Danville Squadron History

The Danville Squadron, Civil Air Patrol was activated on 11 April 1950, as the Danville flight by General Order #2, Headquarters, Virginia Wing, Civil Air Patrol. All C.A.P. units have their share of growing pains; we sure had ours. Temporary quarters were set up in the lobby of the administration building at the local airport. Meetings were held after the last airline flight was gone. The files consisted of briefcases and small notebooks, but with sound purpose and determination, the squadron grew. Later larger quarters were rented from the Danville Flying School, and the squadron began to realize its needs; so its expansion and growth were inevitable. Soon free quarters were furnished by the city fathers in the city armory, and there we met for some time until quarters were found at the Danville Technical Institute.

Realizing that the principles of the C.A.P. were to far from the place they could be obtained, efforts were made to move close to the airport. In January 1954, through the fine efforts of Col. Dewey W. Swicegood, the city of Danville erected a masonry block hanger at the Danville airport. At last the Danville Squadron had a "home" of its own. With its roots finally planted, it began to grow and has continued to do so ever since.

Since moving into the quarters in 1954, the members have spent many extra nights remodeling, renovating, and designing to change the building to suit its needs. Cinderblock offices were constructed to house the staff officers and records. A large classroom that will seat sixty was provided for instructional purposes. Also a room was provided for a link trainer and communication purposes. Operation was set up in a separate room over the front of the hanger for quick accessibility from the flight line. A shower room was constructed and equipped with hot water.

The Danville Squadron is commanded by Major E. Paul Rembold, who assumed the duties of C.O. in 1952. Major Rembold is a war veteran, who gained valuable aviation experience as a Naval Aviation Instructor during the war. He also has done patrol flying during the war with the C.A.P. and has logged well over 5,000 hours, as a commercial and instruction pilot. Under the capable guidance of Major Rembold, the Danville Squadron has made its greatest progress.

The squadron could not have a better group of officers and senior members. Currently, the staff consist of three medical doctors, three chaplains, and men and women from all walks of life. The cadets and senior members are receiving excellent training in the classroom under the direction of certified school teachers and instructors. All instruments of instruction are used; such as: training films, link trainer instruction, and actual demonstration in the class. To prove the training program is a success, one can look at the records and find that ten cadets have been rewarded certificates of proficiency, twenty cadets have been issued first aid cards and ten cadets have earned their observer wings. Three of the cadet officers are private pilots.

Participation by the senior and cadet members has always been good in any activity connected with the squadron or wing activities. The squadron averages each year having ten members attend summer encampment at Langley Air Force Base. One of the cadet officers, Cadet Lt. Neal Howard was chosen to participate in the international cadet exchange program and toured the dominion of Canada in 1955.

Squadron's PA-12 over the Virginia country side.

The local unit has an "on loan" L-16-B aircraft and a PA-12 of its own. Aircraft at the field has been placed at the disposal of the unit in the event of an emergency. The city secured a fire engine which is housed in a garage a joining the quarters, and a trained C.A.P. unit to man it. They have made emergency runs on several occasions. Two ground rescue teams stand by to assist the local authorities in event of an emergency. The well equipped headquarters has served on many occasions when emergencies has arisen, and the squadron has served as host to the Navy, Air Force, and C.A.P. personnel in need of sleeping quarters.

All of the activities are not strictly military though; often the personnel has dances, parties or blowouts for their families and friends: and a spirit of friendliness and fellowship is maintained.

The Civil Air Patrol is uppermost in the minds of all. Literature is distributed to the schools and clubs of our city and each year the squadron prepares an exhibit at the local fair. One year the link trainer was moved to the fairgrounds and demonstration "flights" were given to interested persons.

During the state wide S.A.R.C.A.P. in November, the squadron was host to many CAP'ers from all over the state: even adverse weather conditions didn't keep them at home. Danville Squadron was proud to be host. We, of the Danville Squadron, would like to use this publication to extend to all CAP'ers a cordial invitation to visit with us any Thursday night and weekend. Drop by the local field when in this area and we will do our best to make you feel welcome.