By Lt Col CAP Juan Tinnirello, PIO Amelia Earhart Senior Squadron 188
On November 13, 2012 at the “All Hands” Squadron 188 meeting, Group 2 commander Major Steve Renwick and other members of Group 2, met to honor Major Paul Groff for his dedication and service to Civil Air Patrol. Maj. Renwick presented Paul with commendations from National, Wing and Group 2 for his excellent and long service to CAP. Maj. Paul Groff retires from CAP after 33 years of service and leaves behind a legacy of dedicated work and accomplishments in the many positions he held during his tenure.
In 1979 Major Groff's son Joe was a cadet in Sq. 18 at the Oakland International Airport. Major Groff decided to join his son's squadron and so began his 3 decades of faithful service. He believes his son's participation in CAP was very instrumental in Joe choosing a career in aviation and who is now a Captain with Virgin American Airlines.
His efforts led to the Scanner Rating as a pre-requisite to the Mission Observer rating. This significant improvement to how CAP aircrews conduct searches provided him the opportunity to travel through out the state explaining the new program to CAP squadrons. Major Groff not only spoke to CAP squadrons, he also shared his methods with law enforcement agencies that had heard about the new program and wanted him to share his methods with their staff.
In the fall of 1987 Major Groff was requested to form a senior search and rescue squadron at the Oakland Airport. The new squadron was established in January 1988 (1/88). Thus was named Squadron 188 and with Amelia Earhart as its patron. Several of the senior members of Sq. 18 switched to Sq.188, so the squadron was up and running in a very short time. This writer joined the squadron in January 1990 and was assigned the job of PAO by Commander Groff.
During his tenure as Squadron Commander he trained the entire squadron membership in the various classes they needed to complete to obtain their ratings. These classes included the Emergency Services courses required to participate in the search and rescue exercises, as well as Aerospace Education, one of his preferred subjects.
In 1997 Paul became the Group 2 Commander applying and expanding his experiences and knowledge of CAP. After serving four years as Group 2 CC, the new Group 2 CC, Lt. Col. Parris, asked Paul to become the Safety Officer. He also rejoined Sq. 188 as the Aerospace Education Officer and helped many members to obtain their Yeager Award.
In 2008 he was appointed Director of Safety for CAWG. This was a time when the National Safety program was expanded and Incident Reporting became a part of CAP standard procedure. CAWG Safety received an Excellent rating during the inspection of January 2012.
Maj. Paul Groff retired officially in February 2012 and will be missed by many in CAWG, and especially by members like me in Sq. 188. Farewell my friend!