Civil Air Patrol honoring veterans as part of wreath-laying salute

by Capt Jessica Jerwa, CAP, Washington Wing Civil Air Patrol, Director of Public Affairs

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. — Local Civil Air Patrol members are proud to partner once more with Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization that recognizes the courage and sacrifices of U.S. veterans by placing wreaths on the graves of the fallen during the holiday season.

This year, in tribute to the millions of men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces — guarding and preserving America’s freedom throughout history — Maine balsam wreaths will be placed on more than 325,000 veterans’ graves at 800-plus cemeteries or memorial sites in all 50 states, as well as 20-plus foreign locations.

“Our mission is to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and teach our children the value of freedom,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America.

Wreaths Across America culminates on Dec. 17 with thousands of wreaths placed on gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery and at several of Arlington’s memorials, including the Tomb of the Unknowns, while simultaneous ceremonies will be held throughout the day at other veterans’ cemeteries and memorials nationwide and abroad. Local CAP members will participate at cemeteries and veterans homes across the state, including a Remembrance Ceremony at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Wash, where veterans groups, Gold Star Mothers, Active Duty, Reserve, Guard and auxiliary military personnel will be in attendance. This year's ceremony, which starts locally at 9:00 a.m., will also include a United States Marine Corps Rifle Team from Marine Barracks JBLM for a 21 gun salute and a bugler to play Taps, a Civil Air Patrol Cadet Color Guard, and Kentwood High School Choir will sing the National Anthem.

“It is your opportunity to again honor veterans in your community,” said CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Joseph R. Vazquez. “I wish each of you the best as together we promote Civil Air Patrol and teach the next generation the importance of honoring our country's veterans.”

“Thousands of Civil Air Patrol members participate each year,” said Worcester, “and, with CAP’s help, this project has continued to see remarkable growth.” Twenty-four years ago, Morrill Worcester of Worcester Wreath Co. donated the first wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery, starting an annual tradition that continues today as Wreaths Across America. Since its inception, Wreaths Across America has grown each holiday season and CAP has been a major partner.

CAP helps find sponsors for the wreaths and its members also lead or participate, often with color and honor guards, in many of the Wreaths Across America ceremonies. Visit to donate to a CAP squadron and support WAA in Washington state, or visit for more information and participating locations. 

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit for more information. 


     Captain Jessica Jerwa

     Director of Public Affairs

     Washington Wing Headquarters

     C: 206-999-4808

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Photos from 2015 Ceremony: