Professional Aviator

Professional Aviator

Safety Instruction Civil Air Patrol CAP - Form 5
Links Glossary Downloads Contact Us
Group 6 Headquarters
    Group 6 Covers Southeastern Georgia, from Augusta to Tifton, Savannah to St. Marys.

Augusta, Savannah, Savannah ROTC, Brunswick, Douglas and Tifton squadrons.

Group Commander:Jack Caldwell, LTC, CAP

back to top

History of Civil Air Patrol in Savannah, GA
    Those of us who lived on or near the coastal areas of this great country probably still have a twinge of fear as the mind reaches back to those terrible days of early 1942 when the sights and sounds of a ship being blown up just off shore was a comparitively common thing. Some of the old timers at Tybee can vividly relate some rather grisly tales of ships sinking within sight of the old jetty at Tybee. The United States, at that time had only a very small force to protect the many thousands of miles of coastline. With a great deal of reluctance and what could best be described as "tolerant skepticism", the military turned to the newly formed Civil Air Patrol for assistance in patrolling the coasts. The Civil Air Patrol, formed only six days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, was made up of civilian air entusiasts who felt civilian aviation could play an important role in our country's defense. Savannah, never known for letting grass grow between its municipal feet, can proudly acclaim the fact that her citizens were active in the CAP 10 months prior to the national organization of the CAP. J. E. Hodge. Old timers in Savannah aviation circles will remember this very fine gentleman; a real sparkplug behind the National CAP program. Mr. Hodge worked diligently to foster the Civil Air Patrol in Savannah. Flying out of the old Coastal Patrol Base at Ridgeland, S.C. (remember the Army had taken over Chatham and Hunter Field), fellows like Jim Upson, Ray Guy, Ansel Beacham, "Doc" Wall, S.E. Perkins, who incidently was the first Squadron Commander, these men and many, many others gave of their time, money and aircraft to fly the many lonely dangerous hours over the ocean in search of enemy submarines. During the 18 months the Coastal patrol was in operation, personnel from the Savannah area were officially creditied with an assist in the destruction of an enemy submarine.
The Savannah Squadron of Civil Air Patrol was organized in June of 1942 under the command of Captain S. E. Perkins and was based at the old Wilminton Island airport. During the war years, this airfield was known as CAP Field, Savannah. The land was donated by Mr. H. M. Carter and the actual labor was performed by members of the old CAP squadron. The site is now part of the Wilminton Island subdivision.
Through the years, the squadron, like all volunteer groups, has had it "ups and downs". Interest has varied from "white hot" enthusiasm to deactivation. The original wartime squadron, along with the rest of the national organization, was very close to disbandment when the War Department withdrew its financial support of the Civil Air Patrol in 1946. At one time there was even serious talk of transferring the organization as a unit together with all its equipment to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Fortunately, however, the Congress did see fit to change the status ofthe Civil Air Patrol making it an official auxiliary of the USAF. During the mid-fifties, the squadron was reorganized under the command of another well known Savannah area aviation enthusiast, Major Louis Scott. Scotty, until his death last year, was extremely interested in CAP and actively participated in CAP functions.
The squadron was deactivated in October, 1968 until May, 1971, when the present squadron was formed under the command of 1LT David Pace, USAF. With six seniors and seven cadets. Meetings were held at Hunter Army Air Field using a borrowed classroom. Classes and drills were held and by August of 1971, the Savannah Composite Squadron proudly sent 15 cadets off to a two week summer encampment at Eglin AFB, Florida. Various training exercises and encampmens at both Ft. Stewart and the Air Guard Facility at Travis Field prepared the Seniors and Cadets for their first "test under fire" as it were. June, 1972, a privately owned P-51 crashed near Indian Springs, Georgia. After a week long search conducted by CAP, assisted by Army and CD units, the remains were found in a densly wooded area near Jackson, Georgia. The Savannah Composite Squadron figured prominently in the conduction of the mission, both in the air and on the ground. The ground operations was under command of Savannah personnel and the training and conduct of the local cadets so impressed the Wing personnel, a goodly part of the course of instruction in ground search and rescue techniques were incorporated in the Wing Training plan.
The summer of 1972 saw the very successful Sundown Boat Patrol off to a good start and plans have been formulated to continue this worthwhile service to the boating community.
From the very modest beginning with six seniors and seven cadets, the present Savannah squadron has acheived the position of Number 1 in the state (by official National Headquarters evaluation). With 35 Seniors and 50 cadets and 5 aircraft, the squadron looks to the future.

Author unknown, 1973
back to top

Copyright © 1995-2005 James E. McHenry. All rights reserved.
back to top