In Memory of
Maj Bernard J. Wilson
January 19, 1953 – June 14, 2023
Bernard J. Wilson began his Civil Air Patrol career as a Cadet in Corona Cadet Squadron 51 at March AFB in 1967. Early in his career he was mentored by Tom McKannon. His Basic Encampment as Cadet was at Camp Roberts in 1969. Following the dissolution of Squadron 51, he moved to Cadet Squadron 45, rising to the rank of C/Lt Col and Cadet Commander.
Throughout his time as a cadet, he was active in CA Wing Cadet Advisory Council and was selected for Cadet Special Activities, going IACE twice as a Cadet, to The republic of Korea and to New Zealand. He participated in Flying Encampment in 1970, in Oklahoma, earning his rating as a private pilot and CAP Pilot’s wings before the age of 21.
Through his CAP career he served as “Tac Officer” (Now, FTO) several times, first in 1973 at Vandenberg AFB, unusually while still a Cadet (at the grade of C/Lt Col), immediately prior to becoming a senior member.
By 1974, he was appointed to become the Commander, Van Nuys Cadet Squadron 7 (during which time he recruited his friend and co-worker, Terry Edinboro into CAP).
During the Mid to late 1970’s, he became a staff member of the Cadet Programs Section, during the period when (then) Captain Christopher N. “Kit” Reichow was director of Cadet Programs, CAWG. He attended Encampment at Vandenberg as Tac Officer in 1974. Following that experience, he served on the committee that started the Cadet Training Group, thru 1974 and 1975. Under the Director’s supervision, he wrote significant parts of the initial draft documents that created CTG; much of his work was reflected in first versions of the encampment training manual (ETM). During the premiere year of the Cadet Training Group, the decision was made to employ Squadron Tactical Officers; in 1975, he served as one of three Squadron “Tac’s” at the 1975 Vandenberg AFB Encampment. His assignment was to guide and mentor the commander of the 1st CTS, Andrew K. Weaver.
Through the later 1970’s and 1980’s, he continued participating at CAWG Cadet Programs Section, Judging at Drill Competitions, Cadet Advisory Council activities, Special Activities Selection Boards and Staff Selections at Encampments. He served as a member of the senior staff that was instrumental in selection of many of the first generations of staff for the CTG.
At Encampment, he served variously in numerous positions. Most notably was is time as the Chief Training Officer, Commandant of Cadets and Encampment Commander.
In the ensuing years, he maintained CAP membership current for over 50 years, primarily at the Van Nuys Capt Jay Weinsoff Cadet Squadron 3.
Eventually, Bernie and his family resettled to Brentwood, TN, a suburb of Nashville. He continued to serve CAP on the National Headquarters Staff as the Heraldry Division Senior Manager, under the Office of the National Historian.
Outside Civil Air Patrol, Bernie served with distinction in the United States Army. He later served 30 years with Los Angeles law enforcement; 25 of those years with the Los Angeles International Airport Police Department. He retired as the Airport Chief of Police.
Those who knew him, were usually impressed with his depth of knowledge with the program as well as his judicious and wise counsel and an overarching sense of personal and professional integrity. His persona always exhibited a penchant for accuracy, best illustrated by the Latin root of the word: ad cura; to care.