Sugar Land Composite Squadron holds annual dining-in

Sugar Land Composite Squadron held its annual dining-in at the T. E. Harman Center on February 6, 2016.

Months of hard work and planning by Lt. Col. Joyce Kassai, president of the mess, along with the organizing skills of 1st Lt. Diane Kennedy and 1st Lt. Patrick Kennedy, vice-president of the mess, made this a spectacular event.  The dining-in incorporated the protocol of a formal military Officers’ Mess and an awards dinner.

“Tonight presents an opportunity for us to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Civil Air Patrol, recognize achievements, accomplishments, and service to our community over the past year, and build esprit-de-corps,” stated Lt. Col. Kassai.

Mr. Larry Fletcher shows is Congressional Gold Medal to the photographer during the Sugar Land Dining-in.

Mr. Larry Fletcher shows is Congressional Gold Medal to the photographer during the Sugar Land Dining-in. Photo by Capt. Audrey Morrow.

Guests were greeted in a receiving line located in the lounge area.  A professional photographer was on hand to take photos of CAP officers and honored guests.  It was an opportunity for families and friends to mix and mingle.  Among the honored guests was Congressional Gold Medal recipient, James Lawrence “Larry” Fletcher, accompanied by his family, affectionately named, ‘the Flying Fletchers’.  Memorabilia from Mr. Fletcher’s CAP service and aviation career were on display.

Seated at the head table at the Sugar Land Composite Squadron Dining-in were (l to r) Maj. Daniel Schoessler, Maj. Kate Schoessler, Lt. Col. Joyce, Lt. Col. David Ogden and 1st Lt. Diane Kennedy.

Seated at the head table at the Sugar Land Composite Squadron Dining-in were (l to r) Maj. Daniel Schoessler, Maj. Kate Schoessler, Lt. Col. Joyce, Lt. Col. David Ogden and 1st Lt. Diane Kennedy. Photo taken by Capt. Audrey Morrow.

Following a delicious dinner, catered by Jim Tidwell, the rite of drinking grog commenced.  Lt. Col. David Ogden had, unfortunately, put his elbows on the table, while eating. He cheerfully stepped up to the punch bowl and quickly drank his cup of grog.

Awards for volunteer service, excellence, and integrity were presented to fifteen members by Lt. Col. Joyce Kassai and Lt. Col. David Ogden.  This is an outstanding number of citations from a squadron membership of 47.

Maj. Kate Schoessler, public affairs officer for the Ellington Composite Squadron, served as guest speaker.  Maj. Schoessler spoke about her job at NASA and described her position as a biomedical flight director.

She explained how the many facets of day-to-day living needed to be modified to adapt to life in the International Space Station.  Bone density is lessened in space.  Continual exercise is critical.  It was interesting to learn that the first musical instrument played in space was a bagpipe.  The piper had a captive audience.

The colors were retired, marking an end to a spectacular evening. Guests were impressed with the core values and mission of the Civil Air Patrol.

“I’d like to extend my gratitude to the parents of our cadets.  Thank you for allowing us to mentor, encourage and prepare your cadet as the next generation of leaders in America.  To the spouses of our senior members, thanks to you all for giving up family time so the mission of CAP continues,” stated Lt. Col. Kassai.