Y2K was an interesting experience. Aside from a few cellular phone disruptions, everything went well and was festive. I had played a gig near Freer, Texas with a friend of mine, Ralph Cuellar. That, as you know, was the last night of the 20th Century and everyone was ready to have a good time. I was, until we came back from Freer. I thought I would change into BDU's in order to handle some $100 worth of fireworks. This meant I would have to go home to Premont, change and then drive to my Grandfather's ranch. This plan was followed up to the point I had to drive the 5 miles to the ranch. Remember that the trip had been pretty routine all the way to and from Freer, Texas. On that short trip, I hit a large dog that was standing in the middle of the road as if it could not be killed. Well, it completely miscalculated. The dog was dead, my new car was ruined and my night was destroyed. How could something like that have happened?
As I entered the ranch (with my car's fiberglass facade in pieces) I tried to recover from that evil that had robbed me of what should have been the happiest night ever. We threw some meat on the pit and listened as the 21st century came all over the United States of America. Norma, my parents, my brother and myself then popped some bottle rockets on our ranch, heeding all possible fire safety and model rocketry guidelines (yeah right).
The new century rolled into Premont, Texas with a heavy fog. It was the thickest fog any of us had ever seen. We laughed to ourselves because we were still living. Didn't we know that the world had ended? I'm sure every doomsayer that evening was either drunk or getting that way. The new century had arrived and we were all, no matter how much we had wished we weren't, alive.
2Lt. J.D. Soliz, 2Lt. J.E. Carrales and 1Lt. J. F. Arredondo
January 2000 would be a great year for us all. As the days passed, and we attended more meetings. We began to have more function in our Civil Air Patrol unit. Major Arizpe had told us in November 1999 that they had planned a Squadron Leadership School (SLS) for some time in this new century. When we heard that Group III/Texas Wing was going to have it in Corpus Christi, Texas, we jumped at the chance. So, my cousin, 2Lt. Joe David Soliz, CAP and I attended an SLS in Corpus Christi, Texas on January 28, 2000. We had a great time meeting with members from our Group. There we saw our friends from Brownsville; Captain Bujanos, now 1Lt. Juan Arredondo and Major Arizpe. We learned many things about how the squadron is run and I gave a mock briefing to test one of the skills we had reviewed. It was a long weekend, but we did it. From that weekend on, we felt that there was stability never before felt in Group III. Brownsville, Corpus and Victoria seemed to be working in complete harmony. All was well, until...
A Change of Command ceremony was held on 19 February 2000 to install the new commander of Group III of the Texas Wing as well as new commanders from the Brownsville Composite Squadron (B-CAP) and the Corpus Christi Composite Squadron (CC-CAP). Lt. Col. Mucio Garza, CAP was installed as the new Group commander. Lt. Col. Garza has served with distinction as the CC-CAP squadron commander for nearly 9 years. In his non-CAP life Lt. Col. Garza is a registered engineer and Water Production Superintendent in charge of Water Production for the City of Corpus Christi. Assuming command of B-CAP is former Brownsville Cadet officer 2Lt. Ariel Merrell, CAP and for CC-CAP former Hawaii Wing member Mario Reyes, CAP.
I was appointed Group III Public Affairs Officer by Lt. Col. Garza on 19 February 2000 where I publish our Group's newsletter, Through the Air, Over South Texas . This newsletter is part of my plan to revive the CAP Public Affairs Program in South Texas. The First Issue was for March 2000 and covered a few events and promotions. It was one page, front and back. From the most humble seeds grow the world's tallest trees. With that fact in mind, I continue to publish.