Lt Col John McGaha, Spaatz #666 (1963-2014)
Posted on April 25, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Curt LaFond
When a man dies at far too young an age, it's almost trite to say, "he was one of the finest men," but in the case of John McGaha, that's the plain truth. I knew John mostly through the National Cadet Competition. He'd attend every year, usually as the coach of the highly successful Diamond Flight Drill Team representing Delaware and Middle East Region, but even if his cadets weren't participating that year, or if he personally was sitting out from a leadership role, we'd nevertheless see John at NCC, ready to help, ready to encourage, ready to make the NCC program better. John's heart was always, unquestionably in the right place, so every interaction I had with him was positive and I'm certain others would say the same; his sole motivation was to support cadets. He never harbored a hidden agenda, and while he took the NCC program seriously, he knew that at bottom NCC is not about winning but about character. In the heat of the moment during NCC team leader meetings, if others were feeling the anxiety and frustrations that invariably go with the territory, John was the voice of reason, the man who never lost sight of the big picture. I cannot sing the man's praises highly enough. In 2008, CAP recognized John as our Senior Member of the Year, and after the banquet I recall members of the cadet community from all across the country happily and profusely congratulating John because he was all about service and not in the least interested in his own recognition. A great light has gone out. Sincere condolences to his many CAP friends across the nation, the cadets of Delaware Wing -- past and present -- who looked up to him, and most of all, his wife and three children who survive him. As they say in the tradition John and I shared, Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine; et lux perpetua luceat ei.
- Curt LaFond