Colonel John M. Knowles assumed command of the Middle East Region of Civil Air Patrol on October 1st, 2014.  He has the responsibility of leading the 7,000 members in seven wings of the region (Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, DC, and West Virginia).  He serves on the CAP Senior Advisory Group (CSAG), providing advice to the national commander on strategic issues.  He is concurrently assigned as a liaison to the FEMA National Resource Coordination Center in Washington, DC.  He ensures that the wings within his region remain compliant and mission ready to perform the three primary missions of Emergency Service, Cadet Programs and Aerospace Education.


Colonel Knowles was born at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, the son of a U.S. Naval Officer. He is a former CAP cadet who completed the cadet program, finishing with the Ira C. Eaker Award. He attended Montgomery College, graduating with honors, and the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was a member of Detachment 330 USAF ROTC.  He holds an Associates and Bachelors Degree in Education.  He completed his MBA from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland with a concentration in Organizational Behavior and Labor Relations.   


He has held command positions at the squadron, group and wing level and numerous other staff assignments. He is a rated Ground Team Leader, Mission Observer, and Incident Commander with thousands of mission sorties.  He served as the Director of the Middle East Region Staff College. He served on the staff of the Civic Leadership Academy and was the founding Director of the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineering Academy. He holds master ratings in Command, Operations, Cadet Programs, Aerospace Education, Professional Development, Emergency Services, and a senior rating in Safety. 


He is employed by the Clark Construction Group, one of the largest construction companies in the United States, as a Vice President for Operations leading Clark Logistics, the company’s equipment and non-contract purchasing group.  He holds an STS certificate in safety. 


He has been married to Teri Hanna Knowles for 32 years; they have three adult children and reside in Ashton, Maryland.



1992 Corporate Learning Course, Maryland Wing, Ft. Meade. Md.

1993 Squadron Leadership School, Maryland Wing, Ft. Meade, Md.

1997 Region Staff College, Middle East Region, Peace College, N.C.

2000 USAF Inland SAR School, Class 00-07, USCG TRACEN, Yorktown, Va.

2001 National Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2002 Unit Commanders Course, Maryland Wing, Maryland Wing HQ, Glen Burnie, Md.

2011 Wing/Region Commanders Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2012 Basic Inland SAR Management Course (AFRCC), MEMA HQ, Reisterstown, Md.



1. 1978-1980, Cadet Commander, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron, Maryland Wing

2. 1980-1982, Aerospace Education Officer, Operations Officer, Ground Team Commander,
    Military Education Officer, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron, Maryland Wing

3. 1982-1983, Executive Officer, Bethesda Chevy-Chase Composite Squadron, Maryland Wing

4. 1983-1985, Deputy Commander, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron, Maryland Wing

5. 1985-1987, Unassigned while attending graduate school

6. 1988-2002, Acting Squadron Commander (1989 and 1996), Deputy Commander, Ground Team
    Leader, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron, Maryland Wing

7. 2003-2009, Director/Deputy Director, Middle East Region Staff College

8. 2002-2006, Commander, Group IV, Group I, Maryland Wing

9. 2006-2010, Vice Commander, Maryland Wing

10. 2010-2014, Commander, Maryland Wing

11. 2012-present, Liaison Officer, FEMA National Resource Coordination Center

12. April 2014-October 2014, Coordinator, National Guard/Reserve Forces (CAP/NGRFC)

13. October 2014-present, Commander, Middle East Region


MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS                                            

Distinguished Service Award                                                

Exceptional Service Award with four clasps                         

Meritorious Service Award with two clasps                          

Commander’s Commendation with eight clasps                               

CAP Achievement Award                                                                 

Certificate of Recognition for Lifesaving with star              

Unit Citation with seven clasps                                                         

Red Service Ribbon (40 year)                                                            

Rescue Find with three clasps                                                           

Counter Drug with one clasp 

Disaster Relief with V-device and four clasps

Homeland Security Ribbon with one clasp

Maryland Distinguished Service Cross (State Military Award)

2009 Maryland Wing Senior Member of the Year

2009 Middle East Region Senior Member of the Year

2008 Middle East Region Frank Brewer Aerospace Award



2009 Purchasing Executive of the Year, Greater Los Angles African-American Chamber of

2006 Saint George Medal by the Boy Scouts of America in recognition of service to youth

2005 Six-Sigma Greenbelt Certification (Brand Scaffold)

2005 Archdiocese of Washington Order of Merit, awarded from Cardinal Theodore McKerrick

1974 Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America



Second Lieutenant (waived Earhart Award)

First Lieutenant June 4, 1980

Captain December 3, 1984

Major April 18, 1994

Lieutenant Colonel April 21, 1998

Colonel April 24, 2010

(Current as of October 1, 2014)