History of Worthington Composite Squadron
Our Squadron's Origin Story
We're getting closer to knowing our exact charter date. We found this 02 APR 1942 article in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader documenting our squadron's formation as the 6th Minnesota Civil Air Patrol unit, the second formed in the newly established Group 4, following Mankato. Together, we were the first two units formed outside of the Twin Cities. Now we need to nail down the exact day, which we believe to have been near the end of March.
Nationally, the Civil Air Patrol was established Dec. 1, 1941. One of its initial, primary jobs was to search for German submarines off the U.S. East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico, as the military was short on aircraft. And there were many, many sightings. But the list of ways CAP found to contribute grew and grew.
Non-coastal states wanted to do their part, too. Every airport, after all, presented a convenient target of sabotage and mayhem during war. Like many airports across the country, Worthington Municipal Airport already had a volunteer group of civilian pilots, aviators serving this state's Civil Defense agency. They eagerly joined the national CAP initiative. So, for Worthington volunteers, becoming a CAP squadron simply meant switching agencies.
We were first known as Squadron 714-2 in Minnesota Wing. The "4-2" meant 2nd squadron in Group 4. At some point later on, Minnesota's squadron-naming convention changed. We aren't sure when. Records we have found from 1954 and 1959 show only that we have been known as MN-113 at least since after WWII ended. We wonder if the change came when CAP left the military to become a civilian corporation.
You see, after the war, the Civil Air Patrol was no longer needed by the U.S. Army Air Corps. Yet CAP volunteers now had new skillsets they had honed during arduous training sessions during wartime. Instead of disbanding, these civilian volunteers from America's Greatest Generation incorporated themselves as a community service organization.
CAP existed solely as a civilian corporation for just one year, until the "U.S. Air Force" was established by the National Security Act of 1947 as a military branch separate from the US Army. USAF quickly adopted CAP as its own official civilian auxiliary, welcoming us home. Interestingly, this means Worthington Composite Squadron is actually five years older than the Air Force we proudly serve.
By the way, check the cornerstone outside the commander's office just around the east door. The building that we hold our squadron meetings in was also dedicated in 1947.
Both Civilian Corporation and USAF Auxiliary
So now you understand why to this day CAP has two identities -- civilian corporation and Air Force Auxiliary. While on Air Force-assigned missions, MN-113 is engaged as a valued component of the USAF Total Force concept.
By the way, that's also why you'll see CAP's senior members wearing two different styles of uniforms -- military and corporate. Cadets wear CAP-distinctive, Air Force-style uniforms, and Seniors who meet weight and appearance requirements are also permitted to wear CAP-distinctive, USAF-style uniforms. But seniors may also opt to wear CAP corporate uniforms. The corporate uniforms look similar to those of commercial pilots and, similarly, represent the Senior's commitment to professionalism in every aspect of their conduct.
Since the beginning, CAP is continually finding new ways to put its volunteers' skills to use serving their communities, their states and their country as a whole. After the war, CAP's identity had been less clear, and squadron membership vacillated. In 1954, after a period of waning activity, Worthington Composite Squadron re-dedicated itself to serving the communities it belongs to, a pledge unbroken to this very day.
Main take-away from the research so far -- Yes! March 31, We take great pride knowing we still "got it going on," dedicating our aviation interest in support of the US Air Force and our federal, state and local agency affiliations.
Each year we celebrate March 31 as our anniversary date. In 2017 we celebrated the squadron's 75th anniversary.