The four Washingtonians who helped found the Civil Air Patrol more than 70 years ago were honored today during a ceremony in the state Senate chamber. Lt. Col. Warren Davis of Seattle and Lt. Col. Richard Hagmann of Spokane attended, as did the family members representingtheir deceased comrades: Lt. James Campbell of Redmond and Master Sgt. Gordon Ebbert of Moses Lake.
“These great individuals were private citizens who wanted to contribute to the war effort. They used their own planes, radios and replacement parts to keep the home front safe,” said Sen. Jim Honeyford. “No one asked them to risk their lives protecting civilians during World War II – they insisted. They asked for nothing and in return got nothing – until now.”
Honeyford worked with the state’s congressional delegation to see the Civil Air Patrol pioneers from Washington finally honored for their contribution to the war effort. In December the Civil Air Patrol accepted the United States’ highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. In today’s ceremony, the patrol members – or their families – were each presented with a replica congressional medal by Lt. Gov. Brad Owen.
“Many people are unaware of the enormous impact this relatively small, but determined group of men and women had on the outcome of World War II,” said Honeyford. “It’s a great feeling to bring their stories to light and thank them for their service.”
Each year, Honeyford, a lieutenant colonel with both the CAP’s Washington Wing Legislative Squadron and Yakima Composite Squadron, sponsors a Senate resolution recognizing the Civil Air Patrol’s service to their communities and country.
Founded Dec. 1, 1941, just six days before the Pearl Harbor bombing, the Civil Air Patrol remains as vital today as it was more than 70 years ago. The CAP holds true to its original mission of service through sponsorship of educational programs, as well as providing assistance with natural-disaster relief. During the 2014 Oso mudslide, the Civil Air Patrol flew vital supplies to areas unreachable by heavier aircraft, and ground teams helped in the evacuation of cities and towns.