A long-timer leader of the Civil Air Patrol, 101 year old Col. Charles Compton, presided over a 76th anniversary gathering for the organization Wednesday at Presbyterian Homes in Evanston.
Compton, who was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by President Obama in 2014, was one of the first pilots to join the CAP during World War II.
He patroled U.S. coasts providing surveillance and protection for military and supply ships, flying out of the first operational CAP base in Atlantic City and provided submarine spotting and convoy protection along the coasts of New Jersey and Delaware.
CAP pilots provided aerial escort, surveillance and warning for military convoys, oilers and merchant ships bringing supplies to the Allies, flying over 500,000 hours and saved hundreds of crash victims from 1941 to 1945 with 65 members losing their lives out of the 120,0000 volunteers.
Also at Wednesday's event, attended by members of the Illinois Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, CAP Chaplain Bret Lortie was promoted to the rank of Lt Colonel.