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Centenarian ARRL Member Says Congressional Gold Medal for CAP WAS Overdue:

from The ARRL Letter on December 18, 2014
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Centenarian ARRL Member Says Congressional Gold Medal for CAP WAS Overdue:

A 100-year-old ARRL member from North Carolina was among those honored on December 10 when the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) received a Congressional Gold Medal for its World War II service, and, for Weldon Fields, W4AJT, of Greensboro, the recognition was long overdue.

During the war, Fields volunteered to become a member of a CAP contingent at Base 16, near Manteo, on North Carolina's Outer Banks. CAP pilots were carrying out anti-submarine missions to thwart submarine attacks off the US East Coast, and volunteers like Fields were needed to provide aircraft-to-ground radio communication. According to CAP, Fields, who became a CAP lieutenant colonel, was responsible for maintaining communication from the base to the planes. He also contributed his own Amateur Radio gear to the base, back in an era when equipment was anything but small and lightweight.

"I took my radio down there, and lo and behold, the stairs to the second floor [where the radios were located] were about as wide as my radio," Fields recalled. "We got it up there, and it worked okay, but it was kind of a chore." CAP observer planes flew each day from sunrise to sunset, Fields recalled, keeping the radio operators busy modifying and repairing aircraft radios. While his primary work was as a communications officer, Fields also flew some 200 to 300 hours as a mission observer.

"The wartime communications systems and procedures put in place by Col Fields and his peers laid the foundation for what is now a world-class, nationwide communications system operated by Civil Air Patrol, said CAP Col David Crawford, the North Carolina Wing commander.

"I'm proud to say that from the day we sent the first flight out, there was not another sinking of our boats or any kind of ship," Fields said. Once the German submariners learned of the CAP air patrols, they were afraid to surface.

Forty-six founding CAP members were on hand in Washington, DC, for the presentation, representing the more than 200,000 CAP volunteers during World War II.


The ARRL Letter

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Centenarian ARRL Member Says Congressional Gold Medal for CA  
by LTCOLSTEVENSOLOMON on December 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 60,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 70 lives annually. Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. Performing missions for America for over 70 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit, and for more information.
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