Author: Heather Heppding

Respect on Display at the Amherst County Christmas Parade

Amherst, VA. This past Friday, December 6th , six outstanding cadets from Lynchburg Composite Squadron were requested to participate in the Amherst County Christmas Parade. Our squadron provided a Colors Element and a banner to represent the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). The Colors Element consisted of Cadet Senior Master Sergeant Rylie Stickle as the Right Rifleman, Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Zachary Huff as the United States Colors, Cadet Major Christiaan Grutz as the VFW Flag, and Cadet
Second Lieutenant Madalyn Sharp as the Left Rifleman. Cadet Airman First Class Abigail Anderson and Cadet Senior Airman Leland Moore carried the VFW banner, and Second Lieutenant Sabrena Stickle oversaw the team as Officer in Charge.

The Christmas parade was located on Main Street in Amherst County, Virginia. The element marched in the parade while displaying our nation’s colors with the respect and honor they deserve. The Color Guard’s role is to honor not only the flag, but to also show honor to the ones who fought and died for what our flag represents – Freedom.

When asked about her experience with this event, Cadet Lieutenant Sharp responded, “I felt very comfortable working with my team and I really enjoyed and appreciated the unique experience. I would definitely do it again!

Color Guard Commander, Cadet Major Grutz said, “Our team did well! I see improvement as we continue to perform, but there are still areas in which to improve. I see these events as opportunities to perfect our team. I love the constant challenge to improve and I hope to continue serving the
community in this way.”

Cadet Airman Anderson declared, “We made a few mistakes, but it was a really good learning opportunity and overall, our team did really well. The crowd kept cheering and seemed pretty excited. I think they really appreciated us being there!” She continued, “This experience has increased my motivation to continue training with the Color Guard in order to participate in more events like the parade.”

Milton Carson, previous Post 9877 Commander of the VFW expressed, “Our VFW float was directly behind the Civil Air Patrol Guard team and I saw them perform with excellence and professionalism. I heard many people from both the public and members of our association mention how impressed they were with the cadets’ performance.”

Overall, the Christmas Parade and Civil Air Patrol’s part in it was a success. Guard training requires copious amounts of time, professionalism, and dedication, but Lynchburg Composite Squadron will continue to excel with their training and seek more opportunities to serve its local communities.

Please visit for further details on how you can become involved in Color Guard and other training opportunities through Civil Air Patrol.

Photo No. 1: LynchburgCAP Color Guard Team. Photo by Sabrena Stickle
Photo No. 2: Colors Element ft. Cadet Second Lieutenant Madalyn Sharp. Photo by Sabrena Stickle

Article by Cadet Major Cornelia Fassero, CAP

B-17 Flying Fortress “Aluminum Overcast” Comes to Lynchburg

LYNCHBURG, VA- 10/29/2019

The vintage World War II B-17 bomber “Aluminum Overcast”, owned by The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), arrived at Lynchburg Regional Airport this week offering ground tours on Tuesday, October 29th. Aluminum Overcast serves as a tribute to those known as the greatest generation: the bold men and women who built and served on the heavy bombers in the 1940s.

As World War II raged, one American bomber gained prominence across every theater of operation. The Boeing B-17 became known as the “Flying Fortress” due to its 13 mounted .50 caliber machine guns and its reputation for toughness based upon stories and images of sustaining heavy damage and still bringing her aircrews safely back to base. Of the over 12,000 of these bombers that were produced for combat, about 40 remain and only 9 of these remain airworthy. More than just an airplane, the B-17 is living history that holds a remarkable connection to the past and is an iconic image of World War II. 

Cadets of Lynchburg CAP were honored to support the event held at Lynchburg Regional Airport Tuesday, October 29th. Photo Credit: Lt H. Heppding, PAO

During the event, the cadets and senior members of Lynchburg Composite Squadron assisted with parking visitors and directing foot traffic to the viewing area as well as staffing areas for safety and security. Cadets were offered the opportunity to tour the aircraft and assisted in take-off procedures.  Members of Lynchburg Composite Squadron were honored to assist with efforts to help maintain a safe environment for spectators to enjoy this piece of military history.

