Squadron History

History of Gainesville Composite Squadron    

CAP Captain's uniform jacket from 1942-1944 with the distinctive red shoulder stripesCAP was founded during the period leading to the start of World War II as a way for civilian pilots to put their skills and resources to use should the country go to war. During the war, CAP pilots patrolled the coast for German U-boats (submarines) and reporting them to the US Army Air Force. Later CAP pilots equipped their aircraft with bombs and depth charges, and have been credited with sinking two U-boats. Today, CAP still provides assistance to the military, though is no longer involved in any combat roles.

There was a squadron based in Gainesville during World War II that operated out of Stengal Field, an airport located where Butler Plaza is today. The squadron was used to support the Camp Blanding Army Training Post and the Alachua Army Air Field (now Gainesville Regional Airport). This squadron was disbanded in 1946, but several members rejoined the new Gainesville Cadet Squadron. Many members of the new squadron were transfer cadets and senior members from the St. Petersburg Cadet Squadron who were attending the University of Florida. 

The squadron met in the hangar at the now named Gainesville Municipal Airport before moving to the ROTC complex at UF. The hangar still stands at the airport and is used by University Air Center.

In the 1960s, the squadron met at a building on the airport provided by the City of Gainesville, a former mess hall. The building was also used as headquarters for Group 12 in 1965 before being destroyed in a fire in 1968, which was attributed to squirrels eating the wiring in the ceiling.

For a brief period, the squadron was split into a cadet squadron and a senior squadron and an L-16 was assigned to the cadet squadron, though it was used by the senior squadron. When the aircraft was assigned to another squadron, senior membership declined and the squadrons were re-combined.

During its history, the Gainesville Composite Squadron has had flights at Williston, Cedar Key, Keystone Heights, Lake City, and Interlachen, some of which became CAP squadrons. The cadet flight in Ocala became the Ocala Cadet Squadron and merged with the existing senior squadron.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Gainesville Composite Squadron boasted 45 cadets and 22 senior mbmers. In 1967, a flight was split off to become Headquarters Cadet Squadron, charter FL 002, for cadets in the Wing and Region attending the University of Florida, and during its three year existence produced more Spaatz Awards than the rest of Southeast Region combined.

In 2001, Gainesville Composite Squadron boasted 145 cadets and 24 senior members, with the majority being members of the Interlachen Flight based out of Interlachen High School. 

2008 Color Guard team after winning the National Color Guard Competition
In 2006, cadets from the Gainesville Composite Squadron started competing in the Florida Wing cadet competitions with a Color Guard team and won the national championship in in 2008, and again in 2010. We look to repeat this once again in 2013!

Today, the squadron has just under 40 cadets and almost as many senior members, though we are always looking for more!