Saturday, December 19, 2015

Wreaths Across America

 By Lt Col Juan Tinnirello, CAP (and pictures, except as noted)

 Stuart Highlanders Pipe Band
Saturday, 12 December, 2015 was a sunny and wind free morning that helped to make the ceremony more enjoyable.  Members from Squadrons 18 and 188 were in attendance, as were veterans, soldiers’ family members and over 100 members of the general public.

This ceremony started with the Stuart Highlanders Pipe Band saluting each branch of the Armed Forces with a different song.   The Master of Ceremonies was Kevin Graves, Founder and President of “Some Gave All - The Joey Graves Foundation”.  Then the colors
where presented by the Daly City Police Department, followed by the National Anthem, led by Regina Gonnella from the Avenue of Flags Committee.

Color Guards

U.S. Army Veteran
 William Jackson

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Kristen Matthias, Regent, San Andreas Lake Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. After that, a call for a minute of silence took place at exactly 9:00 AM. The minute of silence occurred simultaneously, at each National Cemetery across the nation, from Washington DC to Guam, and all the Armed Forces and Merchant Marines were honored.

Members of Squadrons 18 and 188
It was a very emotional ceremony, especially during the presentation of the wreaths by individuals and when saluting each one of the different branches of the Armed Forces as well as the Merchant Marines and the POW/MIA.  Gold Start Families, parents of sons/daughters that are buried in the cemetery, also presented a wreath to honor them.

After the main speaker, Lt Col Jeff Brooks from the 23rd Marines, instructions were given about how to place the wreath on each tombstone. 

The closing remarks were given by Kevin Graves, a Gold Start Father.  He was in Afghanistan not too long ago, right in the battle field. He placed soil from that spot in vials that he presented to other Gold Start Families attending the event, as remembrance of the place where their sons/daughters had shed their blood.

Sq. 188 Commander, Capt Luis Rivas,
placing a wreath with 

Lt Hipp & Lt Bitz 
Taps was played by Petty Officer Lena Gemmer and Chief Petty Officer Jared Zygarewicz from the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps Band of the West, and the colors were retired.

 Attendees placing wreaths.

1300 wreaths were placed by the attendees in a specific section of the cemetery. Every year, a new section is covered, so eventually all 145,000 tombstones will be honored.

It was a very moving ceremony and a good way to honor and remember our fallen heroes.

You are invited to return on Saturday, 2 January, 2016 at 8:00 AM to help with the wreath cleanup.

Lt Jim Hipp, Lt Pat Bitz and Lt Col Juan Tinnirello
 (Photo by volunteer)

Tombstones after wreaths were placed

Friday, December 4, 2015

All Hands Meeting, 1 December, 2015.

By Lt Col Juan Tinnirello (and pictures)

Deputy Commander Capt Jordan Hayes welcomed everyone and invited Lt Col Juan Tinnirello to lead the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Commander Maj Rivas is in New York on business.

 Capt Jordan Hayes

November was a quiet month, compared to September. In the events department, the glider is back from its yearly inspection in Nevada. About 15 CAP members, from Squadron 188 as well as other units, helped to assemble the glider on Saturday 21 November. It was a fun day and the writer had a chance to be the second member to fly in the glider.

Lt Patrick Bitz

1st Lt Bitz thanked everybody participating in sales for the Wreaths Across America project and invited members to help in placing the wreaths at the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, Saturday, 12 December at 8:30 AM.  Anyone wanting a ride, go to the squadron that Saturday by 7:00 AM. Please contact Lt Bitz to coordinate.

For the Aero Space Education moment, Lt Bitz showed a video regarding the advancements done by NASA during work experiments right at the Space Station, in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  The main effort of the project is to grow food for future space travelers going to Mars. For more information go to You may have to copy and paste the information in your browser.

1st Lt Al Chavez
1st Lt Al Chavez attended a meeting at the California Earthquake Authority and made a presentation to us about all the information available about “Hazards” related to all types of natural disasters.  Going to the following Web site  will provide information about earthquake, flood, fire and tsunami. Placing your home or business address in the designated block will provide customized information for your particular location.  Lt Chavez also talked about the expected weather influence of El NiƱo.  More information can be found at  He distributed a Fact Sheet about both events. This presentation was the Safety Education for the month.  If you were not at the meeting, you missed a lot of good information.
One mission took place 5 November for an ELT in Auburn. Maj Chris Johnson was the IC3-T, Maj Noel Luneau the MP, and Maj Mark Fridell the MS.  This was the first find for Maj Fridell. Maj Kathy Johnson completed her CD certification. Capt Rivas and Lt Choate renewed their Form 5 and Lt Gast completed his CAP Instructor Pilot for Gliders. The aircraft flew 18.2 hrs. and the van was driven 457 miles. 

Capt Hayes reminded us that squadron’s dues must be paid now.

The Squadron’s Holiday Party will be held at the Oakland Aviation Museum on 15 December at 6:00 PM. Contact 1st Lt Eric Choate for details.

The squadron will be dark until 5 January, 2016, our All Hands Meeting. On 9 January a G1000 ground school is scheduled to take place. Contact Capt Georgios Michelogiannakis for details.

Capt Jordan Hayes and Maj Mark Fridell
 receiving the Find Ribbon
Maj Fridell received his rescue Find Ribbon (with propeller) for his first find.

The entire staff of Squadron 188 wishes everyone very Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year 2016!