Information provided by Civil Air Patrol
LANSING, Ill. (June 30, 2018) – At the June 6 meeting of Civil Air Patrol’s Thunder Composite Squadron IL-317, the Change of Command Ceremony took place during the monthly promotional meeting transferring command of the squadron from Major Gary Sprigg to Major Barbara Buckner.
Major Buckner began her CAP career as a cadet at what is now Magnus Composite Squadron. As a senior member, Major Buckner has served at all levels, from squadron Deputy Commander of Cadets, to Group, Wing, and National level positions. She also brings with her outside contacts with the Women in Aviation group and other industry aviation contacts.
Major Gary Sprigg, a veteran of the Canadian Air Force has served CAP for 10 years and was Commander of Thunder Squadron for the past 3 1/2 years.
Thunder Composite Squadron is nearing its 33rd anniversary. The squadron was chartered on July 8, 1985 at Jones Memorial Center in Chicago Heights as a way to help the youth in the area (who were primarily being raised in poor, single-mother homes), and was named after the founder’s dog, Thunder.
In her new role, Major Buckner’s goals include continuation of growth in membership of what is the second largest unit in Group 2 and the 7th largest Wing-wide, recruitment of additional senior members, additional emergency services training opportunities and expanding of aerospace education and STEM programs.
Also attending the ceremony were several special guests, including Lansing Mayor Patty Eidam, Illinois Wing Group 2 Commander Major Michael Larson, and Lt Col Al Reynoso, former Illinois Wing Group 2 Commander.
Also part of that evening’s meeting were the following promotions: Thunder’s Cadet Commander, Lucas Vanderwoude, completed the second milestone in the cadet program and was promoted to Second Lieutenant.
C/SSgt Brendon Gilb promoted to cadet Staff Sergeant, Hugo Recio Jr was promoted to cadet Senior Airman, and Ian Steinweg was promoted to cadet Master Sergeant. In addition, Jomareun Richardson completed his final achievement to be able to now test to become a cadet Second Lieutenant.
The Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program aims to teach today’s youth to become tomorrow’s leaders. It opens the door to a variety of experiences that cadets can then use when they go on to college or enter the job market. Cadets are given the opportunity to learn more about aviation, which includes hands-on flight instruction in a CAP Cessna aircraft. They are also encouraged to take part in additional training opportunities provided, such as First Air/CPR certification, so that they can assist the organization in Emergency Services missions and know how to react and assist their family, friends and the community. Civil Air Patrol is a auxiliary program of the United States Air Force and is open to youths age 12–21.
Thunder Composite Squadron meets every Wednesday from 6:30-9:00pm at Heritage Middle School in Lansing, with members from surrounding communities such as Calumet City, Mokena, Lynwood, Dyer, Munster, and Schererville.