Hayward’s Civil Air Patrol squadron celebrates 40 years of community service
HAYWARD, Wis. – The charter for Civil Air Patrol’s Wild Rivers Composite Squadron was signed in 1973 forming a volunteer organization in Hayward that has provided 40 years of community service.
Recently, three local residents and long time CAP members gathered to reminisce about their service. Major Lloyd Driessen, founding commander of the squadron, Lieutenant Colonel Albert Flora, a former group commander and Lieutenant Colonel Alan Foeckler, the current squadron commander, talked about their experiences and shared stories about the many accomplishments of the squadron.
Driessen and Flora had both served in the United States Air Force. Their interest in aviation and the need for CAP’s unique, coordinated air and ground search and rescue capability motivated them to build and grow the squadron. Foeckler, a local businessman and Certified Financial Planner, was a long time member of various local emergency services organizations. He joined four years later and has served as the squadron commander for a total of 22 years.
Driessen talked about convincing skeptical local residents to add their names to the charter application and provide $15 for the 1973 membership fee. He spoke of stories of actual search missions for downed aircraft. In many of those cases, members used their own planes and vehicles at their own expense and juggled career commitments to provide these valuable services to fellow residents or to complete strangers passing through the area.
Flora told of accompanying a federal aviation inspector while investigating a crash. He was told he could contact the insurance company to see if they would trade the wreckage for removal and cleanup of the crash site. They agreed and the site was cleaned. The aircraft radios were sold to help fund the construction of the squadron hanger and the broken fuselage was used for many years thereafter in training exercises.
Foeckler recalled leading the squadron ground team on a search and rescue competition with other units in the early 80’s. Most of the other teams were from more established squadrons from larger cities with better equipment and complete uniforms. Hayward’s team used their knowledge of the outdoors and the area to locate the target near Clam Lake long before the others. The search is said to have included Foeckler driving his ground team on logging roads and fire lanes in his yellow Charger. Their appearance and techniques were make-shift but the result was a good “find”.
Much has changed through the years at the squadron. Today the regulations are followed more closely, the training and operations are more refined, the equipment is better, the uniforms are complete, but the camaraderie is just as strong. From these three leaders, with a combined total of 115 years of CAP experiences, to the newest member of the squadron, the commitment to community service and dedication to the mission of the Civil Air Patrol is second to none.
Join us as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Wild Rivers Composite Squadron this year. Watch for upcoming articles and look for us at various community events. Mark your calendar for July 7, 2013 for an anniversary celebration at the annual Hayward Airport Fly-in and Pancake Feed.
We are always looking for new members to help us accomplish CAP’s three fold mission of Emergency Services, Aerospace Education and Cadet Programs. Come to a meeting and learn about the exciting and rewarding activities we have to offer for both cadets and adults. For more information, visit www.hayward-cap.com or call (715) 634-3246.