As a NASA employee, he was involved in development of the Saturn series rockets for the Apollo program and also played an instrumental role in designing the Lunar Rover. Retired today, he remains affiliated with the space program by giving tours at the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center.

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Alaska

Jean White, 92           
Anchorage, AK 
White joined CAP as a cadet in the Iowa Wing in 1941, then went on to serve in the Air Force, retiring as a lieutenant colonel after 26 years of enlisted and officer service. She’s now a volunteer with the Girl Scouts and is the oldest member of the Ninety-Nines, the organization of licensed women pilots, in Alaska.
Jane F. Soeten               
Wasila, AK 
Soeten joined CAP as a cadet in the Oklahoma Wing in 1943. She has been very active as a senior citizen; she began playing basketball at 65 when her doctor told her she needed to become more active to improve her health. Her basketball team performed successfully in the National Senior Games, but she wasn’t content with medals in just one sport. In 2013 she competed in several track and field events, winning gold in hammer and discus and bronze in javelin. She’s passionate about helping others live healthier lives and has asked officials in her hometown, Wasilla, to  create a Sports Committee to encourage all ages to get and active. She also volunteers at the local hospital. She appeared on the Oprah Winfrey network’s “Rosie Show” at age 84.

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Arizona

Helen Gunter, 87       
Tucson, AZ 
Gunter joined CAP in 1944 as a senior member in the Iowa Wing, serving about two years in Sheldon and in Des Moines.  
Gail Halvorsen, 93                
Amado, AZ
Halvorsen, the famous Berlin Candy Bomber from World War II, served in the Utah Wing in 1941-1942 after earning his private pilot license in September 1941. He and his buddies each kicked in $50 to buy a Piper Cub. After joining CAP in Brigham City in December 1941 he flew search and rescue missions; he remembers finding three planes. He also flew missions to locate people who were snowbound as well as to deliver mail packets. In addition to the Piper Cub, he also flew an Aeronca Chief for CAP. He went on active duty with the Army Air Corps in March 1942.
Richard G. Snyder, 86                         
Tucson, AZ 
Snyder served as a cadet and then senior member in the Massachusetts Wing’s Northampton and Holyoke squadrons from 1943-1948. He’s quick to credit his CAP training as the basis for his considerable later success in the Air Force, academia, aerospace and related fields. He learned to fly because someone bought a 25-cent ticket in his name in a raffle for which the prize was CAP flying lessons; his name was drawn. More than 70 years later, he still wonders who bought that ticket.

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Arkansas

Manford B. Redifer     
Hackett, AR 
Redifer served as senior member in the Indiana Wing’s South Bend squadron, then went into the Army Air Forces in 1943. He and nine fellow CAP members went in together and bought a Piper J-3 Cub; that’s how he learned to fly. 

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California 

Howard Brookfield, 84
Whittier, CA 
Brookfield joined CAP as a cadet in 1942 and subsequently held a number of positions at various commander levels in the organization, including serving as national commander from August 1982-August 1984. After moving through the cadet ranks, he became the youngest person to be commissioned as a CAP captain, receiving his commission on his 21st birthday in 1950. He served as California Wing commander from March 1969-March 1971 and again from April 1972-February 1973, and he served as Pacific Region commander from September 1973-January 1979. He served in the Air Force from November 1950-July 1953 as an Air Police and air base defense instructor.  
Marie F. Oliva, 91                
Arcadia, CA 
Oliva was a founding member of her Connecticut Wing cadet squadron in 1943. She moved to California in 1950 and has maintained CAP membership. She was instrumental in arranging for a California Wing band to play in the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962. 

Stephen P. Patti,  91                          
Roseville, CA
Patti joined CAP in January 1942 in California, then was assigned as an aircraft mechanic to the 12th Task Force Anti-Submarine Patrol in Brownsville and San Benito, Texas. He also flew as a substitute observer on convoy escort, anti-submarine, beach and border patrols. Starting in 1943 he filled similar roles after that at the Southern Liaison Border Patrol No. 2 Auxiliary Air Base in Marfa, Texas, and then at Main Southern Liaison Base No. 2 at Anderson/Biggs Field in El Paso, Texas. After the latter base was deactivated, he was reassigned to the Army Air Corps as an aircraft mechanic and flight engineer on B-17 and B-25 bombers. After being discharged in June 1946 he  rejoined CAP and has since flown numerous search and rescue missions for the California Wing. He holds a commercial pilot’s license, is a certified flight instructor and holds ratings for single- and multi-engine land, single-engine sea and instrument and glider pilot. He’s a longtime CAP member and an avid promoter of its history and legacy; he received a Distinguished Service Medal and Lifetime Membership in May 2012. 

Doris C. Dralle Schramka, 90                               
Auburn, CA 
Schramka originally joined the Wisconsin Wing’s Allis Chalmers Squadron in West Allis in 1944, leaving CAP after the unit broke up in 1946. She rejoined in 1953 as a senior member and continued to serve in that capacity until retiring as a first lieutenant.

Jeri Truesdell, 100
Winnetka, CA
Jeri Truesdell got her pilot’s license in 1939 and joined the Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots, and the Chicago Girls Flying Club. Then, after the U.S. entered World War II, she joined CAP in 1942 and served until 1944 as a pilot in the Illinois Wing. She then joined the U.S. Navy Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) program, where she remained for the duration of the war.

       

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 Colorado

Paul Gilmore, 86                      
Aurora, CO 
Gilmore was a Colorado Wing cadet during the war years. He volunteered as a bicycle messenger for civil defense during the war and also worked at Walt Higley Airport to pay for flight lessons. He earned his student pilot license as a CAP cadet, then served in the Army and, after that, 30 years with the Denver Fire Department. He rejoined CAP years later, helping the Colorado Wing’s Valkyrie squadron secure a meeting place at Denver’s Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.

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Connecticut

Joel D. Fairfax, 95                                        
Madison, CT
A charter member of the Connecticut Wing’s Danbury squadron, he still has his original CAP ID card from 1941. He was assigned to perform coastal patrols in Bar Harbor, Maine, but his job in the defense manufacturing industry, making machine tools for aircraft, was deemed too important to the war effort for him to take time off. At 95 he still flies.

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Florida

Malcolm R. Boorn, 98           
Ocala, FL
Boorn joined CAP as a senior member in the Ohio Wing in 1942, serving for a year while living in Middlefield and flying out of Chagrin Falls. 

S. Buddy Harris, 87            
Boca Raton, FL 
Harris joined the New York Wing as a senior member in 1943 and has served in CAP ever since, except for a break while in the military. He was a pilot for the Bronx squadron, and he still flies today.

Thomas Jones, 87 
Melbourne, FL
Jones was a cadet in the Pennsylvania Wing’s Easton squadron for 2½ years before entering the Army Air Forces. After graduating from the mlitary’s pilot program and receiving his silver wings, he continued to serve in the Air Force for 34 years. As a CAP cadet, he achieved certifications in radio, navigation and flight and also received awards for excellence and a 10-hour grant of free flying time. Jones also served as a crew member on coastal patrol missions in a B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator.  

Etta "Kitty" Bass Knight, 92 
Spruce Creek, FL
Knight, who started flying at Georgia State College for Women in Milledgeville and then flew at the University of Georgia School of Aviation, was one of the first women to join the Georgia Wing’s North Georgia group. After being accepted at the Naval Aviation Reserve Base in Atlanta to become a Link Trainer operator and instructor, she instructed actor Tyrone Power and briefly had famed aviator Chuck Yeager in a Link Trainer as well.  She maintains her interest in aviation, as reflected on a website, Kitty's Den

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Georgia

Robert E. Argo, 90
Athens, GA
Argo was a member of Coastal Patrol Base 6 from January-September 1943, stationed on St. Simons Island, Ga. He served as a guard and assisted with gassing planes and also flew as a co-piloted on occasion. 

Robert J. (Bob) Haver, 84                  
Newman, GA
Haver joined the New York Wing’s Rochester unit as a cadet on his 13th birthday – Oct. 25, 1943. He lived in Scottsville, about 15 miles away, and had to hitchhike to the squadron headquarters. He remembers learning a lot about radio engineering and communications, and a thrill of his young life was getting to man the Civil Defense tower at his school – by himself – at least once. Still active in the Georgia Wing as a lieutenant colonel, he’s been a CAP member, off and on, for 70 years. He also gives EAA orientation flights to youngsters, and he said he gave Eric Boe – the astronaut and CAP member – his first ride. Boe invited him to Florida for one of his shuttle launches.

Alex H. Mills Sr., 86     
Rome, GA
Mills was a cadet in the North Carolina Wing’s Concord Composite Squadron from 1942-44. His CAP duties included canvassing the community to be sure the lights – including Christmas lights -- were out because of fears that Germans would see them and respond by shelling. He also recalls studying Morse code and in general doing everything he could to help prepare for an Air Force career. His squadron also did everything it could think of to help those whose husbands and fathers had gone off to war. He has been named to the   Georgia Hall of Fame for Boys and Girls Clubs of America. 

Julian H. Scott, 89
Sandy Springs, GA
Scott served as a mechanic at Coastal Patrol Base 6 at St. Simon’s Island, Ga., from 1942-43, where all CAP aircraft were leased from Georgia state government for $1 a year

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Kansas

George M. Boyd, 87
Wichita, KS
Boyd, a cadet in the New Jersey Wing’s North Bergen County Squadron from 1943-1944, served as a cadet sergeant and taught new cadets how to drill. He subsequently joined the Army Air Corps and became a Tuskegee Airman.

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Maine

Donald N. Hancock, 87
Norway, ME
Hancock joined the Maine Wing’s Auburn squadron as a senior member in 1943 and served about four years. His primary duty was aircraft maintenance, though he also flew as a trainee.

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Maryland

Elizabeth S. Wallace, 95
Bethesda, MD
Wallace served for about two years as a senior member in the Maryland Wing after joining in 1941. She flew search and rescue missions. She went on to work at the Pentagon, was recruited for G2 intelligence and was later asked to recruit more women with college degrees. She left to marry a fellow pilot. She also worked as a freelance reporter on conservation issues for the Washington Star.

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Michigan

Richard P. Kowalski                                       
Rochester Hills, MI
Kowalski was a cadet in the Michigan Wing, joining March 25, 1944, and remembers meetings at his high school and on Saturday mornings at Detroit City Airport to learn about airplanes and for marching and drilling. Drafted on Feb. 9, 1945, he had to drop out of high school to enlist in the Marines.

Harlan Petersburg, 90
Howell, MI
Petersburg helped form and led what was the first cadet squadron in the Minnesota Wing, and possibly in CAP, in 1942. He then went on to become one of the first CAP cadets to join the Army Air Corps; as a second lieutenant, he flew in combat in the Pacific Theater.

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Minnesota

Thomas J. O’Connor, 86
Farmington, MN
Connor joined one of CAP’s earliest cadet squadrons, the Minnesota Wing's Robbinsdale unit, in 1942. He was involved in search and rescue and received instruction in flying, though he wasn’t allowed to fly. He did get his pilot license later, after the war. He’s been a CAP member for 72 years, working almost every job in the organization over the decades.

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New Hampshire

Rita Carter 
Keene, NH
Carter joined the New Hampshire Wing’s Keene Composite Squadron in December 1942 as a cadet and has remained in CAP ever since. She filled just about every squadron role except finance officer and then moved up to the wing level. She’s a pilot and participated in numerous ground missions.

Daniel W. Harvey, 93
Epping, NH
Harvey joined the New Hampshire Wing’s Portsmouth Squadron in 1941 and served about 20 years, off and on, mostly as a pilot.  

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New York

Wallace C. Higgins, 88|
Alfred Station, NY
Higgins was a New York cadet for about a year, then enlisted and eventually became a Tuskegee Airman. He credits CAP for his interest in flying. 

Lester L. Wolff, 95
East Norwich, NY
Wolff, a CAP charter member, served as a subchaser. He later served as a representative for New York in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965-1980. In 1966  he co-founded CAP’s Congressional Squadron.

 

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North Carolina

C.A. Barcynski II
New Bern, NC
Barcynski was a Pennsylvania Wing cadet in 1945. He recalls drills, classroom sessions on Air Force subjects, and flight training at Spaatz Field in Reading, Pa. His CAP training contributed to his success in the Army Air Forces and the Air Force Reserve.

C. Weldon Fields, 100
Greensboro, NC
Fields served with Coastal Patrol Bases 16 in Manteo, N.C., and  21 in Beaufort, N.C., and Tow Target Unit No. #21. He was a communications officer on the ground from 1944-1946.

Clive Goodwin Jr., 87
Youngsville, NC
Goodwin served circa 1942 in Cortland in upstate New York as a pilot, searching for downed military aircraft and looking for forest fires. He was also an aircraft spotter. He’s still active in CAP and is still a pilot. 

Gilbert Russell, 89
Granite Quarry, NC
Russell joined CAP at age 15 and served at Coastal Patrol Base 16 in Manteo, N.C. During one of his missions, he said, the aircrew found a U-boat, marked the spot and flew back to guide a Navy ship to the spot. His group was presented a certificate from President Franklin D. Roosevelt for its involvement in the mission, which ended with the enemy submarine's sinking.  He’s the subject of a recent article in the Salisbury, N.C. newspaper. 

Paul Sigmon, 90
Mount Holly, NC
Sigmon, then a CAP corporal, assisted in building Coastal Patrol Base 21 in Beaufort, N.C., where members converted an overgrown grass field surrounded by marsh and infested by mosquitoes. He was one of the base members assigned to build a new runway. Once the base was up and running, he served until the day it closed.

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Ohio

Robert Arn, 91
Westerville, OH
Arn was a very active subchaser serving at Coastal Patrol Base 14 in Panama City, Fla., from September 1942-June 1943. He drove down from Ohio to join as soon as he could after recuperating from a broken neck suffered during an automotive accident. In addition to his experiences as a pilot, he remembers a Christmas Eve dinner in 1942 with a military trainee stationed in the same location – Clark Gable. 

Lilian M. Hill, 85 
Newbury, OH
Hill joined the Ohio Wing as a cadet in 1943 and remained in CAP until 1953. She remembers marching, flying, parading and activities at the local airport.

Carl E. Jividen, 92
Londonderry, OH
Jividen is a former subchaser, having served at Coastal Patrol Base 14. While enrolled in an aeronautics school, officials asked for volunteers to go to Florida and help build a base near St. Andrews Bay. He and three others volunteered. He joined CAP as a corporal and was promoted to flight officer after taking an aircraft and engine course. He went up in the planes as a mechanic observer searching for submarines. While the CAP members were in Florida building the base, they stayed with the Army 166th Infantry, sleeping in tents. Jividen said he was paid by CAP, and the pay was better than active military received. He stayed with CAP until 1943, then joined the Army Air Corps.

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Oklahoma 

Elmer J. Wynn, 88
Tulsa, OK
Wynn spent a summer as a Nebraska Wing cadet in 1942, joining in order to fly; he became interested because his uncle ran government flight training at the Creighton, Neb., airport. He later joined the Army Air Corps and eventually worked as a crop duster and a commercial pilot. 

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Pennsylvania 

DeLight E. Breidegam Jr., 86
Lyon Station, PA 
Breidgam joined the cadet program while living near Kutztown. He recalls enjoying reading his “Preflight Study Manual,” especially its passages on military organization and communications – which he says served him well in the Army Air Forces and later on in life. Before being discharged from the military, he had a vision of starting a battery business with his father. Today Breidegam is the owner of East Penn Manufacturing, which produces Deka batteries.

Salvadore Castro, 89
Levittown, PA
Castro joined the New Jersey Wing as a cadet in 1942 and attended meetings in the Newark Armory up until the fall of his senior year in high school, when the draft board summoned him for active duty. He served in the U.S. Army infantry from Oct. 2, 1943-Dec. 24, 1945, seeing action in New Guinea and then the Philippines before being wounded and sent home to convalesce. Although his time in CAP was short, it served him well during his military career, he said. Now retired from the aerospace industry, he serves as an honor guard member at Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown, PA.

Harry Mutter, 85
Media, PA
Mutter enrolled as a cadet in the Pennsylvania Wing’s Boyertown Flight in April 1945, then served in the Air Force. Afterward he attended Parks University in Parkville, Md., majoring in aeronautical technology and receiving the Lockheed Award, given annually to the top 15 aeronautical engineering students in the nation. After graduation he joined Boeing and worked on such projects as the Minuteman rocket, the GAM-77 Hound Dog air-to-surface missile and other classified projects. One of the last projects he worked on was the space shuttle. “I thank the CAP cadet program for giving a country boy the opportunity that opened the door to my destiny,” he says.

Leon H. Snyder, 91
Palmerton, PA
Snyder joined the Pennsylvania Wing in September 1942 and soon after reported to Costal Patrol Base 17 in Riverhead, N.Y., as an aircraft mechanic. After the base closed in August 1943, he reported to various tow target squadrons, including two at Hyde Field, MD, and Rehoboth Beach, DE. He not only took care of the aircraft but also served as an aircraft reel operator, which involved hanging out the side and deploying the target for gunners to shoot at from below. Several times, Snyder said, repairs were needed after  errant bullets hit the fuselage.

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South Carolina

Emery M. Overcash, 90
Moore, SC
Overcash served from 1943-1944 at Coastal Patrol Base 21 in Beaufort, N.C.; he was a student pilot.

Louise Smith Osborne, 88
Seneca, S.C.
A South Carolina Wing member in 1942, she served on the ground and remembers using wooden guns to practice shooting and small bags of flour to simulate grenades and bombs, as well as practicing air raid drills.

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Tennessee

Allan F. Decker, 85
Mountain City, TN
Decker served as a cadet with the Norfolk, Neb., squadron from 1944-1945.

Dean A. Hammond, 94
Germantown, TN
Hammond, an Air Medal recipient, served from 1942-1943 in Beaumont, Texas, as a member of Coastal Patrol Base 10. A pilot, he flew over the Gulf of Mexico, escorting convoys as far as 60 miles and flying 350 miles over the water. 

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Texas

James L. Fletcher, 92               
Sugar Land, TX
A Virginia Wing pilot and Coastal Patrol Base 4 member as well as an Air Medal recipient, Fletcher is an Air Medal recipient and a member of the “Goldfish Club,” an association of those who have jumped by parachute from an aircraft into the water, or whose aircraft crashed in the water and who survived thanks to a life jacket.

Jayne Pace, 92
Houston, TX
Still a senior member in CAP, Pace served as a coastal patrol pilot in the Louisiana Wing starting about May 1945. She was trained to fly by a crop duster. She's profiled in the alumni section of Trinity University’s website.

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Virginia

Robert T. S. Colby, 86                        
Alexandria, VA
Colby was a New York Wing cadet in 1945; future U.S. Rep. Lester Wolff was his squadron commander. A retired Virginia district judge, he has a long history with CAP and is still a Congressional Squadron member; he also operates an aviation program for Sea Cadets. He also retired from the Army National Guard with the rank of brigadier general.

Carolyn Guertin, 85
Richmond, VA
Guertin is a charter member of CAP, having joined at age 13 despite initially being told she was too young. She could fly three years before she could drive.

Wesley V. Hillman
Roanoke, VA
A founding CAP member from 1941, he said he commanded 23 counties in Virginia during the war. He was a pilot but served most of the time on the ground, performing numerous duties during the war.

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Washington

Warren B. Davis
Seattle, WA
Davis joined CAP in 1942 at Muller-Harkins Airport in South Tacoma, Wash. His father, who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War I and moved to Tacoma in 1919, used to rent a plane and go flying with him as a child. He was working out at McChord Army Air Field as a civilian instrument mechanic when he found out about CAP, which offered him a chance to fly and to obtain fuel for doing so. He served as a CAP pilot, flying search and rescue missions, searchlight target missions and cadet orientation flights. He later worked for Boeing for 47 years. He’s still a member of the Renton squadron.

Richard A. Hagmann, 90
Spokane, WA
Hagmann was a member of Tow Target Unit No. #12 and Southern Liaison Unit 2, having joined March 6, 1942, in southern California after learning about CAP through the friend of a friend – Lt. Col. Stephen Patti of the California Wing.  He served as a mechanic during the war and was on “active duty” on the Mexican border, where he was assigned to a CAP unit in El Paso, Texas, as a CAP staff sergeant. He donated $700 (later repaid) to CAP to get the base there started. The base’s members   were getting drafted so quickly that the base was in danger of being closed, but the officers worked a deal whereby joining the Army Air Force reserve meant the members wouldn’t be called up. When the base closed in 1944, he was sent back to San Diego until May 11, 1944, supporting planes that towed targets. Patti got him back in contact with the Washington Wing, and the wing got him to rejoin in December 2013. Upon doing so, he was honored with the Exceptional Service Award, promotion to lieutenant colonel and life membership.  

 

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West Virginia

Guy Reynolds, 102
Martinsburg, WV
T. Guy Reynolds' love of aviation dates back to his first plane ride in 1929. After learning about CAP he joined the nearest squadron, in Maryland, but he soon became tired of driving to and from the neighboring state for meetings. Accordingly, he started a West Virginia Wing unit in his hometown. Today the Martinsburg Composite Squadron's official patch bears Reynolds' initials. 

 

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