The Civil Air Patrol is looking for qualifying applicants to receive their distinguished service award, a replica of the Congressional Gold Medal.
The award is given to those who were a member of the CAP during the period from December 7, 1941 to the end of hostilities on September 2, 1945, during World War II.
CAP veterans or their families must provide some evidence that shows that an individual served during this period. Photos, CAP ID and copies of orders are some of the items accepted for verification purposes.
The information must be entered on the CAP database and validated by someone in the wing or on the national staff in order to achieve the honor.
Recently, Emporian John G. Atherton received this honor at the Kansas Wing Conference in Salina.
Maj. Derek Montgomery, 77th composite squadron deputy commander with the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, said he would like to add other names to the plaque, which contains Atherton’s and others who have previously won this prestigious award.
“I started this interesting journey about two years ago,” he said. “I got an email asking me to verify Mr. Atherton since he was from Emporia. I made contact in the first two days. It’s so interesting to spend time with people who were in your shoes some 70 years ago.”
Atherton joins George Boyd and Toby Elster of Wichita as the only Kansans who have received the award.
Montgomery said he believes there are many more who would be eligible for the CGM and that there were currently 327 confirmed national candidates and six awaiting confirmation.
Names of potential recipients who still still need to be verified are: Darlene Barr, Maxine Boyce, Paul Bundy, Lee Hoskins, Marie Schafer-Garner, E.H. Wells, Robert and Ruth Steen, W.G. Price, W.A. Palmer, Lee Clark and Harry D. Mosier.
“I spend time in the county archives trying to verify these names,” Montgomery said. “Often we have no contact information at all. My goal is if we can publish this list, maybe someone will know them and can put me in touch with them. I’m hoping that the list of names provided will spark some memories and some people will come forward. I will then set up a time to meet with them and verify any information that they do have. We would love to add more recipients to the list.”
Montgomery said there were two ways people could contact him if they believed they were eligible for the award or knew someone who might qualify. He can be reached by cell: 785-260-1131 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Montgomery also said the CAP is always looking for new members, as it was an all volunteer organization. For more information or to volunteer, please contact him at the same information above or visit the website: www.gocivilairpatrol.com
The CGM was signed into law on May 30, 2014 by President Obama after if was passed by the House (HR 755) and Senate (S 309) on May 19 and 20, 2014.
Other prominent recipients of the CGM include:
Mary Astor, a prominent Hollywood actress best known for her role in “The Maltese Falcon” and for winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “The Great Lie.” After joining CAP in Los Angeles, she helped set up the operations center at Coastal Patrol Base 12 in Brownsville, Texas.
Willa Brown, the first African-American woman to earn a private pilot’s license and to hold a commercial pilot’s license in the U.S. She and her husband owned the Coffey School of Aeronautics at Chicago’s Harlem Airport, which trained black pilots and aviation mechanics, including future Tuskegee Airmen. She co-founded the National Airmen’s Association of America in 1939, working to get black aviation cadets into the U.S. military. Brown was CAP’s first African-American officer, receiving the rank of lieutenant in 1942.
I.W. Burnham II, who in 1935 founded the Wall Street firm of Burnham & Co., which eventually became Drexel Burnham Lambert. Burnham served as commander of CAP’s Coastal Patrol Base 4 in Parksley, Va., and he received the U.S. Air Medal and Distinguished Civilian Service Award Medal.
Bob Cummings, noted Hollywood actor who starred in such films as “The Devil and Miss Jones,” “Kings Row” and “Dial M for Murder,” and later in the TV situation comedy, “The Bob Cummings Show.” Cumming flew missions starting in early 1942 as a charter member of what is now the California Wing’s San Fernando Senior Squadron 35 before joining the U.S. Army Air Forces.
Gail Halvorsen, the U.S. Air Force’s “Uncle Wiggly Wings,” famed for dropping chocolate to deprived children on the Soviet-controlled side of Berlin during the 1948 Berlin Airlift. Halvorsen joined CAP’s Utah Wing in 1941, flying search and rescue missions when hikers and skiers went missing, then enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1943.
Jose Iturbi, world-famous pianist and harpsichordist who also appeared in several Hollywood films in the 1940s, playing himself in such movies as “Thousands Cheer” and “Anchors Aweigh.” An experienced pilot, he joined CAP on Jan. 12, 1942, in New York because at age 46 he was too old for the Army Air Corps. Iturbi was commissioned as a major and later promoted to lieutenant colonel.
Henry King Jr., a noted Hollywood director from 1915-1961, helming such movies as “The Song of Bernadette,” “Twelve O’Clock High,” “Carousel” and “The Sun Also Rises.” He was one of the 36 founders of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. King served as deputy commander of Coastal Patrol Base 12 in Texas.
Zack Mosley, famed comic strip artist best known for the long-running feature, “The Adventures of Smilin’ Jack” from 1933-1973, which frequently featured CAP and the Coastal Patrol in strips. Mosley flew CAP anti-submarine missions while serving at Coastal Patrol Base 3 in Lantana, Florida, receiving the U.S. Air Medal. He also served as Florida Wing public affairs officer.
Ruth Rowland Nichols, pioneering female aviator who set world records for speed, altitude and distance. She was the first woman licensed to fly a seaplane, as a commercial airline pilot and the first woman to fly nonstop from New York to Miami and to attempt a solo transatlantic crossing. Nichols joined CAP during World War II, eventually attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel.
^ Meinhardt Raabe, Munchkin coroner in “The Wizard of Oz,” pronouncing the Wicked Witch of the East “not only merely dead, she’s really, most sincerely dead.” Raabe joined CAP during World War II because, at 4-foot-7, he was two inches too short for the military. As a member of the Michigan and Illinois wings, he flew CAP missions for the Coast Guard and Fire Service, whose own pilots had gone off to war.
Vernon Rudolph, founder of Krispy Kreme Donuts Inc., who in 1947 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, flew for CAP’s Coastal Patrol Base 16 in Manteo, North Carolina.
Lester L. Wolff, who served as a U.S. representative for New York in the House from 1965-1980, co-founded CAP’s Congressional Squadron in 1966. Wolff served in the New York Wing as a squadron commander and subchaser.
Richard L. Yuengling Sr., the fourth co-president and manager of D.G. Yuengling and Son, the oldest brewery in the U.S. that’s still active today. Yuengling flew for Coastal Patrol Base 4 in Virginia, receiving the Air Medal for service from July 28, 1942 through Aug. 31, 1943.
For more information on the Civil Air Patrol and for honoring veterans for their service, please visit www.capgoldmedal.com
Anyone who may qualify for the Civil Air Patrol's Congressional Gold Medal award is asked notify Maj. Derek Montgomery at 785-260-1131 or email@example.com. Current potential recipients for whom additional information is needed are:
Robert and Ruth Steen
Harry D. Mosier