Civil Air Patrol’s Virginia Wing celebrates charter member’s 92nd birthday

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RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – Col. Carolyn Guertin celebrated her 92nd birthday with several friends who paid tribute to her in a very heartfelt way.

Guertin’s birthday was on Monday, June 29, but it was also a day that commemorated her 78th year for continued volunteer service as a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) member.

Her celebration included cards and letters from other CAP members across the country, a promotion to colonel, a photo album, a proclamation from Governor Northam and virtual greetings from each member of her chain of command.

Guertin was the first female to join CAP in Virginia back in December of 1941 – when she was just 13.

She tells the story that she was the first in line that day, but was made to wait on the side until 10 men signed up, which made her the 11th member.

Since then, Guertin’s service has not stopped. She has held numerous duty assignments over the decades and still holds many current qualifications.

Back in 1952, she formed Richmond Cadet Squadron Two and served as its commander for over a decade. The unit is still in existence today and was renamed the Carolyn A. Guertin Cadet Squadron in recognition of her commitment to the program.

CAP’s national commander, Maj. Gen. Mark Smith opened the online celebrating by telling Guertin, “When I open up the book on mentorship, your picture is there. It is due to your impact on the number of people you have mentored in the Civil Air Patrol over the years.”

Governor Northam issued a proclamation that designated June 29 as Carolyn A. Guertin Day in Virginia.

“This is a birthday to go down in history. This is the most wonderful birthday I’ve ever had.”

Carolyn Guertin

Through her time, Guertin has danced with famous test pilot Chuck Yeager. She has spent time with former U.S. Air Force Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, commander of the famed World War II raids on Tokyo. She met Igor Sikorsky and flew on a prototype helicopter. She has a treasured book full of signatures of may of the noteworthy people she has met during her CAP career which includes pilots, astronauts, presidents and congressmen.

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