Local Civil Air Patrol chapter, Lt. Col. Arthur King Composite Squadron 50, recently underwent a change of command.
Dwight Kuesthardt, a First Lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol, officially took command Feb. 8 in a ceremony officiated by the California Wing Vice Wing Commander, Lt. Col. Michael Prusak. The event was attended by an estimated 70 people, which included friends, family, and representatives from numerous local, state, and congressional elected officials. Kuesthardt, of Modesto, has been a member of the squadron since April 2015 and served previously as the squadron’s Deputy Commander for Seniors and Safety Officer. Kuesthardt is a former volunteer firefighter for Empire Fire District and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Department for 12 years and two years with USFS. He is currently employed at Memorial Medical Center as a Maintenance engineer and has worked there for the last 12 years. He is married to Genetta and a son, Austin Kuesthardt, is a cadet in the squadron.
The outgoing commander, Major Jon Domke, a former CAP cadet and former U.S. Air Force airman, relinquished command after his four-year term expired. His tenure ends on a high note with the squadron growing to more than 50 members who actively participate in Civil Air Patrol’s three missions. During his tenure the squadron received the Quality Cadet Unit Award and Aerospace Education Excellence Award for five consecutive years. Squadron 50 was named in 2014 as the Central Valley Group 6 “Composite Squadron of the Year.”
Major Domke also received “Squadron Commander of the Year” in 2014. Domke’s service will continue as he takes on the role of Deputy Commander for Seniors and will act as an advisor to the new commander.
Lt. Col. Arthur King Composite Squadron meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Modesto City-County Airport, 700 Tioga Drive. The squadron has an active cadet and senior program. The cadet program meets weekly to train members between the age of 12 and 18 in leadership, aerospace education, and emergency services. The senior program involves adults 18 years of age and older and meets weekly for aerospace education training, emergency services training, and planning in support of the California Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. More information about Civil Air Patrol and Squadron 50 can be found on the website at http://sq50.cawgcap.org.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP’s 58,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com for more information.