Skyhawk Composite Squadron 47 was originally formed in October of 1968 as Palomar Cadet Squadron 47. It’s initial Charter was issued 6-November, 1968 by CAP National Headquarters, and presented to the unit on 27-January 1969.
Squadron 47 was then based at Vista High School and weekly meetings were held on Tuesday evenings starting at 06:30 PM. By January 1969 the units membership was over 50 including senior members and cadets. Originally lead by SM James Walker, who was with the Squadron for less than a year after that and relocated away from the area, squadron command was assumed by Harold Jensen, and he continued into the early 1970’s.
Robert Workman, band and science teacher at Vista High School also provided a lot of support for the unit, which could be attributed to his interests in aerospace in, as Squadron 47 owned a Link Instrument Flight Trainer that was restored by Mr. Workman and was shared with them for aviation training classes at Vista High School. That would be a fun thing to find today.. and have going again. I’m sure there would be interest in restoring one again!
In the later years the unit had meetings on Saturday’s at Palomar College that concentrated on Aerospace Education and at Palomar Airport when the lesson plans called for exposure to aircraft and orientation flights.
At some point in the 1970’s, which can probably be attributed Vista High School re-construction, the unit moved it’s meeting location to Camp Pendleton, and met at Bldg. 1781 which is currently the Child Development Center which is near the San Luis Rey Officers Club, just inside the San Luis Rey gate, locally referred to as the Back Gate area of Camp Pendleton.
Sq. 47 had two vehicles early in it’s history, a Jeep and a Korean War vintage ambulance that was converted into a Communications Vehicle. There are photos of both of these vehicles being used at bivouacs and ES training events and Palomar Airport.
At one point, the unit was offered a T-6 that at the time was painted in the livery of a Japanese Zero as it was used in the production the 1970 release, Tora, Tora, Tora! though the unit turned it down after analyzing the costs of operation and maintenance. A T-6 is a lot of airplane, there would have been some fun Orientation Flight stories from that for sure!
Of unique trivia, the unit had “salvage rights” to various Navy crash sites in San Diego County, and when money was needed, with maps supplied by the Navy, weekend trips to crash sites were made to collect scrap metal and cash it in. Aircraft grade aluminum and titanium were worth a lot more than typical scrap metal due to it’s pureness. Imagine the ORM analysis and fund raising approvals that would need to be done, to do this now.
How things have changed over the years.
On 13-July, 1981 the unit was re-chartered as Skyhawk Composite Squadron 47, as we know it today.
Over the years Squadron 47 had strong participation in Search & Rescue, Emergency Services and Cadet Programs as evidenced by a very active PAO and the Vista Press Archives. An early 1970’s news bit even mentions the ‘A new unit, Palomar Squadron 47, was Top Color Guard’, though the event is not named. Cadets have gone on to the Naval Academy, become military aviators and more, in both the recent and distant past of the unit’s history, as part of Sq. 47’s contribution to extending congressionally mandated missions of Civil Air Patrol.
Squadron 47’s goals for the 2013 and the future is to once again have strong participation in all three of CAP Mission’s. In addition to our strong Cadet Program and Aerospace Education activities, we’re working to bring Emergency Services back into mainstream unit activities.
From the Vista Press Archives, Sunday, 26-January, 1969:
The Palomar Civil Air Patrol Squadron 47 will hold it’s Charter Ceremony Monday, Jan. 27, at 8 p m. at the Vista High School cafeteria. CAP LtCol. Myron K. Rogers, commander of San Diego Group 3 will conduct the ceremony, officially installing Commander James R. Walker and his staff.
The squadron formed during October, 1968, and since that time has increased membership to more than 50 cadets and senior members. The cadet training program was led by Harold Jensen of Vista and the cadets were well along in drilling procedures as well as ground school instruction.
Squadron meetings are now held every
Tuesday at the Army Reserve Center, Camp Pendleton at 1830 (6:30pm). Membership is open for cadets from 12 to 18 years of age, and seniors from 18. New members are invited and the public is always welcome.
This information has been compiled through various sources, and will be expanded on as we uncover more. Check back for an expanded history archive and photo gallery with sections from the unit’s beginnings!
If you’ve got additions or factual corrections, please contact us, tdiaz -at- cap(dot)gov. Thanks!