Our Squadron 103 alumni members have served in every major US campaign from World War II through current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. We honor and thank them.
In the tradition of Civil Air Patrol nationally, which in the late 1930s answered America’s call to national service and sacrifice by accepting and performing critical wartime missions, many of our Squadron 103 alumni members have and continue to service in our nation’s defense. Our Squadron 103 alumni members have served in every major US campaign from World War II through current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. We honor and thank our brave service men and woman holding them in the highest esteem.Our alumni have served in every branch of the military including the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard which some currently serving, some retired, and others who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Alumni Profile: David Castellano
“My story” by David Castellano
Growing up in South Philly I would often see small airplanes or helicopters flying about. Commercial airliners on approach to Philly International would stop me in my tracks. When asked at a young age, what do you want to do when you grow up? The answer was always the same. I wanted to fly. My favorite TV show was Whirlybirds. Building model airplanes, especially WWII military aircraft, was a favorite hobby. When I learned about the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), through my cousin, this was a natural fit for me.
I first joined Squadron 1001 located at Philly International. Going to meeting was the highlight of my week. Just about nothing would stop me from attending. I actually walked in my blues the three plus miles from my house, over the Passyunk Avenue Bridge, to our meeting location off Island Ave. However, I felt limited at 1001. The leaders were good but not as involved as the leaders in Sq. 103. My cousin talked about the weekend trips to Hawks Mountain practicing woodland survival skills, search and rescue, and the camaraderie of fellow cadets. I couldn’t wait to transfer. While in high school, I participated every training weekend trip as part of the 103 Ranger Team. I was the team medic. When I obtained a car after high school, I joined 103.
Looking back at the life skills I learned as a Cadet, they were advanced for my age. The first life lessons were how to follow directions, trust in leadership, and teamwork. As I advanced within CAP, so did my responsibilities. I learned to lead, teach, and develop my fellow cadets. I needed to be a role model passing on valuable skills of listening, communicating, and not giving up. I didn’t want to let my superiors down by failing an objective. More importantly, I didn’t want to let those in my charge down.
Before graduating high school, I did not achieve entrance into the Naval Academy. My parents didn’t have the financial backing to pay for college. I applied to just one college. My father made it clear living on the couch was not an option. Therefore out to the workforce I went. Center city just didn’t pan out. It was too monotonous. Advancement was limited. So, after three years, I enlisted in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. As the team medic for 103, a medical rate was the right fit.
While working on a post-surgical unit, I had seen firsthand the workings of a nurse. That’s for me. The work is exciting, definitely people oriented, and I knew each day I made a difference in my patient’s life. With five years left on my enlisted contract, I made a plan. BTW, preparation was another skill set I learned in 103.
I enrolled in a local college, Norfolk State University, achieving an Associates and a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Later while on active duty I obtained a Masters in Business Management. The pay at several local hospitals was not enough to support a family. I often found myself thinking of my active duty time and longing to return to navy life. So after five years in the local community, I received my commission.
My naval career was atypical. For several reasons, I did not zig zag across the nation. As an officer, I needed to advance or leave. The skills I learned within the Civil Air Patrol and 103 greatly enhanced my rise as an officer. Teamwork, communication, and leadership were transferable. I advanced quickly. Promotion to Lieutenant Commander (0-4) was a result of a deep selection. As I moved up in rank, I also sought increasing responsibilities. In essence, by doing more, you learn more. The more you learn, the more you can do. Self-esteem, self-confidence, and decision making skills are achieved through action. Always take care of your shipmates and never be afraid to lend a hand. Think of others before you act. This was my model for success.
My career was not without its problems. Just after 0-4 selection, there was a lack of confidence for me to promote to 0-5. This was due to changing a set of orders because one of my sons got into trouble. I needed to be with him and the family. Since no one can truly predict the future, I continued to work hard. Let your achievements speak for themselves. After the normal time as an 0-4, I did select for 0-5. The lesson learned, never give up. Have a vision for your success and work towards it.
Some of my achievements as a naval officer include: Division Officer, Phase II Clinical Instructor for Psychiatric Technicians, Officer in Charge of a family Medicine Clinic, Senior Nurse for Outpatient Care, Psychiatric Nursing Department Head, and Associate Director for Mental Health. My biggest achievement was serving as the Associate Director of Nursing for the Navy’s busiest hospital. I had the honor to lead over 900 nurses and corpsman. At the rank of Captain (0-6), I retired after 30 years of active service.
Now I enjoy my time at home having fun traveling and playing with the grandchildren. I consider myself very blessed to have joined CAP. Joining the Civil Air Patrol was one of the best decisions in my life.
Alumni Profile: Jeffrey A. Moragne
“My CAP Experience” by Colonel (ret) Jeffrey A. Moragne
Sometime around my 13th birthday, my father told me about an organization that studied aviation, was civic minded and focused on building young leaders. He knew I wanted to do something special with my life and saw joining this organization as a great first step. What followed next was nothing short of life changing.
I invested five years in Civil Air Patrol (CAP). In return, that experience helped me forge my core values which are: (1) Excellence (2) Selfless service; and (3) Integrity. Whether participating in Search and Rescue training, following the wisdom of CAP seniors, or leading fellow cadets, the experience was invaluable.
My CAP experience was also the foundation of many of my career goals. The 31 years I spent in the Air Force (1 year at the Academy Prep School, 4 years at the Air Force Academy and 26 years in the Air Force as a Commander, Fighter Pilot, Joint Staff Officer and Credentialed Diplomat), all have roots in what I learned in the Armory on Olney Avenue, on Ranger Mountain and from the unwavering support I received from my Squadron 103 brothers.
A famous poet once said, our journey is made up of many steps. I am blessed, my Air Force journey began with My CAP experience and the 103 core belief , “You Can”!
Alumni Profile: Rodney Street
Rodney enlisted in the US Air Force working in Air Traffic control. He moved through the ranks quickly and obtained his current rank of MSGT where he interacts with Generals on a daily bases consulting them on topics such as electronic medical records.
As a Civil Air Patrol cadet C/MAJ Rodney Street served both as the Squadron Cadet & Ranger Team Commander during the late 1990s. Some of his other notable achievements as a Civil Air Patrol cadet include:
- Serving as the Executive Officer at the Hawk Mountain Summer Survival School, where his quick thinking and leadership helped ensure school students that where struck by lightning (secondary strike) were found, treated, and evacuated.
- He was the last cadet in from the squadron to receive a scholarship for, attend, and complete Solo flight school