Civil Air Patrol honors local families with Congressional Gold Medal recognition
RACINE, Wis – Two Racine families were presented with Congressional Gold Medals Saturday , honoring their grandfathers who served as Civil Air Patrol pilots during World War II.
In recognition of their achievements and dedication to Civil Air Patrol, and their sacrifices during World War II, Colonel Rose Hunt, Wisconsin Wing Commander, along with State Senator Van Wanggaard presented the Congressional Gold Medals to John Batten, Grandson of Colonel John H Batten and to J. David Rowland, son of Lieutenant John S Rowland during a ceremony held at the EAA Chapter 838 Museum.
Colonel Batten and Lieutenant Rowland, both from the Racine area, played instrumental roles in laying the foundation for Civil Air Patrol in Wisconsin. In 1942 they created the Racine Squadron when they recruited pilots to help with the war effort. Batten, a CAP pilot, and Rowland, a co-pilot and mission observer, flew countless missions to patrol the eastern coast of the United States watching for Nazi submarines.
Batten and Rowland continued their dedication to Civil Air Patrol long after the war. Rowland returned to the Racine area where he continued flying with the Racine Squadron, and dedicated his time to teaching youth to fly until 1950 when he retired. Batten continued as a flight instructor before returning to Wisconsin Wing. In early 1950 he became the Wisconsin Wing Commander and went on to become the Great Lakes Region Commander before retiring in 1958.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor and is ceremoniously awarded to Civil Air Patrol members who served unofficially during World War II. In total CAP anti-submarine coastal patrols flew more than 24 million miles, spotting 173 U-boats, and attacking 57. For more information on the Civil Air Patrol Gold Medal history please visit www.capgoldmedal.com