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Squadron History

Squadron History

Formed by Lt. Col David Bearce, the Texas 435th became the San Marcos Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol in 1998. On September 20th, 2002 the squadron adopted the "Tex" Hill name and later that year became the third largest squadron in the nation. In 2004 the 435th became the most decorated unit in the Civil Air Patrol. In 2015, two pilots from the squadron were mission pilot and mission observer for the winning aircrew of the inaugural Texas Wing Flight Competition.


Unit Citation, 1 Oct 2015 - 30 Sep 2016
National Squadron of the Year, 2004
Southwest Region Squadron of Distinction, 2004
Texas Squadron of Merit, 2004 and 2016
Texas Emergency Services Squadron of the Year, 2004

Squadron Commanders

Lt. Col. David Bearce, 1998 - 2000
Capt. Mark Sandal, 2000 - 2002
Capt. Thomas Adams, 2002
Capt. Bruce White, 2003
Lt. Col. Pat Scully, 2003 - 2004
Capt. Dave Badal, 2004 - 2008
Maj. Leroy Friesenhahn, 2008 - 2015
Capt. Robert Klett, 2015
Maj. Matthew Congrove, 2016 - 2017
Lt. Col. Ron Diana, 2017 - 2019
Capt. Sam Samani, 2020 - 2021
Capt. Mauricio Urquiola, 2021- Current

Our Namesake

David Lee "Tex" Hill was a flying ace who served in World War II and the Korean War. Hill earned his wings as a US Naval Aviator in 1939 and shortly after joined the 1st American Volunteer Group in 1941. Better known as the AVG "Flying Tigers", the infamous unit flew P-40 Warhawks throughout Asia in the defense of China during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

After the AVG was deactivated in the Summer of 1942, Hill joined the US Army Air Forces 23rd Fighter Group for the remainder of the war. In all, Hill was credited with destroying 18¼ enemy aircraft during his time in Asia. After the war, "Tex" took command of the 58th Wing of the Texas Air National Guard and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. During this time he again saw combat action on the Korean Peninsula.

For all of his efforts Hill received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star and four Distinguished Flying Crosses. He was conveyed an honorary lifetime member of the Civil Air Patrol in 2002, and his local unit, the Texas 435th, was named in his honor. "Tex", a member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, passed away at the age of ninety-two in 2007. He is buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.


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