NER-MA-043 Hanscom Composite Squadron
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Squadron History

Unfortunately, many early Civil Air Patrol records were lost in a government storage warehouse fire.  As a result, the official date that our squadron was chartered remains a mystery.  We do have records going back until at least 1961, but there is reason to believe that Hanscom Composite Squadron, or a predecessor unit, has been around for longer than that.

For many decades, however, Hanscom Composite Squadron has been an active Civil Air Patrol unit contributing to our community, state, and nation.  Our location on Hanscom Air Force Base has changed quite a few times over the years, but our commitment to excellence in our missions has remained steadfast.

If you are a former HCS member or have any information or records about our past, please use the Contact Us page. For What CAP activities interest you?, choose Historian and use the Message box to provide the details.

Squadron Emblems

Prior to 1986, Hanscom Composite Squadron did not have a squadron emblem. That year, Cadet Master Sergeant Stephen Papagno designed the original emblem that was in use for many years. The overall shape was that of a command shield, which was typical of squadron patches in Massachusetts Wing and around the country. The red represented the earth, blue the sky, the silhouette our Commonwealth, and the eagle our nation. The three stars signified the three main missions of Civil Air Patrol: Aerospace Education, Emergency Services, and Cadet Programs. 19043 was the original unit charter number (“19” signifies Massachusetts Wing, a numbering designation that is still in use for vehicles and aircraft). 

In 2009, a new squadron emblem was adopted.  The blue background represented CAP’s affiliation with the US Air Force and the sky in which we fly.  The yellow lettering represented unit excellence.  The aircraft in CAP markings demonstrated how we accomplish our three main missions.  The stars and state silhouette were carried forward from the original emblem and held the same meanings.

In response to years of members wanting to return to the unit’s original emblem and needing to ensure that our squadron emblem was in compliance with Air Force heraldry guidelines, the third (and current) squadron emblem was developed and adopted in 2018.  It features elements of the squadron’s first two emblems with some updates and improvements. 

This new emblem consists of a disc with two scrolls and incorporates the mandatory colors of ultramarine blue and Air Force yellow in accordance with Air Force heraldry guidelines.  The disc predominantly features red, white, and blue – our nation’s colors.

The first design element contains an ultramarine blue field above and towards the dexter side (wearer’s right) which represents the sky as well as our aerospace missions.  Within the blue field are three stars, which represent the three main missions of CAP.  The stars have the same asterisk design that has been present on both previous unit emblems.  The stars are Air Force yellow, representing excellence in each of those missions.  The lower aspect of the disc’s background, favoring the sinister side (wearer’s left) is a red field with black perspective lines representative of the ground and symbolic of our ground-based missions.

The second design element is an eagle, which is representative of not only our nation, but also the patriotism and determination of our members.  It faces towards the wearer’s right in accordance with Air Force heraldry guidelines.  An eagle was featured in a similar position on the original squadron emblem.

The third, and final, design element is an aircraft overflying a silhouette of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  The aircraft is stylized depiction of a Cessna aircraft in CAP colors, representing our aerial missions.  It is oriented to the northeast, symbolic of our place within CAP’s Northeast Region.  The nose of the aircraft points to our squadron’s physical location at Hanscom Air Force Base.

Above and below the disc are two scrolls composed of black writing on an Air Force yellow background, similar to the scroll on the original unit emblem. The lower scroll contains the unit name: “HANSCOM COMPOSITE SQ”.  As our squadron does not have a unit motto, the top scroll contains our unit charter number: “NER-MA-043”, which is as unique and meaningful to our squadron as a motto would be.


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