Nevada Wing
Main Content

Reno Composite Squadron on the Move all Year Long

Reno Composite Squadron on the move all Year Long

Photos and story by 1st Lt. Mark Silver, CAP
Public Affairs Officer, Reno Composite Squadron


One thing about being in the Reno Composite Squadron is, it never gets boring. Chronicling the endeavors of this team of cadets and seniors can be a monumental task. During the year there were numerous events for honor guards to participate in, multiple SAREX's, banquets, encampment, orientation flights, and BBQ's. Here is how 2018 unfolded and what is left to do for the year. 

We hit the ground running with a multi squadron SAREX in January that included cadets training for mission radio operators and urban detection finding in the field. Lt. Col. Ralph Miller was the IC and gave us a very good review at the end. That was followed up the next week with our squadron SUI. The end of January we had our annual awards banquet honoring those who excelled in their positions and took a step above in volunteerism. 

February and March mixed pleasure with business. Our deputy commander of the seniors then Maj. Steffensen treated the squadron to one of several squadron game nights where she introduces us to the wide world of board games. Maj. Steffensen goes to national game conventions, competes in several of the games, and has won a national championship this last year. She works with the game companies to donate board games as door prizes on our game nights that are open to all member including their families to enjoy. On the business end we had several cadets get "O" flights during this time period. In fact, we had 14 powered flights and 5 glider flights credited so far in 2018. We also worked on qualifying ground team personnel during a SAREX. RCS staff also presented an SLS class for several squadron personnel. 

March also sus climbing into the Sierra Mountains for winter survival training. It was challenging as we received several feet of new snow right before we went up. Everyone met the challenges the day brought us and the lifesaving lessons that were learned hopefully will keep everyone safe if the need would arise. Everyone went home and slept pretty well after this outing. 

Like every squadron we have our meeting nights. It is always interesting when we have a guest speaker and in April we were lucky to have Washoe County Sheriff Chuck Allen come and share some of his experiences from his time in the Air Force, the Nevada Highway Patrol, and his current position. April also gave us opportunity to put our cooking skills to work as we prepared burgers for troops moving through the area for training. It was very rewarding work for all involved. We had another multi squadron SAREX with Lt. Col. Irigoin as the IC for the exercise and Col. Lynn as an observer. Several key positions were worked on such as Ops Section Chief, Air Ops Branch Director, Logistics, and PIO.

As the year moved on, 2nd Lt. Mark Walker worked with the cadets on aerospace education with help from Lt. Joe Nishikida. Pilot Capt. Sandy Munns worked on qualifications in the Cessna 206 on his way to become our newest mission pilot. Maj. Steffensen became Lt. Col Steffensen during this period as well, also becoming a transport pilot. And the cadet color guard was very busy with appearances at the AAA Reno Aces baseball team and rendering colors at a Memorial Day ceremony. The first of several Honor Flights returning to Reno Tahoe International Airport kept seniors and cadets busy presenting the colors, moving the luggage of the veterans, and helping the Comstock Lode Quilters finish out their trip. 

Our mid-year BBQ and senior/cadet volleyball match started the hot summer off. The seniors triumphed once again but had some stiff competition from the cadets this year. Awards were presented at the BBQ to the winners of the RCS's wellness challenge. This challenged ways not only weight loss but BMI, muscle gain, and overall increase in fitness. Lt. Col. Haruguchi and Lt. Nishikida took home the team prize. We assisted the Blinded Veteran's in navigating the Reno Airport as they came in for their annual conference. Several seniors and cadets worked with Douglas County Squadron at the Silver Springs airport for glider winch operations. It was a great learning experience for all. Another SLS class was held at Wing Headquarters during this time and a Wing Led Exercise that was observed by CAP/USAF. In the cadet program we had a cadet change of command. Seniors and cadets went on a weekend camping trip that included some UDF training in the Sierras. 

We transitioned into fall with our annual fundraiser which is a food booth at the National Champion Air Races held at Reno Stead airport in September. Our cadets work with the emergency services during the races and the seniors' man the breakfast and lunch meals during the five day event. Rounding out September projects was three RCS seniors going to Mt. Lewis changing the location of the repeater there and reactivating it. 

October brings the change of seasons once again and Wing Conference time. Several of our squadron mates won awards for their hard work and the cadets participated in the drone competition. A series of three Honor Flights in six weeks kept us hopping as well as participation in the Veteran's Day Parade in Reno. Lt. Farley Justis was presenting the Redstone and Titan lessons in rocketry as this was written. Coming up will be the Sparks Hometown Christmas Parade and Operation Santa Claus at the Reno airport to give some holiday cheer to 25 families that may not have had a holiday this year. 

I am sure I missed some events that this squadron has done this year. I think you can tell a lot is packed into the program, both hard work and fun. I know one thing for certain. Keeping up with all the wonderful activities is wearing out this public affairs officer. 

© 2024 Civil Air Patrol. All rights reserved.