Squadron 86 History
San Francisco Cadet Squadron 86 - "Excellence in Action!"
San Francisco Composite Flight 86 was created in August 1976. Within a few years it grew into a squadron and quickly focused on cadet programs, converting from a composite unit to a cadet squadron. Highly successful early on, Squadron 86 established itself as a training ground for quality cadet leaders who were involved in the California Wing Cadet Program. Never a large unit, Squadron 86 averaged 15 cadets at any given time over the years, with a high in the 1980s of about 35 cadets. The squadron focused on leadership training and aerospace education, and boasts many successful alumni who benefitted from their years as CAP Cadets. Membership fell in the first decade of the 21st Century, but rebound in 2015, and has stabilized at 15-20 active cadets. 2019 had increasing numbers of Squadron 86 cadets in leadership positions at wing activities; and on staff at ILP Schools, Cadet Programs Conference, and Encampment.
The Squadron started meeting in its early years at Presidio of San Francisco, but has been at the National Guard Armory near the San Francisco Zoo since 1985. In partnership with the 223d Military Intelligence Battalion (Linguist), the Squadron enjoys use of a secure and spacious facility, and the location allows us to take advantage of training space at Fort Funston and Lake Merced.
Today, the squadron's training focus remains on leadership and aerospace education, encouraging cadets to participate actively both at the Squadron and in Group and Wing activities. We also train on emergency services related skills, such as First Aid, Communications, and Ground Search and Rescue. The aerospace focus includes astronomy, the use of flight simulators focused on flying and navigation skills, and general aerospace knowledge aimed toward promotion testing. Squadron 86 emphasizes cadet hands-on learning and activities, with senior members providing advice and assistance.