National Blue Beret 15 July - 29 July 2024
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During the winter of 1966-67, Col. Allen Towne, Iowa Wing Commander, requested that an intensive training program be set up in Iowa Wing to train senior members and cadets to become effective and knowledgeable in ground search and rescue operations. Under the command of Lt Col. William B. Cass, Iowa Wing deputy Commander, a program was established for the spring of 1967.  The purpose in mind was to create among the members of Iowa Wing the ability to function effectively in almost any capacity when called upon.  The first training session was held in April 1967 and consisted of four training weekends. The curriculum consisted of standard first aid and personal survival.  The basic uniform was the OD green fatigues, combat or jump boots, blue ascot, web belt and canteen. Planning was initiated to invite other wings within North Central region to attend the next Iowa Wing Blue Beret encampment.

In June of 1969, eighty-six members from five wings within North Central Region convened near Dubuque, IA. for the first region-wide Blue Beret encampment. This was a one-week, non-interrupted training session. 


Chaplain Aydt presented a design for a patch. The design depicted an eight ball with a blue beret perched on top. The design represented the seven wings and Region headquarters within North Central Region.  The activity officially became known as the North Central Region Special Service Corps, with the nickname remaining the Blue Berets.  Upon this news, the letters "NCRSSC" were added to the beret on the 8-ball.

In the 1980’s, the encampment was held at Fort McCoy, near Sparta, WI.  Blue Beret became a national special activity.  From that point on, it became the Civil Air Patrol Special Service Corps. The encampment saw its largest attendance of over 300 cadets in 1986.

Blue Beret took possession of its new buildings on their permanent and present compound in Oshkosh in 1988.  SEACAP operations were terminated and turned over to the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

In the early 90’s the activity became the "Civil Air Patrol EAA Oshkosh" (CEO) Activity.  Cadets wore the blue jumpsuit and baseball cap.  In 1996, the program was reinstated as a national special activity and given its new and current name, National Blue Beret.  The Air Force ran the program until the end of the 1998 activity.



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