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Squadron History

Note: The following historical narrative about the Leesburg Composite Squadron is a condensed summary collected from available documentation. We encourage everyone (including former and current senior members, cadets, and sponsors) to submit corrections, additions, photos, and video footage to add to our squadron history.
In late 1972, Ms. Dorothy “Dolly” Tuller, a special education teacher at Herndon Intermediate School in Herndon, Virginia and a former Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadet, began organizing a new CAP squadron with help from her husband, Steve Tuller, a Warrant Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. Shortly thereafter, on 16 February 1973, the National Headquarters, Civil Air Patrol, assigned Charter Number 45117 to the Herndon Composite Squadron and Captain Dorothy Tuller was appointed as the first squadron commander. Meetings were held at the Herndon Intermediate School in Captain Dolly Tuller’s classroom. In November 1973, the first awards ceremony for Herndon Composite Squadron was held at the school. At the time, squadron membership consisted of 10 senior members and 26 cadets, and by late 1974, squadron membership increased to over 20 seniors members and 60 cadets.

During a practice CAP Search and Rescue mission in 1975 , a search aircraft crashed in mountainous terrain. The squadron Operations Officer, Captain Jerry Long was severely injured, and co-pilot First Lieutenant Joseph Herbert was killed. In April 1977, Squadron Commander and founder, Major Dorothy Tuller died in an airplane crash on takeoff after ferrying two senior members to pick up a CAP Cessna 172 from a maintenance shop. Later that same year, the squadron relocated to the Stone House at Washington-Dulles International Airport. Ten years later, the squadron was re-designated the Dulles Composite Squadron.

In 1992, Washington-Dulles International Airport undertook a major Capital Development Program to accommodate the growth of the airport. The growth of the airport and increased security concerns during the Persian Gulf War, forced the squadron to move out of the Stone House. Through the generosity of Page Aviation (now Signature Flight Services), the squadron used the conference room in one of the aircraft operations buildings to host its meetings until a new home could be found. The disruption caused by this move reduced the squadron’s membership to 5 senior members and a handful of cadets – about what it had started with 20 years earlier. At that point, the squadron was in serious danger of disbanding.

In the fall of 1992, the squadron found a new home, and in January 1993 relocated to the Virginia Army National Guard Armory in Leesburg, Virginia. This new facility accommodated the needs of the squadron and its weekly activities. Being located across the street from the Leesburg Municipal Airport was an added benefit. Then in the fall of 1993, the squadron changed its name again, to better reflect its location -- Leesburg Composite Squadron. The squadron’s membership started to grow dramatically since moving into the new facility, and by March 1996, the squadron’s membership grew to 29 senior members and 21 cadets.

Currently, our squadron membership has been stable at about 50 senior members and over 100 cadets! The membership of the Leesburg Composite Squadron is composed of citizen volunteers from Leesburg and surrounding communities in Loudoun County. The Leesburg Composite Squadron is proud to call Leesburg home and will continue to do so for years to come.