NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Civil Air Patrol's Texas Wing will open its new state headquarters and training center in Nacogdoches' former Texas Army National Guard Armory, which is located adjacent to the A. L. Mangham Regional Airport at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 16.
"In addition to our emergency support operations, we will also be using our new headquarters buildings for two other missions - cadet programs and aerospace education," Col. Brooks Cima, the commander of the CAP's Texas Wing, said in a press release. "We plan to hold leadership schools and cadet flight training at this location. This building will become the heart of all of our missions."
CAP members from across the state, local elected officials, area aviation enthusiasts, and the general public are expected to attend the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony.
"Texas Wing's headquarters relocation from Waco to Nacogdoches represents an economically advantageous opportunity for CAP and underscores a commitment to East Texas as a strategically important location for statewide emergency services management," the press release stated.
The old Nacogdoches Texas National Guard armory will be renamed the Gen. D. H. Byrd Regional Training Center and Texas Wing Headquarters in honor of the Texas Wing's first commander, D.H. Byrd, the press release stated. Byrd was a Texas oilman and aviation enthusiast.
According to Captain Morgan Montalvo, the Texas Wing's public affairs officer, the CAP finalized its purchase of the former armory in the fall of 2012. The press release stated that once the renovations to the building are complete, Civil Air Patrol personnel will "be able to coordinate disaster and emergency response efforts anywhere in the state."
"Comprehensive emergency services numbers among Civil Air Patrol's official duties as mandated by the U.S. Congress," the press release stated. "CAP annually conducts more than 90 percent of all domestic inland search and rescue missions and responds to thousands of calls for emergency and disaster assistance from local and state governments."
The CAP's Nacogdoches Composite Squadron has about 30 members and is composed of adult volunteers and boys and girls, ages 12-18. Cadets with the squadron develop real-world skills by leading other cadets and being involved in community service. Anyone interested in the Nacogdoches Composite Squadron should send an e-mail to email@example.com for more information.
The Nacogdoches Composite Squadron meets each Monday from 6:15 to 8:45 p.m. According to the squadron's Web site, the weekly meetings include drill and ceremonies practice, aerospace lessons, building and flying model rockets, character development lessons, and training in real search and rescue techniques.
The Civil Air Patrol, a non-profit organization, is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. With more than 61,000 members nationwide, the CAP operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011.
In addition, its volunteers perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state, and local agencies. CAP members also focus on aerospace education and serve as mentors to the nearly 27,000 young people participating in the organization's cadet program. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. For more information,visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.