CHARLESTON - The Wheeling Composite Squadron earned the 2013 Outstanding Squadron of the Year Award at the annual West Virginia Wing Conference Oct. 26-27.
The West Virginia Wing Civil Air Patrol leadership evaluated 12 squadrons throughout the state before selecting Wheeling.
The squadron, located at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport, is accepting new members. It is open to adults and boys and girls 12 and older who want to learn about aerospace education, search and rescue techniques and aviation. The group also learns about leadership, military drills and ceremonies and search and rescue ground operations and children are invited to have introductory flights in the group's gliders and Cessna 182.
The squadron has a new Cessna 182T with a G-1000 glass panel cockpit. Pilots are invited to learn how to fly search-and-rescue missions at a reduced cost.
Those preferring to stay on the ground may be trained in ground team operations, working in conjunction with aircraft and using directional equipment to locate downed aircrew or missing people while conducting search and rescue operations.
The squadron meets at 7 p.m. every Tuesday at the squadron headquarters located at the west end of the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport on Skyway Lane, off Short Creek Road.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft.
CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and saves an average of 80 lives annually.
Volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.
The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 26,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs.
CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 71 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans.