Fort McHenry Composite Squadron Demonstrates Community Pride at Arbutus 4th of July Parade PDF Print E-mail
Written by Will Kool   
Monday, 04 July 2011 00:00

Fort McHenry Composite Squadron Demonstrates Community Pride at Arbutus 4th of July Parade

By First Lieutenant William Kool

ARBUTUS, Maryland – Arbutus was the location of a spectacular Baltimore area Independence Day celebration on Monday, July 4, 2011. Following an outstanding turnout in 2010, members of the Maryland Wing and Fort McHenry Composite Squadron (FMCS) of the Civil Air Patrol were again invited to participate in the annual parade. Thousands of spectators lined the one mile route along Oregon Avenue and East Drive to watch color guards, civic and community groups, floats, bands, drum and bugle corps, steppers, cheerleaders, and emergency equipment make their way to the finish line.

The CAP contingent included a sharp formation of cadets marching in precision, senior members handing out “goodies” sporting the Drug Demand Reduction (DDR) “Better Things to do than Drugs”  message to spectators, the crowd-pleasing antics of CAP’s 10-foot inflatable “Cadet Ken”, the colorful Maryland Wing DDR truck, and the “CAP mini-jet” on loan from another unit. The cadet formation was led by FMCS Cadet Commander Cadet Second Lieutenant Alexandra Green, and included Cadet Staff Sergeant Payton Erlemeier, Cadet Airman Basic Jacob Gabler, Cadet Airman Kylee Gabler, Cadet Airman Rachel Harmonay, Cadet Airman Eugene Nash, and Cadet Senior Master Sergeant Brent Sacks. Second Lieutenant Ping Wah Lai served as official photographer and handed out wooden airplanes and bracelets along with 1st Lt Charles Frater. 1st Lt William Kool worked the crowd – and got a work-out himself – performing as “Cadet Ken.” The DDR truck was driven by Captain Walt Murphy, Middle East Region DDR Coordinator, accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel John Mariakis of the Maryland Wing, proudly waving from the passenger seat. The mini-jet was “flown” by Cadet Airman First Class Timothy Jacobs.


The day was sunny and hot, but everyone was well hydrated to stay as comfortable and safe as possible during the mile-long route. Besides honoring the birthday of the United States and the sacrifices of those who obtained and maintain its independence, the parade is also an excellent opportunity to increase community awareness of CAP, showcase who we are and what we offer, promote Aerospace Education and DDR, and encourage camaraderie and esprit-de-corps among the squadron. It was a fun and rewarding experience for all who participated.


Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 113 lives in fiscal year 2010.

Its volunteers 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 the more than 26,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 69 years. It is the largest sponsor annually of Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. For more information on the Civil Air Patrol, visit or

There are more than 1,500 members of CAP in Maryland. Last fiscal year wing members flew 42 search and rescue missions and were credited with 31 finds. For more information about the CAP, visit


The Fort McHenry Composite Squadron meets weekly at 7:00 pm on Tuesday evenings at the Witte Armory, 130 Mellor Avenue in Catonsville, Md. Prospective members are always welcome. For more information or directions, visit the squadron website at

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 01:56
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