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Lt. Col. Rich Ferguson Recognized for 50 years of Volunteer Service

Lt. Col. Rich Ferguson was presented with the Field Grade Officer of the Year award and he was also recognized for 50 years of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) volunteer service at an end-of-year ceremony for the CAP David Lee "Tex" Hill Composite Squadron of San Marcos, Texas. Lt. Col. Ferguson joined CAP at the age of 14. Growing up, his father was Commandant of Cadets at the squadron in Tulare, California, then Squadron 83 Commander in San Diego, California, and then Group 3 Commander, California Wing. At Rich’s first encampment in 1963, he was awarded the Outstanding Male Cadet Noncommissioned Officer trophy.  At his second encampment in 1965, he served as the Cadet Wing Adjutant, with rank of Cadet Lt. Col.  Rich was the Squadron Cadet Commander for many years, earning the Ira Eaker Award.  He also received a CAP sponsored scholarship that allowed him to obtain his solo pilot rating.

When Rich turned 21, he let his CAP membership lapse as he turned his attention to attending AFROTC at San Diego State University to become an Air Force pilot.  Rich resumed his membership in CAP as a senior member in October 1976, while assigned as a C-5 instructor/evaluator pilot at Travis AFB, California.

Rich relocated to the CAP Kelly Composite Squadron, Texas Wing, in San Antonio in 1985 when he transferred to Kelly AFB where he served as a C-5 evaluator pilot and Director of Operations at squadron and Wing levels. In 2001, Rich retired from the Air Force Reserve and the 433rd Airlift Wing as Operations Group Commander with the rank of Colonel. In 2008, he transferred to the CAP David Lee "Tex" Hill Composite Squadron in San Marcos. He became the Deputy Commander for Cadets, helping in many of the cadet training programs and contributed significantly to cadet and senior member training in emergency services, among other duties.  He now serves also as Administrative and Personnel Officer for the San Marcos squadron and also for Texas Wing, Group V.

The San Marcos squadron commander, Capt. Mauricio Urquiola said, "Lt. Col. Ferguson is the welcome face for all parents, soon to be cadets, and senior volunteers at our squadron and has been a pillar for our squadron in the past decade. His dedication and unconditional support for all activities, and especially for the cadet program, has made him a role model for all of us in the squadron."

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TX-435 Color Guard Performs at CAF Hangar Dance

Four cadets from the David Lee “Tex” Hill squadron (TX-435) in San Marcos performed Color Guard duties at the Central Texas Wing of the Commemorative Air Force Hangar Dance on Saturday evening, November 13, 2021. Cadets C/MSgt Ethan Harrison, C/CMSgt Tanner Lewis, C/SrA Gabriel Muldrow and C/A1C Martin Nguyen performed the Color Guard duties presenting the flag at the opening of the event.

The Central Texas Wing of the Commemorative Air Force is located in the only WWII aircraft hangar left standing on the old Edward Gary Army Training Base that was in operation during WWII. The airplanes were pulled out of the hangar to make room for the dance inside but were available on static display for the many visitors attending the evening’s event. The annual Hangar Dance is a fundraiser to keep the WWII airplanes in the air. It also shows people a glimpse of what it was like in 1942.

Photographs by 2nd Lt. Tom Roach

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Remembering Dave Badal-Civil Air Patrol Officer, Leader, Pilot, and Friend

CAP Lt. Col. Dave Badal passed away on October 19, 2021 at the age of 84. Lt. Col. Badel joined the David Lee “Tex” Hill squadron (TX-435) in San Marcos in 1997 and held many positions such as Mission Check Pilot, Cadet Orientation Pilot, Maintenance Officer, and Counter Drug Officer. He was the Squadron Commander from 2000 to 2008 and he was also the Group VIII Deputy Commander for two years. Dave was also the driving force responsible for obtaining our current squadron building and even having an airplane to fly. Dave received the Disaster Relief Ribbon with Device for his participation in the Blanco River Flooding and Hurricane Harvey.

Dave was a Project Engineer at Lockheed and spent almost 30 years with Lockheed. At age 82 he became a substitute teacher and later developed a solar course for students at Wimberley High School.  

Dave was an accomplished pilot and earned a Private Pilot rating and later added Instrument privileges to his license.  Not satisfied with only flying airplanes, Dave obtained his Ground Instructor privileges with Advanced Instrument, and was an accomplished FAA mechanic with inspection authority (IA).  He used his skills as a pilot/mechanic to totally restore a 1943 Army Piper L4.  In 2018, he earned the prestige Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award from the FAA.  This award has been issued to recognize local pilots who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation  expertise for at least 50 years as active pilots.

Lt. Col. Badel’s enthusiasm for Civil Air Patrol, learning, and aviation will be missed by all that were fortunate enough to have known him.

By Lt. Col. Mike Duc

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Cadets Compete in Round 1 of CyberPatriot Competition

Five cadets participated on Saturday Oct 23 in Round 1 of CyberPatriot Competition held by the Air Force Association, the first of three rounds of competition. Two teams of cadets, one middle school and one high school, met the previous week at a training/practice session. The cadets involved in the Round 1 competition were: C/A1C Nguyen, C/SrA Seidel, 
C/SSgt Pennington, C/Amn Clark, and C/A1C Gabe Muldrow. Cadet Muldrow showed great perseverance as he was the only participant on the high school team this weekend. Senior Member Pennington was Coach and 1st Lt. Aylstock and 1st Lt. Murphy were Mentors for the two teams.
CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future. The cadets were given a virtual copy of a Windows PC and they had to perform various tasks to make sure the PC was secure. These tasks included verifying the correct users were authorized to log on to the machine, that password policies were in effect, that all only the authorized software had been installed and various other tasks that would make the system secure. 

