Indiana Wing
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History of Indiana Wing

Civil Air Patrol's Indiana Wing began shortly after Civil Air Patrol’s founding on December 1, 1941. Days afterward, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and dragged the United States into World War II. The Japanese Imperial Navy attack American military installations and vessels of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and caught the U.S. by surprise, including Civil Air Patrol and Office of Civilian Defense (OCD). The following day, December 8, 1941, the new OCD Director, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, signed Administrative Order No. 9 which formally established Civil Air Patrol.

On December 12, 1941, the Office of Civilian Defense in Washington, D.C. announced the appointment of Col. Walker W. Winslow as the first commander of the Civil Air Patrol's Indiana Wing. Soon after, Indiana Governor Henry F. Schricker had the Director of the State Defense Council, Clarence A. Jackson, formally establish the Indiana Wing within the state. At the time, Winslow was the president of the Indiana Aircraft Trades Association as well as a real estate rental agency. 

During this period of organization, Indiana Wing fell under the 5th Army region. Ohio was the first to be assigned by Civil Air Patrol, hence Ohio’s designation of 51 and Indiana of 52 on its Wing patch or emblem. 

The Indiana Wing would grow quickly and contribute many resources to the World War II war effort. Stewart A. JoyceMany individuals, including a young pilot, Stewart A. Joyce, took an active role in Civil Air Patrol. On July 4, 1939, Joyce won the Daytona Beach Road Race which initiated his trajectory into Civil Air Patrol. He took a portion of his earnings, purchased a Rearwin Cloudster (pictured right), and began instruction to become a young pilot in a very young industry.  The precursor to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Civil Aeronautics Authority, was itself established in 1939. Joyce obtained his pilot certification in 1939. His instructor was Bob Shank -- one of the first airmail pilots.  

Joyce joined the Indiana Wing early and soon was in training at Stout Field in Indianapolis. After the training, he flew his airplane to New Jersey where he began the process of assisting the newly formed Atlantic City base on its quest to hunt German submarines off the east coast.
Others such as Margaret Ray Ringenberg also contributed to the cause.  From Leo, Indiana, an early contributor to the Civil Air Patrol squadron in Fort Wayne who had her first solo flight at nineteen years old. In 1943 she began flying in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) Corp. At 72 years old, she flew around the world.  A fascinating read, her story is part of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

Both Margaret Ray Ringenberg and Stewart A. Joyce received awards at the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony in Washington, D.C. on December 10, 2014, for their contributions to Civil Air Patrol during World War II. 

Nearly eighty years later, Civil Air Patrol still serves the nation and its communities. While the Civil Air Patrol no longer serves in a combat role, as it did during World War II, it does serve to fulfill its basic tenets of Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services. From investment in the next generation to serving the needs of the local community during disaster responses, the volunteer members of the Indiana Wing are ready -- just as they were in 1941 -- to serve. 

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