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Tar River Composite Squadron visits Wright Brothers National Memorial and Dare County Regional Airport Museum

Cadets at the base of the Wright Brothers Monument
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Cadets at the base of the Wright Brothers Monument (L-R) , C/CMSgt Medlin, C/A1C Andru Cherry, C/A1C Alex Cherry, Cadet Brandon Roberson, C/SSgt Richard Green, C/SSgt Nathan Stachura. (Photo credit: 2d Lt Liz Dunster, CAP) (click image to view full size)
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6/27/2015––Tar River Composite Squadron enjoyed a field trip to the Wright Brothers National Memorial and Dare County Regional Airport Museum on 27 June 2015.

Ten squadron members and C/SSgt Nathan Stachura from Raleigh-Wake Composite Squadron, braved the North Carolina heat to enjoy an outing to the Outer Banks coordinated by squadron commander, Maj William Hess.

At the Wright Brothers National Memorial, the group began by exploring the Visitors Center, which houses a museum and small gift shop.  Full scale replicas of the 1902 glider and 1903 flyer were of particular interest.

Further exploration led to a reconstruction of the brothers' 1903 camp buildings, which include the hangar for the 1903 flyer and their quarters/workshop furnished with items such as those used by the brothers.

We walked the flight line, which has stone markers at the point of landing of each of the first four flights, recording the path, distance and landings of each of those flights.  C/SSgt Nathan Stachura said, "I enjoyed seeing where powered flight took place for the first time and the markers seeing exactly where history was made.  This was an amazing experience for myself and I believe for everyone who went."
We then walked the path leading to Big Kill Devil Hill to reach the monument at the top.  Big Kill Devil Hill is a large sand dune, now stabilized with grass.  The Wright Brothers Monument atop the dune marks the site of literally hundreds of glider flights made by the brothers, which they used to teach themselves to fly before their attempts at powered flight.
The walk down the hill to the Sculpture Garden celebrating the first flight was considerably easier.  The garden contains bronze sculptures of the Wright Brothers, John Daniels taking the historic photograph of the first flight, a sculpture of the surf men from the Kill Devils Hills Lifesaving Station who aided the brothers, and, of course, a full scale bronze reproduction of the 1903 Wright Flyer, which the public is encouraged to pose with and climb on. The cadets had a wonderful time pretending they were flying the plane.
From there we drove to Dare County Regional Airport on Roanoke Island, the site of Civil Air Patrol Coastal Patrol Base 16 during World War II. Squadron members saw the monument dedicated to Patrol Base 16, and noted with particular interest the dedication to Julian Cooper from Nashville, one of the two CAP members who lost their lives while scouting for submarines in 1942 when their small aircraft went down over the water; Nashville is a neighboring town to our squadron. The small museum contains a large display of Civil Air Patrol artifacts, including early uniforms and replica bombs like those dropped on the Nazi submarines by CAP members during World War II.  C/A1C Andru Cherry enjoyed looking at the historic uniforms, and said he would have, "liked to wear them, too."  C/SSgt Nathan Stachura described the museum as a, "unique experience." 
The trip was a positive experienced for everyone who went. C/A1C Alex Cherry said of the day, "Wow!  Where do I begin?  I really enjoyed going today! Seeing where the first flight was taking place was so cool!  It's like going back in time!  And truly learning about the Wright brothers is amazing!  I love learning about the past!  Hope we can do this again some time!"
During an Orientation Flight earlier this year, C/CMSgt Medlin and C/SSgt Green had seen the Wright Brothers Memorial from the air, and flew into Dare County Airport.  C/CMSgt Medlin said, "seeing the place where humans learned to fly was a very educational and exciting experience, it helped me realize how monumental the feat really was, and how it was accomplished.  Using the tools and technology at the time it was a larger than life task, but they accomplished it and changed life for the better."
Tar River Composite Squadron meets on Thursdays from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the Rocky Mount - Wilson Regional Airport.