This was the first of three rounds of competition for the cadets. The following two rounds take place on 13 Nov and 11 Dec. The competing cadets will receive a CyberPatriot t-shirt and a challenge coin and loads of experience on making computers safe. 

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Cadets Meet "Fifi"

Cadets from the David Lee "Tex" Hill Composite Squadron TX-435 in San Marcos, Texas were introduced to some significant airplane history when the Commemorative Air Force B-29 “Fifi” and B-24 “Diamond Lil” visited the San Marcos Airport over the weekend of Oct 1-3 as part of the Air Power History Tour. While almost 4,000 B-29’s were built between 1942 and 1945, there are only two flying examples of this historic aircraft.

Seven TX435 Cadets (C/2Lt Jeremiah Wood, C/CMS Tanner Lewis, C/MSgt Ethan Harrison, C/SrA Andrew Bailey, C/A1C Gabriel Muldrow, C/A1C Martin Nguyen, C/Amn Jack Evans), and two Senior Members (Lt Col Rich Ferguson and 2nd Lt Tom Roach) assisted the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Central Texas Wing at San Marcos Regional Airport, in parking autos for the Air Power History Tour.  The “Tour” included all the aircraft assigned at the CAF Centex Wing taking guests on flights over the area in their T-6 Texan, T-28 Trojan, T-34 Mentor, UA3 (Cessna 310), Iks’s Air Force One (Aero Commander), BT-13, and C-47, “That's All Brother”.  Flying in from Ft Worth TX, were the B-24 “Diamond Lil” and B-29 “FiFi” also provided guest flights.  Static displays of other Centex Wing aircraft and vehicles such as the B-25 Mitchell, C-45, helicopter, mock-up cockpits, and the Museum, also provided plenty of things to see and do.

Photos by Lt Col Rich Ferguson, 2nd Lt Tom Roach and C/2Lt Jeremiah Wood.

CAF Pilot Col W. A. Calley with cadets C/2Lt Jeremiah Wood and C/A1C Martin Nguyen in front of the B-29 “Fifi”.

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Squadron Recruiting at Lockhart Fly-in

Cadets and senior members of the TX-435 squadron in San Marcos showed the squadron Cessna 172 airplane and provided recruiting materials at the Lockhart Airport’s Fifty to Fifty Romeo Fly-in on Saturday, 25 Sept 2021. The squadron displayed their new booth and talked to several youngsters and adults about the many benefits of the Civil Air Patrol.  Members participating at the event were: SM Connor Davis, 2Lt Heather Brewer, Lt Col Rich Ferguson, C/Jack Evans,  C/A1C Kai Boydston,  C/A1C Bella Del Torro,  C/SrA Moise Rhodes, C/CMSgt Tanner Lewis, C/2Lt Jeremiah Wood, C/1Lt Sarah Janicki, C/1Lt Lincoln Brewer and 1st Lt Roger Aylstock.

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Cadet Wilson Receives PPL Wings-100th Cadet

Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Andrew Wilson of the David Lee "Tex" Hill Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Composite Squadron in San Marcos, Texas passed a checkride and received his Private Pilot’s certificate at the San Marcos airport on Sunday, July 4, 2021. Cadet Wilson’s flight training was paid for by the CAP Wings program.  The program provides funded training to selected Civil Air Patrol cadets to earn their Private Pilot Certificate in an Airplane (Single Engine Land-ASEL or otherwise known as powered), Glider, or Lighter-than-air (Balloon) categories and classes. The Air Force has allocated CAP funds for CAP cadet flight training with the goal of fulfilling its mission of developing tomorrow’s aerospace leaders.

C/CMSgt Wilson was exposed to general aviation through the CAP Orientation Ride program that provides introductory rides in a CAP airplane and lets the cadet handle the controls. Cadet Wilson earned over 60 flight hours before taking his practical test.  His primary CAP flight instructor, Capt. Mauricio Urquiola said, “It took many hours of study time, planning flight lessons around the summer weather and most of all, perseverance for Cadet Wilson to accomplish this goal.”  Cadet Wilson completed his training through Black Hound Aviation flight school at the San Marcos, TX airport.

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Cadets Attend San Marcos Airshow

Cadets and senior members set up a recruiting table at the San Marcos Go Wheels Up airshow at the San Marcos airport on Saturday, May 28, 2021. The booth was originally inside the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) hanger but it was decided to move it outside to see if the location could catch more traffic. The cadets also went into the crowd to find kids that might be interested in CAP. The highlights of the airshow included two MIG-17s, an F-16 exhibition and a F-16 and P-51 "Heritage Flight". 

Senior members participating were: Lt. Col. Ferguson, Capt. Urquiola, 1st Lt Aylstock, and 2nd Lts Brewer and Roach.

Cadets participating were Brewer, Debord, Janicki, Martinez, G. Muldrow, M. Muldrow, Q. Nash, Roberts, Silva, Rhodes, Seidel, and Wood.  

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Texas JROTC Cadets Get a Taste of Flight

The San Marcos, Texas Civil Air Patrol (CAP) squadron is providing orientation flights to Byron Steele High School Junior Reserved Officer Training Corps (JROTC) cadets in the squadron’s Cessna 172 airplane. Lt. Col. Michael Hinsch, USAF (retired) is the Senior Airspace Instructor at Byron Steele High School. He stated, “We teach our cadets a History of Flight (first year cadets) and Science of Flight (second year) and these orientation flights culminate for us those lessons.  Most of my cadets have never flown a plane and it gives all of them exposure to flight.  We also have cadets apply to AFJROTC Flight Academy and we have our first two select cadets attending this summer where they will earn their private pilot’s license.  My cadets all share their experiences on their social media and it is the talk of their time in AFJROTC.”

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