Change of command: Civil Air Patrol highlights efforts to rebuild hanger destroyed by Irma
The Black Sheep Squadron has a new shepherd. In a ceremony Wednesday evening at United Church of Marco Island, Marco Island’s Civil Air Patrol Senior Squadron 376 held their Change of Command, transferring leadership from Maj. Robert Corriveau to 1st Lt. Robert Boone.
The ceremony couldn’t be held in the squadron’s hangar at the Marco Island Executive Airport, as that building was flattened during Hurricane Irma by a freakish microburst that smashed the metal building as though with a giant fist, while leaving adjacent structures untouched.
Dealing with Irma’s aftermath has made this a challenging year for the Marco CAP, and both Corriveau and Boone have been in the thick of dealing with the situation, with Boone as deputy squadron commander. Both will continue to work on replacing the hangar, as well as the roof on the balance of the squadron headquarters, as they are simply switching jobs, with Corriveau stepping into Boone’s position as deputy commander.
“It’s the only way I could get him to take the job,” said Corriveau. Boone, he said, “took on dealing with FEMA,” submitting an application for funds to rebuild the hangar that “was rejected one, two – many times. Bob spent a lot of time talking to FEMA.” The good news, said Corriveua, is that FEMA has authorized a grant of approximately $430,000 toward the half-million dollar project.
Despite the “Black Sheep” tag, the Marco squadron is not really made up of ne’er-do-wells and reprobates. The nickname comes from the famed World War II fighter squadron operating in the Pacific theater. In fact, said Lt. Col. James Kaletta, commander of Florida CAP Group 5, which includes Southwest Florida, Marco Island’s Squadron 376 is an exemplary unit, setting up programs for the entire Florida wing, and “doing top-secret missions for the Air Force no else is doing.”
In addition to serving as deputy commander, Boone has been functioning as the squadron’s emergency services officer. He is a mission pilot, flight release officer, safety officer. radio operator, counter-drug officer and air operations branch director.
The counter-drug operations have been second nature to Boone, who spent over 40 years as a sworn law enforcement officer, including more than 25 as chief executive of five different agencies. He is best known locally for having been Marco Island’s first police officer, first police chief, and first director of public safety.
Boone served as president of the New Mexico Chiefs of Police Association, and chairman of the New Mexico Office of National Drug Control Policy, and as a briefing board member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. He holds a master’s degree in law enforcement administration as well as an MBA, and taught as an adjunct faculty member for schools including the University of New Mexico and Columbia College.
Boone’s wife Trish came to the front of the room to affix the pin denoting command onto his uniform, and their two sons, Bob and T.J., were among the audience. Also in attendance were Marco Island City Council Chairman Jared Grifoni, and City Councilor Charlette Roman, a retired Army colonel. Grifoni agreed the City Council could take a page from the CAP in moving their meetings along; the CAP Change of Command took less than one hour from call to order and Presentation of the Colors to adjournment for cake and coffee.
They are a senior squadron, as they do not have a cadet branch of high school age interns, so the Presentation of the Colors was performed by cadets from the Naples CAP squadron.
To contribute to help rebuild the hangar for the Marco Island Civil Air Patrol, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, send a check to PO Box 225, Marco Island, FL 34146. For more information or to consider joining the unit – membership is open – call 239-389-1273, or go online to units.fl376.flwg.us.