Happy 81st Birthday
Happy 81st birthday, Civil Air Patrol and Virginia Wing! CAP was chartered on this day in 1941. One of the chartering members was Virginia Wing's first commander, Colonel Allen C. Perkinson. He was also one of the incorporating officials when CAP was incorporated by Congress in 1946.
During his 27 years (!) as the Virginia Wing Commander, he oversaw support for homeland defense through Coastal Patrol Base #4 on the Eastern Shore, now commemorated with a highway marker near Parksley, Virginia. Another mission for Virginia Wing was target towing for anti-aircraft guns at Langley Field. Col Perkinson also was responsible for initiating the cadet program in Virginia Wing in 1943, with the first Virginia Wing encampment held in 1944 at Richmond Army Air Base and Langley Field.
Col Perkinson was a graduate of VMI and served in the US Marine Corps during World War I, earning the Silver Star and the French Croix-de-Guerre. He helped to create the Division of Aeronautics of the Virginia State Corporation Commission and served as its director for many years. Many of you will recognize Col Perkinson's name as the airport at Fort Pickett is named after him. He was awarded a life membership in CAP in 1965 and was inducted into the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame in 1978.
Many of the missions from WWII are still active today in some form. We provide targets of interest (TOIs) for air defense training over the Washington, DC, area, and last month provided TOIs for an exercise at Langley AFB using both small UAS and crewed aircraft. Search and rescue, disaster relief, and radio communications missions also began in WWII and continue today, although with a advanced technology to be more effective and efficient. Our cadet program is strong, with 86 Spaatz Awards since 1971 and one of the largest cadet encampments in the nation. We continue to promote the importance of aviation and STEM through our internal and external aerospace education programs.
If you want to learn more about CAP coastal operations in WWII, you can get a free copy of the book, "An Honorable Place in American Air Power," written by Dr. Frank Blazich, Jr (also CAP National Historian Emeritus). Download a copy here or order a printed copy by clicking at the Book Store link at the top of the page. We will have a few copies (signed by the author) as door prizes at the wing's anniversary dinner on 10 Dec. I hope you can join us as we celebrate 81 years of service!
I am proud to serve in Virginia Wing and Civil Air Patrol along with you, some of the most outstanding volunteers across the organization. Every day, members of the wing are making the difference in our communities and in the lives of others. We are stronger because of each of you. Thank you for all you do!
Col Elizabeth Sydow
Virginia Wing Commander
Virginia Wing history from: