N.E. Philadelphia Composite Squadron 104 was chartered in Philadelphia in 1970. The squadron, currently located at Naval Inventory Control Point Philadelphia, actively supports Civil Air Patrol's three-fold mission of aerospace education, emergency services, and cadet programs. The squadron has provided air crews and ground teams for numerous search and rescue and disaster relief missions, worked with teachers and members of the local community in teaching aerospace education, and has been instrumental in shaping the youth of Northeast Philadelphia, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in the military and civilian sectors.
In 1970, the squadron was chartered with SM Harold Cloud serving as the first squadron commander. The squadron moved to its current location in 1972 when Lt. Col. John Hildebrand, the squadron's second commander, signed an agreement with the United States Navy allowing Squadron 104 to be based at Naval Inventory Control Point Philadelphia.
Squadron 104 has been active in search and rescue and disaster relief since its inception. The squadron ranger teams trained at Civil Air Patrol's Hawk Mountain Ranger School in Kempton, Pennsylvania. Early ranger teams learned the techniques for search and rescue and earned the coveted Westover Wings and Airborne Ranger patch in recognition of their training and expertise. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the squadron's ranger teams were active in numerous searches for missing persons and downed aircraft.
On September 11, 2001 in response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania, members of Squadron 104, and the entire Pennsylvania Wing were put on stand-by status to provide assistance. Though not needed, this showed the dedication of squadron members.
More recently, the squadron was active in supporting relief missions during the Covid-19 crisis. Members of Squadron 104, working alongside members of the National Guard, volunteered to serve in distributing food to residents of Philadelphia in need and supporting vaccination efforts at the Philadelphia Convention Center. The squadron also documented storm damage throughout Philadelphia from the remnants of Hurricane Ida for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency in September 2021.
Squadron 104 has been awarded multiple individual unit citations for its activities. During the 1990s the squadron was recognized as PAWG Squadron of the year, PAWG Squadron of Merit, and NER Squadron of Distinction. The squadron's color guard teams have also been recognized for excellence at numerous Pennsylvania WIng color guard competitions.
Helping the community has always been an important part of the mission of Squadron 104. The squadron has participated in numerous events during the years. It has provided support for the Special Olympics. It has also assisted the military during airshows at Naval Air Station WIllow Grove. The squadron participates in many local events, such as State Representative Martina White's Kids Fest and the Cheltenham Fall Festival. The squadron has also been active in clean ups along the Tacony Creek.
Each year, the squadron participates in Wreaths Across America at Philadelphia National Cemetery. This ceremony is designed to help Americans remember the sacrifices made by those who have served this country. Squadron 104 has served as the coordinators for this event and have involved many charities, community groups, and members of the community who all come to participate in the wreath laying and honoring of America's veterans.
During the winter of 1984/1985, the cadet commander, William Reichert brought in his Apple Macintosh and the cadets set about designing a patch for our squadron. He was previously a member of squadron 102, which already had a squadron patch. At the time the squadron office was in Building 2B and the cadets used the cafeteria and Building 1 for classrooms. The cadets copied the space shuttle and stars from the Aerospace 81 book they used at the time. The idea of the patch was simply looking forward to the newest technology and what the future held for the cadets of the squadron. It was a simple idea that was well executed. It was a collaborative effort from the 15 to 20 cadets that comprised the squadron at the time. The squadron commander at the time was Ross Franklin. The approval process was sent up through the chain of command and it was eventually approved by fall 1985.