A Short History of Iowa's 41st Composite Squadron
The 41st Composite Squadron (Davenport Composite Squadron) is mentioned before the official start date by around a few months. On 26 OCT 1941 in the Quad City Times, there was mention of pilots signing up for the Civil Air Patrol. The quotation states, “fifty-four Davenport men will be asked shortly after Nov. 1, to sign up for the duration of the emergency as members of an official United States Civil Air Patrol.” They were all asked to sign up as a group; once they sign up, their fingerprints and personal histories will be taken for documentation. There are also the basic duties that include flying and direct cooperation with ground forces. They would also be trained like the military with more flights being supervised and more flight time.
The 41st Iowa Composite Squadron first starts in what is referred to as “The Cram Field.” Cram Field was Davenport Municipal Airport originally guarded by Iowa State Patrol before Col Dan F Hunter (chairman of the Iowa Aeronautic Commission) said that the “Civil Air Patrol would be organized to take over the guarding of airports to relieve overburdened local law enforcement agencies.” In the looks of the modern-day map, the site of Cram Field was near the Iowa National Guard Building in the middle of Davenport. The modern-day squadron now meets at the Mt. Joy Airport on the outskirts of Davenport making it accessible for the rest of the Iowa Quad Cities (Bettendorf, LeClaire, Eldridge, Davenport, Walcott, and Blue Grass).
One of the aspects of Civil Air Patrol is about the Cadets that are in the squadron themselves. One of the stories about the cadets is a Cadet Commander that decided to join the Civil Air Patrol. This cadet commander was Scott Untiedt where he discovered his love of aviation through what would be a tragedy. The story goes on to tell of the thrilling journey to Mount Joy on Christmas Eve with two intoxicated individuals excited for their new electronics (aircraft), they took off with zero-visibility causing them to get lost. There was a report for the Civil Air Patrol to perform a SAR (Search and Rescue) mission. One of the other things he remembers is about the nuclear bomb being dropped in the airport where many Civil Air Patrol people were. This experience was to provide an opportunity to learn how to decontaminate planes, vehicles, and people. Untiedt’s oldest sister was in Civil Air Patrol which could have constituted for the interest in the Civil Air Patrol, especially the statement he made saying “There are so many more girls in the Patrol.”
There were women in the Civil Air Patrol which Untiedt was mentioning (but he mentions that there were more women than men) which allows both men and women to join. That joining of the Civil Air Patrol happens in Davenport.
One of the articles talks about three girls who joined the Civil Air Patrol for various reasons and their enthusiasm they had for different things. Sue Haecker of Davenport, Dolly Gold of Davenport, and Barbara Roller of Bettendorf were mentioned in the article. Sue Haecker was introduced to the Civil Air Patrol at Armed Forces Day at the Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Illinois (does happen in the present day) where other girls were marching and guarding the demolition field. She says, “It looked like lots of fun.” Barbara just mentioned interesting planes, which would be perfect for the Civil Air Patrol. There is the ability to learn leadership skills and learn how to follow orders along with the amazing scholarship opportunities. The Civil Air Patrol was male dominated but included women from its inception. They were allowed to do activities that men were allowed to do such as bowling and visiting the Strategic Air Command Center in Omaha.
At the Davenport Squadron, there are still cadets and senior members that hold up to the ideals of the past. Providing experiences for the future of the Civil Air Patrol by participating in the Quad City Air Show by navigating crowds and assisting aircraft back to the hanger along with providing drill and education to better the future of the membership and their communities.
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