Civil Air Patrol hosts annual award banquet

Larry Simon
Special to the Record

The St. Marys Moose Lodge #146, with permission from Jeff Lechner, hosted this year’s CAP Composite Squadron 507’s annual awards banquet. Opening the event was master of ceremonies, 2nd Lt. Ryan Vanzanten, who called for the Posting of Colors and the Missing Man ceremony. All guests were requested to stand during these proceedings.
Posting of Colors was performed by a four-man detail with C/CMSgt Sharrow carrying the U.S. flag, C/2nd Lt. Armagost carried the Civil Air Patrol flag and C/CMSgt Reffo along with C/SMSgt Miller bearing arms. With an arms-bearer fore and aft, the color guard brought the flags to the front of the hall, placing them on opposite sides of the head table, then ceremoniously pleated them before retiring to the rear.
In the Missing Man ceremony, four cadets – C/AFC Venard, C/CMSgt Rigler, C/CMSgt Sharrow and C/SMSgt Miller – carrying one hat each from the four services – Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force – marched slowly and somberly to a small table covered by a white tablecloth at the front. These hats represented those who gave their lives and those who remain POW/MIA.
One at a time, each cap was turned and softly placed on the table, then slowly saluted by the bearer. After all four were placed, the cadets lifted a glass from the table, inverted it and set it upside down to indicate those missing cannot partake of this meal.
The white tablecloth represented the purity of the missing soldiers' intentions in responding to their country's calls to arms. At the tables center was a vase tied with a yellow ribbon representing the love of our country, a red rose in the vase signifies the blood these servicemen have shed and a plate with a slice of lemon symbolic of their bitter fate. There are several variations to the missing man table, each depending on the service, marking the presentation, and the ceremony or event where it is being performed.
After the missing man ceremony 1st Lt. James Weichman, deputy commander and primary PAO gave the benediction.
The Civil Air Patrol is a congressionally charted non-profit organization and the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. They are committed to local community service and performance of emergency services wherever they are called, in addition to being tasked with homeland security and courier services.
One of the most outstanding elements of the CAP is their cadet program, accepting young people between the ages of 12-18. The CAP gives them opportunities to develop personal and group leadership skills, along with studies and practical experiences involving aerospace and computer sciences, flight training, ground/air search, and rescue operations, all while working with fe