CHARLESTON — Congressional Gold Medal replicas were presented to seven West Virginia recipients (four living and two deceased) for their service to our nation in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II at a ceremony on May 30, 2015.
The ceremony took place inside the West Virginia Culture Center at the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, W.Va. Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-WV 3rd District) presented the medals to the recipients.
Civil Air Patrol was presented on Dec. 10, 2014 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.
About 40 living World War II members and their relatives as well as the families of deceased members were in attendance. 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.
Those receiving medals were: Col Bobby R. Anderson, CAP, Hurricane, W.Va.; Gen Omar Crim, Charleston, W.Va.(posthumous); Capt Charles A. Hanshew, CAP, Martinsburg, W.Va.; Lt Col Donald E. Harding, USAF, Franklin, W.Va.; Lt Col A. Nelson Paden, CAP, Huntington, W.Va. (posthumous); and Cadet 2nd Lt Charles Swaim, CAP, Falling Waters, W.Va.
Family members of Gen Omar Crim were presented a CGM as a gift to the State Museum to be placed on display with other artifacts of Crim already on display.
Also in attendance were representatives from Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin who read statements. A short recorded video of remarks was shown from Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). Also giving remarks were Middle East Region CAP Commander Col John Knowles, and WV Wing CAP Commander Col Paul McCroskey, II. Nashville recording artists 2 Steel Girls performed the National Anthem. The West Virginia Wing of Civil Air Patrol has 13 units in the state.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. 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 is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. 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 more than 26,000 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 71 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.