Lynchburg Composite Squadron earns 2019 Quality Cadet Unit Award


Lynchburg Composite Squadron earns the Quality Cadet Unit Award for the 8th year with the distinct honor of meeting all 10 points of criteria for this award, among only 12 units in the nation to accomplish this distinction. This marks the fourth consecutive QCUA for Lynchburg. 

Each year, Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters examines every cadet and composite squadron’s performance in ten specific criteria. Award winners are determined by their performance from 1 September 2018 through 31 August 2019. All cadet and composite squadrons and flights with a minimum of 10 cadets are eligible for the Quality Cadet Unit Award and must meet at least 6 of the 10 criteria listed to qualify. 

Squadrons are motivated to pursue goals that will, in turn, lead to a more vibrant Cadet Program. The award is purely objective as all cadet and composite squadrons who meet the challenging criteria earn the award. This award also serves as a helpful management tool to gauge the relative health of a Cadet Program. 

Criteria include cadet achievement, adult leaders training, aerospace excellence, encampment participation, enrollment, growth, orientation flight completion, and retention. 

Captain Peter Strubhar, Commander of Lynchburg Composite Squadron, presented the Quality Cadet Unit Award to the cadet corps.

Lynchburg Composite Squadron has 85 cadets who meet on Mondays at the Virginia National Guard Armory. 

2018-2019 CRITERIA

  • Cadet Achievement: 45% of cadets on roster have attained the Wright Brothers Award
  • Orientation Flights: 70% of cadets on roster have participated in at least 1 flight
  • Retention: Unit retained 50% of first year cadets
  • Adult Leadership: Unit has at least 3 Training Leaders of Cadets graduates on its roster.  
  • Encampment: 55% of cadets on roaster have completed encampment 
  • Growth: Unit’s cadet roaster increased by 10%, or 10 cadets during previous year
  • Aerospace: Unit earned the Aerospace Excellence Award (AEX)  or sent in an after-action report on a STEM Kit during the school year. 
  • Outside Activities: Unit participated in CyberPatriot, Team America Rocketry Challenge, StellarXplorers, or hosted a Red Ribbon Leadership Academy
  • Emergency Services: 60% of cadets on roster have GES certification

Civil Air Patrol, the official all volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force with more than 60,000 members nationwide. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 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. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 25,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit or for more information.

Lynchburg CAP Honor Guard Presents the Colors at Hillcats Baseball Game

Honor Guard cadets of VA-017 prepare to take the field at City Stadium for the opening of the Hillcats game on Saturday. Photo credit: Lt H. Heppding
Honor Guard cadets of VA-017 prepare to take the field at City Stadium for the opening of the Hillcats game on Saturday. Photo credit: Lt H. Heppding

LYNCHBURG, VA -25 May 2019

Civil Air Patrol’s Lynchburg Composite Squadron Honor Guard was called upon to present the Colors for the Lynchburg Hillcats game opening on Saturday, May 25th at City Stadium. 

Honor guardsmen embraced the Core Value of Excellence while honoring our military, past and present, with dignity and respect during the ceremony. 

The Honor Guard are the most visible ambassadors and representatives of the highest standards of the Civil Air Patrol. The Cadets train extensively in the Air Force and CAP Manual of Arms/Colors, ensuring they remain conditioned to provide the most honoring presentations for our nation’s service members and veterans, and our community, state, and nation. 

Lynchburg CAP Honor Guard during the playing of the National Anthem at City Stadium. 

To request a team for an event, please submit the form on our Contact Us page and expect a timely reply. Thank you for helping us serve those who serve our nation!

Lynchburg CAP’s Annual Awards Gala

LYNCHBURG, VA – Lynchburg Composite Squadron members participated in a long-standing military tradition to join together for a meal and to celebrate the achievements of the previous year as it held its fifth annual awards banquet on February 23rd with a “Dining Out” theme. Dining Out represents the most formal aspect of CAP social functions with the purpose to bring together members of a unit and their guests in an atmosphere of camaraderie, good fellowship, and social rapport. 

