1941 Nevada Wing Origins
In the 1940s, most of Nevada was quite barren, more so than today. A small network of paved roads existed, with most other roads being dirt and gravel, with almost all of them located on ranchland. An ambulance could possibly make it to the dirt road nearest a crash site, but even then, most of the crash sites would still be miles away. So, in addition to aviation units, Nevada Wing formed a mechanized unit (by the fall of 1942 it would be complete with a mobile hospital).
Also formed within Nevada Wing was the only mounted unit ever formed within CAP. Working together, the air units would find the objective of the search, communicate the position of the target to the ground units by either radio (if the aircraft had one) or message drop, and the ground units would converge on the crash site. The mechanized units would get as close as possible, and the mounted unit would get to the crash, render first aid, and bring the victim(s) to the waiting CAP ambulance(s), either on horseback or on a stretcher carried between two horses.
The first unit to be stood up was the Squadron 961-1 (Air). It was quickly followed by the second unit, Squadron 962-1 (Mounted). The third unit quickly followed, Squadron 963-1 (Mechanized). During the World War II, only three units were designated squadrons within Nevada Wing, all of them in Reno. The other units raised further away from Reno were designated as flights. This was probably since Reno was the population center of the state, and therefore, could raise larger units more easily. Las Vegas would not overtake Reno in terms of population until after the war.
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Story by Col William Aceves, NVWG Historian
Graphic by: Capt Maryan Tooker, NVWG Public Affairs Officer