FALLBROOK – Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Fallbrook Squadron 87 has been selected as California Wing Squadron of the Year 2011-2012.
In being bestowed with the honor, it was stated that Squadron 87 demonstrated outstanding leadership and contribution toward the three legs of the CAP mission – emergency services, cadet programs, and aerospace education – epitomizing CAP’s core values of integrity, volunteer service, excellence and respect. Squadron 87 performed a wide variety of Emergency Services missions including participation as both aircrew and mission management. Squadron 87 flew 390 hours in support of CAP missions.
Individual members of Fallbrook Squadron 87 were also honored by the California Wing for their continued extraordinary dedication to the CAP mission.
Major Joseph (Joe) DiMento received the Communicator of the Year award 2011-2012.
DiMento is a 19-year member of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and has always been exceptionally active in the CAP communications.
His interest in radio communications began with his entry into the United States Air Force during the Korean War period. In the Air Force, DiMento was trained as an airborne radio operator and assigned to the Strategic Air Command at Travis AFB California and later at Fairchild AFB Washington as an air crew member Radio and Electronic Countermeasures Operator on RB-36 aircraft.
DiMento joined CAP in 1992 with Squadron 40 of Fullerton. Early in his CAP career Major DiMento obtained the Emergency Services qualifications of mission scanner and participated in many practice and actual search missions. He frequently participated as the high bird (aircraft) radio operator coordinating communications between widely separated CAP units, as well as working as a mission radio operator and communications unit leader
During the Northridge earthquake of 1995, DiMento quickly opened a temporary radio base at Squadron 40 headquarters (HQ) at the Fullerton Airport and worked the radio station at Group 7 HQ. When CAP was tasked to support the American Red Cross (ARC) at the Earthquake Relief Center at the Van Nuys Airport, DiMento volunteered, spending hundreds of man hours supporting both CAP and ACR activities.
In 1998, DiMento was designated a VHF Net Control Station Operator, and volunteered to become the Southern California Net Control Officer directing the CAP radio net five nights a week. DiMento served as the interim Group 7 Director of Communications and taught all of the local CAP radio classes.
Lt Col Willard (Will) Gordon received the Senior Member of the Year- Lifetime Achievement award 2011-2012.
Gordon has distinguished himself in service to CAP for over 58 years.
Gordon’s association with CAP begin in 1958 when he became a senior member while serving in the United States Air Force as an F-86 air defense pilot on the East Coast. After his separation from active duty, Gordon was assigned to the CAP California Wing Liaison Office as the Air Force reserve assistant officer. He worked in this capacity for 18 years while also serving as a CAP member. At the same time he began a distinguished career as a captain with American Airlines.
As the reserve assistant officer, Gordon assisted California Civil Air Patrol units at all levels. One of the activities of which Gordon is especially proud was a special cadet pilot solo flight encampment that he organized and directed. There were 18 cadets that had been selected who were from somewhat less than affluent families. The encampment was two weeks long and every cadet completed the course and earned their Cadet Solo Wings.
Gordon retired as an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel in 1976 but continued his service to the Civil Air Patrol to the present time and his accomplishments are many. He was a CAP mission pilot for 50 years and participated in more than 385 search and rescue missions in various capacities. During the Valdez oil spill in 1989, Gordon was selected to take a California Wing twin engine aircraft to Alaska where he spent three weeks flying State Environmental Protection Agency personnel. The State of Alaska awarded Gordon a commendation for his support.
Numerous CAP cadets received cadet orientation flights from him, many in his personal aircraft. Many of those cadets credit Gordon for providing significant direction in their early lives.
Gordon is credited with several actual distress finds under life-threatening conditions. He served as the Civil Air Patrol mission coordinator/incident commander on some 80 missions. His most significant mission as an incident commander occurred in 1986 and resulted in the saving of two lives. Gordon said “that one mission made the whole CAP career worthwhile.”
Major James Redmon received the Pilot of the Year award 2011-2012.
Redmon is a 16-year member of CAP. He is an instrument pilot, CAP mission check pilot, cadet orientation pilot, SAR mission pilot with mountain flying, and a command pilot. He is a former Squadron 87 commander, current maintenance officer and aerospace education officer.
During the period of June 2011 through May 2012, he flew a total of 67 sorties and 99.6 hours. Supporting cadet orientation, instructional flights, mission pilot check rides, mission aircrew school, national check pilot standardization courses, search and rescue evaluated (SAREX) exercises, counter drug and Homeland Security missions and flew a police officer and search dog to Fort Bragg, Calif., where the officer and his dog located a gunman that killed several residents of the community.
Redmon is a former Marine F8 and F4 pilot, who flew 175 combat missions in Viet Nam.
The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is the all-volunteer auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force with over 61,000 members nationwide. It performs 95 percent of continental U.S. search and rescue missions. California Wing has some 3,600 volunteers and 67 cadet and senior squadrons.