Wiedhahn is a Marine Corps Veteran who fought in the Korean War from his initial landing in Busan to eventually fighting in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. At the time, Wiedhahn was a Private First Class and 19 years old when he first landed at Busan. He recounted the weather causing many casualties during the fight around Busan, which would be a common theme during the entire war.
During the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, the 1st Marine Division was surrounded on all sides by Chinese soldiers. Wiedhahn saw brutal action for the next two weeks as ammunition, rations and water were scarce due to the brutal cold and lack of supplies. The prospects of the Marines changed however as supplies began being airdropped by the recently established Air Force.
As Wiedhahn stated, "Beans, bullets, and bandages,” were crucial to keeping the Marines fighting valiantly. The Air Force C-119s airdropped lifesaving supplies and a portable Treadway bridge. A short dirt runway, carved out of the snow and ice, was constructed by US soldiers during the battle so C-47s could land and evacuate wounded. The portable Treadway bridge allowed the Marines to create an exit from the enemy encirclement. Eventually, the 1st Marine Division was capable of “advancing in a different direction,” as the division commander Oliver P. Smith would state during the battle, and escape to the port of Hungnam.
Wiedhahn stood in front of the squadron to present the Mitchell Award to Cadet Second Lieutenant Yacov Schwartz. The Mitchell Award is a milestone achievement for cadets that marks their first step into the officer ranks, an elevated level of responsibility and commitment to the squadron and Civil Air Patrol as a whole. Cadet Schwartz earned that achievement because of his performance and drive to excel.
Virginia Wing Commander Col. Elizabeth Sydow awarded the Earhart Award to Cadet Captain William Lam. The Earhart Award is another milestone achievement, like the Mitchell Award, and it reflects gained knowledge and skill of a senior cadet leader. Only 3 percent of cadets in Civil Air Patrol have earned the achievement. Cadet Lam serves as the cadet commander, leading over 70 cadets in the squadron.
Sydow also presented the squadron with the Quality Cadet Unit Award and the Aerospace Education Achievement Award earned in 2022 for demonstrated excellence in the cadet program and aerospace education.
For more information on the Burke Composite Squadron, visit https://vawg.cap.gov/units/Burke