Skyhawk Composite Squadron 47 was originally formed in October of 1968 as Palomar Cadet Squadron 47. Its 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 unit’s membership was over 50 including senior members and cadets. Originally lead by Senior Member James Walker, who within a year, relocated away from the area. The squadron command was assumed by SM 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 is attributed to his interests in aerospace. Squadron 47 owned a Link Instrument Flight Trainer that was restored by Mr. Workman and was shared for aviation training classes at Vista High School.
In the later years the unit had meetings on Saturdays 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, the unit moved its meeting location to Camp Pendleton, and met at Bldg. 1781, near the San Luis Rey Officers Club, just inside the San Luis Rey gate. Squadron 47 had two vehicles early in its history, a Jeep and a Korean War vintage ambulance that was converted into a Communications Vehicle. Both of these vehicles were used at bivouacs, Emergency Services training events, and Palomar Airport.
A couple of items of unique trivia…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! The unit turned it down after analyzing the costs of operation and maintenance. Also, at one point, the unit had “salvage rights” to various Navy crash sites in San Diego County; so, 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 its pureness. Imagine the Operation Risk Management analysis and fund raising approvals that would be needed 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 serve in all branches of the U.S. Military, attend the Air Force Academy and Naval Academy, and earn ROTC scholarships becoming military leaders, aviators and more. Other cadets have chosen to attend traditional colleges studying in various fields of interest and have become leaders in their communities.
As youth and adults work together in Squadron 47 to fulfill the Civil Air Patrol mandated missions of Cadet Programs, Emergency Services, and Aerospace Education leaders will be trained, missions will be accomplished, aerospace awareness will be increased, and our community will be served.