Greenspring’s Elizabeth “Libby” Haynes Receives the Congressional Gold Medal for Service in World War II

October 10, 2016

Cadet Member of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Recognized for Distinguished Service

On Saturday, October 8, 2016, Colonel Bruce Heinlein, Commander National Capital Wing, Civil Air Patrol, bestowed a congressional gold medal to Greenspring community member Elizabeth "Libby" Daggit Haynes, for her service as a cadet member of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) during World War II.

The congressional gold medal, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, are the highest civilian awards in the United States. It is awarded to persons "who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient's field long after the achievement." The first congressional gold medal was awarded in 1776 by the Second Continental Congress to General George Washington.

"It is a true honor and pleasure to present this award," says Colonel Heinlein. "The incredible talent and dedication shown by Libby and the cadet members of CAP in support of those in active duty is truly historic."

Joining Colonel Heinlein for the presentation of the award was Colonel Jayson Altieri, Chairman, CAP Board of Directors, Lt. Col Janon Ellis, CAP National Capital Wing vice commander, Lt Gen (Ret.) Judy Fedder and the Honorable Allison Silberberg, City of Alexandria Mayor. In addition, Libby's four children, nine grandchildren, and numerous family and friends attended the ceremony held at Greenspring's Hunters Crossing Conference Center.

"I appreciate and am grateful for this recognition, although I do not believe I deserve it," says Libby. "During those years no one knew how long the war would go on, but every American was united behind the government. We just knew the War had to be won."

On December 1, 1941, just one week before the Japanese attacked American forces at Pearl Harbor, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) was created under the jurisdiction of the Army Air Corps. Thousands of volunteers answered this call to service performing a variety of critical wartime missions including anti-submarine patrol and warfare, border patrols, and courier services.

During World War II CAP's coastal patrol flew 24 million miles, found 173 enemy U-boats, attacked 57, hit 10 and sank two, dropping a total of 83 bombs and depth charges throughout the conflict. By the end of the war, 64 CAP members had lost their lives in the line of duty.

An aviation enthusiast who first fell in love with flying on a 1934 trip to the airport at Lake Pontchartrain, La., Libby was a freshman at George Washington High School in Alexandria, Va. when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. She joined the Civil Air Patrol earning her sharpshooter badge and learning to send and receive Morse code.

"CAP provided an opportunity for cadets to serve the United States and help us achieve victory," says Colonel Altieri. "The cadets became role models for those who would come after them. No other country in the world had anything like CAP. It set the standard."


Photo: Surrounded by family, friends, and local dignitaries including Honorable Allison Silberberg, City of Alexandria Mayor, and Vivian Watts, delegate for Virginia's 39th district, Elizabeth "Libby" Haynes receives the Congressional Gold Medal.


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