Since 2015, Lynchburg Composite Squadron has held annual banquets to celebrate the achievements of the squadron and to emphasize the Core Values of Integrity first, Respect, Excellence and Volunteer Service. Not merely an event for food and fellowship, Dining Out is a demonstration of Civil Air Patrol’s ability to host an event with excellence and a sense of camaraderie. 

Members of the Activities team and many volunteers labored over the details and planning of this event putting in numerous behind-the-scenes hours to ensure guests would enter a festive atmosphere decorated with classic patriotic themes. When the Official Party entered and the Mess was opened, the tone of the room was one of anticipation for an elegant evening ahead. 

Several ceremonies are part of the Dining Out event, which includes the presentation of flags and the Prisoners of War and the Missing In Action Ceremony that were presented by the VA-017 Cadet Color Guard team. The evening continued with festive toasts, a review of the protocol, an inspiring keynote by Colonel Western, and presentations of awards by the distinguished and honored guests. 

Dining Out is an excellent means of providing recognition for individual and unit achievements making it very effective in building morale and esprit de corps.

Lynchburg CAP Honor Guard cadets posted the Colors to mark the beginning of the evening.

Captain Peter Strubhar the Squadron Commander, Captain Velvet Sharp the Deputy Commander for Cadets and Cadet Commander Captain Adam Glass and his Executive Cadre Staff would like to thank everyone who worked tirelessly to make the event a success.

Cadets enjoyed both the fun and formality of the evening!

Since Civil Air Patrol’s formation during the earliest days of World War II, this vigilant organization of citizen Airmen has been committed to service to America. Founded on Dec. 1, 1941, to mobilize the nation’s civilian aviation resources for national defense service, CAP has evolved into a premier public service organization that still carries out emergency service missions when needed — in the air and on the ground. 

Its 60,000 members selflessly devote their time, energy and expertise toward the well-being of their communities, while also promoting aviation and related fields through aerospace/STEM education and helping shape future leaders through CAP’s cadet program.

Civil Air Patrol’s missions for America are many, and today’s adults and cadets perform their duties with the same vigilance as its founding members — preserving CAP’s 75-year legacy of service while maintaining its commitment to nearly 1,500 communities nationwide. Visit  for more information. 

Lynchburg in the Virginia Legislature!

The 22 Cadets and 8 Senior Members who participated in Virginia Legislative Day 2019

On February 6, 2019 five cadets from the Lynchburg Composite Squadron joined 17 others in participating in the first ever Virginia Legislative Day in our state’s capital in Richmond.  C/Capt Cornelia Fassero acted as the coordinator for Lynchburg’s participation in the event, and helped send out emails of information about the event, including transportation details.  In the past, cadets from Virginia were only granted the opportunity of the National Legislative Day in Washington DC, but this year, Wing Senior Member Leadership paved the way to provide additional opportunities at the state capitol.

The event involved sending highly qualified cadet and senior member volunteers to serve as ambassadors for the Civil Air Patrol as they discussed the program with individual Delegates and Senators in closed-door meetings.
Capitol Hill is usually very busy during this time, due to long committee meetings and general sessions, so naturally, some ambassador teams met with legislative staff and assistants in most meetings.

Some teams, however, were privileged to sit down with a few of the Senators and Delegates themselves, during which they had the opportunity to answer questions and really tell their story about their experiences in CAP.

“The event was really impactful for Virginia Wing CAP, and I really think that all of the cadets gained excellent communication skills”

C/Maj Matthew Bell

Each meeting was a unique experience, and provided each cadet with valuable public speaking practice.  “The event was really impactful for Virginia Wing CAP, and I really think that all of the cadets gained excellent communication skills.” commented C/Maj Matthew Bell, one of the cadets present during this event.  “I feel that through practice, I learned how to pitch something to someone, and that’s a skill not all adults learn how to do, and this event helped provide that practice.”

After each successful meeting with either a legislator or their staff member, cadets handed them with a unique challenge coin and patch representing Virginia’s legislative squadron, VA-999.

