"Walk in the Steps of Heroes" was the slogan at Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Charleston, SC. It could have also been the motto for Smyrna's Composite Civil Air Patrol squadron on their 3rd annual visit to the site recently.
A team of six cadets and five senior members traveled to Charleston to stay aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Yorktown as well as touring other ships and taking in the many historical exhibits aboard these vessels utilized in World War II and the Korean War. The squadron also toured other historical sites in Charleston, such as Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie.
The weekend kicked off with recruiting tour of the historic Citadel military college. Smyrna Squadron was treated to a front row seat for the impressive awards parade conducted by the over 2,000 Citadel cadets. The parade was lead by the Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes, the only U.S. college band ever asked to participate in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland. After the awards, a military review procession demonstrated the discipline and determination it takes to be a Citadel cadet. Cadets who graduate from the Citadel ROTC are commissioned into commanding officer roles in all branches of the military.
A particular highlight of the trip was touring the destroyer U.S.S. Laffey, "the ship that would not die," which supported the D-Day landings at Normandy and later was attacked and badly damaged in the Pacific by 22 Japanese dive bombers and kamikaze aircraft. Incredibly, Veterans of the USS Laffey were visiting Charleston this same weekend. While touring the ship, members were privileged to meet and be briefed by Machinist Mate 2nd Class Roger Baker, a member of the crew that served in the Atlantic and Pacific during and after WW2.
Though hearing impaired these many years as a result of his service, Seaman Baker proudly demonstrated first hand knowledge of how things worked in the engine room, and shared some of the stories of his service the World War II Pacific campaign. We submit humble thanks for Mr. Baker for his sacrifice.
Through these experiences, squadron members realized what it means to "Walk in the steps of heroes." Our cadets will never forget this tour. Some have even expressed interested in pursing the rigorous Citadel ROTC program, an honored tradition in itself dating back over 100 years. With a theme of "Excellence Through Integrity", trips such as these are part of an overall program of developing cadets through training in aerospace, leadership, integrity, honor, and patriotism. The Smyrna Civil Air Patrol Squadron meets weekly at Stones River Baptist Church in Smyrna. For more information visit http://sertn005.shutterfly.com.