La Crosse, Wis. – Every day members of the La Crosse Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol perform missions, educate the public, work with youth, and prepare themselves to be of service to their communities. This past Saturday those members gathered for an evening of camaraderie and fellowship while recognizing those who made outstanding contributions during 2015. The evening also saw a change in the squadron’s leadership.
The event included a formal Dining-Out and included friends, family members, and more than 40 squadron members. During the dinner, two change of command ceremonies were held. First, the squadron’s cadet corps changed hands from C/1st Lt Jacob Erdman to C/2d Lt Chantelle Wernecke. Next, the squadron gained a new commander as Major Todd Mandel assumed command from Major Richard Martin.
Receiving awards during the evening were:
- Cadet of the Year: Cadet Captain Patrick Robbins
- Cadet Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year: Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Roman Hebel
- Most Improved Cadet: Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Andrew Pfaff
- Rookie of the Year: Cadet Senior Airman Mattie Donaldson
- Senior Member of the Year: First Lieutenant Shelley Gabrielson
- “Strut Award” for Outstanding Support to Cadet Programs: Second Lieutenant Lucas Brennum
The evening also featured a presentation on World War II female pilots by Mr. Fred Besler. It concluded with words from Colonel Rose Hunt, the Wisconsin Wing Commander.