Although the main purpose and highlight of the event was the individual meetings with legislators, cadets and seniors also had the privilege of taking an impromptu tour of the capitol building, and later participated in an aerospace convention at the Richmond Train Station.

Overall, the event was a huge success for all members involved, and had minimal issues considering this was the first time it had ever been done.  C/Maj Bell summed it up best when he said, “I feel like everyone made a good demonstration of civil air patrol, everyone carried themselves professionally, and we made a lasting impact on the Virginia Legislature”

Special Thanks to the members of our squadron who participated and made this event possible!

  • Maj David Honeycutt (Senior Member Driver)
  • C/Lt John Sharp
  • C/Maj Matthew Bell
  • C/Capt Christiaan Grutz
  • C/Capt Deannah Bennett
  • C/Capt Cornelia Fassero

To find out more about how to join the Golden Eagle writing team and write articles like this, contact the Public Affairs OIC via email at

Color Guard Training Weekend

LynchburgCAP wants to ensure that all cadets interested in learning how to operate as Guard Team members have ample opportunity to do so. Its not always possible to get to the Squadron building early on Mondays, and we understand!

If you have been interested in training as a Guard Team member, this is your opportunity! Our Guard Team serves the community in many exciting ways, and we are always looking for cadets that are willing to serve in this manner.

Training will take place 27-28 October, 2018 from 0800-1400. See Lt Maresca or C/1st Lt Fassero for more information in regards to prerequisites (Curry Achievement) and details!

Flag Day Guard Event at Runk and Pratt

Lynchburg recently had the opportunity to help the residents and staff of Runk and Pratt-Liberty Ridge celebrate Flag Day! This was quite an honor because some of these residents served in the military. One of the ladies there was one of the first females in the USAF, and she served valiantly as a nurse for 20 years leading up to Vietnam.



Our guard members took time out of busy schedules, and Encampment prep, so that they could honor the folks at the home. Most of the time, the opportunity to serve is all that is needed for our cadets to step up. This time, the job came with free donuts as a gift!

The Great Capsby


In April, Lynchburg CAP celebrated its 4th Annual Awards Banquet and Gala, this year dubbed The Great Capsby.

So many CAP members dedicated themselves to this event, and many of our Cadets and Senior Members would be honored. We had an incredible guest speaker in Lynchburg City Sheriff Don Sloan, and members of Wing Command were gracious enough to join us as well. Lynchburg Squadron worked very hard over the previous year, and it showed in the amount of awards achieved. The night was highlighted by a 1920’s feel, complete with antique cars from the era, and members sporting era clothing. Cadets, senior members, and family shared an incredible night, great food, and dancing.

Planning is already underway for next year’s event, which will be held a bit earlier in the year. If you have any feedback from the night that will help the squadron with next year’s event, or you would like to serve at the next Gala, please see the Activities staff and let them know!

LynchburgCAP Welcomes Home our Vietnam Veterans



In what many would consider a gesture long overdue, the City of Lynchburg recently held a Welcome Home event for its Vietnam Era Veterans. The event was held at the newly built Heritage High School, and it was supported by HHS JROTC, LU AFROTC, and Lynchburg Composite Squadron.  Lynchburg CAP Honor Guard was called upon to present and retrieve the Colors, perform the Table of Remembrance as well as a separate POW/MIA display,and perform the Flag Fold Ceremony where the flag was presented to a chosen Vietnam Veteran. Members of LynchburgCAP then lined the walls as veterans walked down the auditorium ramp, and cadets from LUROTC and LynchburgCAP greeted each vet with a welcome.The event was deeply moving, and Lynchburg squadron was honored to be a part of such an incredible opportunity.

Our squadron’s Guard instructors have worked tirelessly to prepare capable guard members to serve in the community, and this event gave the squadron the option to deploy those skills when needed. If you are interested in serving in the Lynchburg Honor or Color Guard, please see your guard staff as soon as possible. All cadets are welcome, and there will be many more opportunities to serve in the coming months.