OAKLAND, CA – 2nd Lt.Elsie Lam and Sr. Mbr., Alexis Esguerra knew achieving Civil Air Patrol’s rank of Colonel would mean years of dedication and meeting an actual legend attain such status was a memorable opportunity. These lucky representatives from Jon E Kramer Composite Squadron attended a ceremony for George DiJeau’s promotion to Honorary Colonel at Amelia Earhart Senior Squadron 188.
Col. DiJeau is one of the living legends at Civil Air Patrol who flew coastal patrol missions scouting for German submarines during World War II. “After the war he was still actively involved with civil defense activities such as target towing for DoD training,” said Lam. “It left me a lasting impression,” she said.
The ceremony, held on April 7, 2009, started with a brief introduction by Lt. Col. Bob Gelinas, Squadron 188 Commander. Colonel Ken Parris, California Wing Commander gave an overview about Col. DiJeau’s remarkable contribution to our nation defense and how his action aided in the birth of CAP’s organization.
Col. Parris and Maj. Kevin McDowell, Group 2 Commander proudly pinned Col. DiJeau with his new insignia. And Mr. Victor Uno, the Commissioner of Port of Oakland and business manager of the International Brotherhood Electrical Workers Local 595, where Col. DiJeau has been a member for 70 years, presented Col. DiJeau with an achievement plaque to commemorate this very special occasion.
“If I had to put in my own two cents worth, what I found to be so enticing about attending Col. DiJeau’s ceremony was the fact that he was one of the original Civil Air Patrol members,” said Esguerra.
“His story of how the aircraft he was flying while conducting target-towing flights for Army gunnery training actually came under accidental-yet-intentional friendly fire made the fine hairs on the back of my neck stand up,” he said.
This extraordinary event demonstrated that with hard work and dedication, CAP senior members have fantastic opportunities to excel and be recognized for their accomplishment. Col. George DiJeau’s commitment to our nation’s defense inspires us all to greater heights and this event was one of those rare lifetime experiences.