A piece of Civil Air Patrol history made its way into Ohio County and received a warm welcome from members of the Wheeling Composite Squadron of the West Virginia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol and its auxiliary.
A commemorative painting of a CAP Cessna 182 being intercepted by an Air Force F-16 arrived Tuesday at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport via a CAP wing van relay. Titled “Total Force Partners,” the original painting was the work of noted aviation artist and CAP cadet Rick Broome. It was commissioned for CAP’s 75th anniversary in 2016 and was to be presented to then-Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein during the Air Force Air Space & Cyber Conference at the National Harbor in Maryland.
However, the original painting was damaged during transport to the conference. In the interim, a print of the painting was made and placed on display at the Pentagon.
The replacement painting began its journey this week in Colorado Springs and has been making its way, via a van escort by CAP members, across the country to its final destination in Washington, D.C. It arrived at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport shortly before a thunderstorm struck the area Tuesday evening.
Col. Paul McCroskey II, CAP West Virginia wing commander, along with cadets and senior members of the CAP and its auxiliary, were on hand to greet the escort.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to have the painting come to Wheeling,” said McCroskey. “We were able to actually touch a piece of our history.”
McCroskey said the painting depicts the relationship between the volunteer CAP members and the U.S. Air Force. He said the painting is special because it validates the CAP’s work.
CAP is a volunteer force of cadets and adult members whose mission includes search and rescue; aerospace education; and leadership training for male and female cadets from age 12 to 18. The squadron maintains a plane at the Wheeling airport where the CAP meets at 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Headquartered at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport, the local CAP has been conducting various training exercises including recent ground search techniques. Many senior members are military veterans.
During Tuesday’s stop in Wheeling, the actual painting remained safeguarded in the van. CAP members posed for pictures with a print of the painting.