Sunday, December 10, 2023

Civil Air Patrol welcomes new commander

Staff Writer | March 30, 2023 1:08 AM

A cadet who joined the Civil Air Patrol Coeur d'Alene Composite Squadron in 1985 is now taking the next generation of cadets under his wing.

Capt. Gary Bough was sworn in as the commander of the squadron Tuesday night in a ceremony in the squadron hangar at Pappy Boyington Field in Hayden. He is preceded by Maj. Michael Venning, who relinquished command during the ceremony.

Bough thanked his colleagues and those in attendance, "but most of all, Mom, thank you," he said to his mother, who sat in the front row.

"Back in 1985, I joined this squadron. Here I stand before you now as the squadron commander," Bough said.

He said it wasn't without the help and dedication of his parents that he participated in the program as a cadet and went on to a successful military career.

Cadets applauded and saluted their new commander, who was previously the deputy commander and who served as the Idaho Wing director of professional development from 2017 to 2022.

Bough was born in West Germany while his father was serving in the U.S. Army at U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz. He and his family moved to Coeur d'Alene in 1977 following his father's retirement. He served as a cadet from 1985 to 1990, when he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a ground radio communications equipment system specialist before entering the Army in 2003 as a combat engineer, where he served until his retirement in 2009 as a staff sergeant. In his 15 years in the armed forces, Bough deployed to Iraq six times in support of Operation Desert Storm. He reintegrated into the Civil Air Patrol in 1994 as a senior member, where he has remained to present day.

Venning, originally from Fairfield, Calif., entered the Civil Air Patrol as a cadet in 1971 and remained active with the California Wing until 2017. He became a commissioned officer with the California Highway Patrol in 1981 and retired in 2007 as a lieutenant. Venning integrated into the Idaho Wing as a mission observer with the Coeur d'Alene Composite Squadron in 2017. He is also a certified private pilot for single-engine, fixed-wing aircraft.

The change-of-command event happens every four years, explained Lachlan Piper, 16, who is the Coeur d'Alene Composite Squadron's cadet deputy commander for support and cadet public affairs officer. He is in his fourth year with the squadron and emceed the ceremony.

"It allows us to see our new commander accept that oath of office and swear to do their best in that position," Lachlan said.

He said Venning did a great job as a leader.

"He was an incredible commander," Lachlan said. "He was always there for the squadron, he did what was necessary. He helped us through that hard time of COVID."

He said Bough is also an incredible man.

"He knows what he's doing," Lachlan said. "I'm confident that he will excel in the position."

The Civil Air Patrol is a federally chartered nonprofit corporation that is also the Air Force auxiliary. The organization's mission is to support local communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development and promotion of air, space and cyber power through aerospace education.



Outgoing Civil Air Patrol Coeur d'Alene Composite Squadron Commander Maj. Michael Venning delivers a farewell speech Tuesday night during a change of command ceremony in the squadron hangar at Pappy Boyington Field in Hayden. Venning will go on to be the Idaho Wing director of logistics.



From left, Civil Air Patrol cadets C/TSgt Spencer Slater, C/SrA Landon Hart and C/1stLt Jeremy Abegg-Guzman salute the incoming Coeur d'Alene Composite Squadron commander Tuesday night during a change of command ceremony.

Recent Headlines