The North Carolina Wing Civil Air Patrol will be conducting a ceremony on Jan. 7 at 4p.m. at The North Carolina Leadership Academy, 4353 High Point Road in Kernersville.
On Dec. 10 2014, Civil Air Patrol was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on Capitol Hill in honor of its founding members’ role in protecting the homeland against deadly German U-boat attacks during World War II and carrying out other vital wartime domestic missions. Across the nation 327 Civil Air Patrol World War II members were confirmed to receive this honor. North Carolina has thirty-one confirmed recipients. Forty-six of the founding members were able to travel to Washington, D.C. to attend the gold medal presentation ceremony and they were presented with the bronze replica medals at a reception that followed that day.
Four of CAP’s founding members will be receiving their bronze replica medals at the local ceremony:
Patricia Whinnery Barber from Winston-Salem, NC, joined CAP as a cadet during WWII to do something for the war effort in the field of aviation. Cadet activities set the tone for the rest of her life and she went on to achieve great things in her flying career. In 2006 Patricia and her husband Frank received the prestigious Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Jewell Bailey Brown from Elkin, NC, first learned to fly at the age of fourteen and first soloed when she was 16 years old. In 1943 she joined Civil Air Patrol and was an active member of the Charleston South Carolina Squadron and she participated in beach patrols during World War II. She went on to earn her private pilot’s license followed by her commercial license. In 1949 when she was in her 20’s she set an altitude record when she flew a Piper Super Cub to an altitude of 26000 feet.
Charles "Weldon" Fields, Sr., from Greensboro, NC, then a CAP first lieutenant, was assigned as a communications officer at Coastal Patrol Base 16 in Manteo. He flew as an observer on antisubmarine missions, accumulating more than 150 hours of patrol duty. Fields then transferred to Monogram Field in Driver, Va., where he served as communications officer for Tow Target Unit 21’s new base of operations.
Paul Sigmon from Mount Holly, NC, then a corporal, assisted in building Coastal Patrol Base 21 in Beaufort, where members converted an overgrown grass field surrounded by marsh and infested by mosquitoes. Sigmon 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.
Some 200,000 men, women and teenagers from all walks of life – including stars of the silver screen and successful businessmen, future Tuskegee Airmen and aspiring pilots – participated in CAP during the war years, largely without recognition or reward. The organization was founded Dec. 1, 1941, six days before Pearl Harbor.
The Senate passed legislation authorizing the Congressional Gold Medal in May 2013, with the House following suit a year later. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on May 30, 2014.
In-depth information about CAP and its World War II missions and members, including those listed above, can be found at www.capgoldmedal.com.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 59,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 70 lives annually. Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for over 72 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.
- A Press Release