Commander's Commentary

Over 700 members attended CAP’s National Conference in August at the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.  It was my privilege to represent the region at the conference and at the Board of Governor’s (BoG) meeting that preceded the CAP Command Council meetings.   I had the opportunity to see a number of you over the week, and I appreciated your warm welcome when I saw you.  Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be there.

National CAP Awards Presented to MER Members

A number of Middle East Region members (or former members) were recognized with awards for their service. 
These included:

  • Bronze Medal of Valor – Lt. Col. James Brogan
  • Distinguished Service Award – Col. Jay Lindler and Capt. Colleen McCormick
  • Exceptional Service Award – Lt. Col. Steven Solomon and Lt. Col. Paul Cianciolo
  • National Commander’s Commendation – Col. Michael Moyer

The following members received National “of the Year” Awards:

  • Character Development Instructor – Capt. Paula Towry
  • ICS Staff Member – Jay Lindler
  • Drug Demand Reduction – 2nd Lt. Victoria McLaughlin
  • Finance – Maj. Brendan Kearns

The following wings were recognized as the CAP Mission Award winners for MER:

  • Search and Rescue - Virginia Wing
  • Homeland Security / Counter Drug – NatCap Wing
  • Aerospace Education – North Carolina Wing
  • Disaster Relief – South Carolina Wing
  • Cadet Programs– North Carolina Wing

CAP’s COO Retiring
CAP’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Don Rowland, announced his retirement at the BoG meeting.  CAP’s Command Senior Advisory Group recognized him for his outstanding service to CAP with a Lifetime Membership to CAP. This is one of the highest honors a member can receive.  Thank you Donnie for your years of dedication to our Civil Air Patrol.

Additional Awards

On top of all of these accolades, the Air Force Northern Command/1st Air Force Commander's Award for the CAP outstanding mission of the past year was presented to the South Carolina Wing and the Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia Wings, as well as the Middle East Region Headquarters for their support to the October 2015 South Carolina “1000 Year” flood mission. The wing commanders and I accepted the award on behalf of all the Airmen who supported the mission.

Speaking of awards, my wife Teri and I were delighted to attend the presentation of Spaatz Award
# 2052 to C/Col. Emmy Hoyt of the Col. Mary Feik Composite Squadron in Maryland Wing.  Emmy will be a freshman at Purdue University in the fall studying astronautical engineering on a Navy ROTC scholarship.  She was presented the Spaatz award by retired NASA astronaut Dr. Mary Cleave.  Congratulations C/Col. Hoyt!

Celebration of CAP’s 75th Anniversary
As we approach CAP’s 75th birthday, there are a number of special activities, events and presentations around the country.  The Museum of the Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base has our anniversary banners on display, and restoration crews moved the Fairchild Model 24-C8F (UC-61J) into the WWII Gallery. Civil Air Patrol used this aircraft at Coastal Base 2, Rehoboth, Delaware, during WWII.   Scott Matthews, a Tennessee Wing member, a 1999 Spaatz cadet and Emmy Award winner for his video production work, created a 75th-anniversary tribute to CAP’s proud legacy, its missions and its members. The video debuted at the 2016 CAP National Conference. Please feel free to share it with friends and family, and on social media.

Free AFA Conference Admission
In celebration of CAP’s 75th anniversary, the Air Force Association has extended to all uniformed members of Civil Air Patrol complimentary admission to AFA’s 2016 Air, Space & Cyber Conference.  The event will be held September 19–21 at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel and Resort in National Harbor, Maryland.

In a letter extending the free admission, Denise Hollywood, AFA’s Executive Vice President, wrote, “We think allowing CAP members to attend at no cost during your special year of commemoration will allow them to participate in rich discussions on the Total Force, and to have a meaningful Air Force-centric professional development experience.” CAP members planning to attend the AFA conference should use access code CAP75 to register for the conference at no cost.

Air Force Presentation to CAP
Those attending the conference on Monday the 19th will be able to witness the presentation of a special 75th Anniversary painting by the legendary painter Rick Broome.  In 1973, Rick met a young cadet that was interested in his artwork. This meeting led to the creation of the Class Painting project. This prolific career started with the first class painting in 1974 "Dawn Patrol Solo". From there, almost every class since has commissioned Rick to create a unique painting capturing the history of each class.  Rick started his Air Force career as a CAP cadet in the 1950’s.  His painting, one of the MER’s aircraft flying an air defense mission over DC, will be presented to Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein.  Numbered signed lithographs of the painting will be available for purchase from Vanguard. 

Gen. Goldfein was sworn in as the 21st U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff on July 21, 2016.  He is a graduate of the Air Force Academy with more than 4,200 hours in multiple aircraft and drones.  He is the author of an excellent book, “Sharing Success - Owning Failure Preparing to Command in the 21st Century Air Force.”  I have used this as a guide myself and have shared it with a number of commanders over the last several years.  He published a letter to Airmen which I believe is on target for CAP, as well as the rest of the Total Force.  It is titled “The Beating Heart of the Air Force… Squadrons!”  

Improving Our Units by Improving Our Processes
Our national commander and the leaders of CAP over the last several years have also placed a major emphasis on improving how we work in our squadrons, for example, better training for our leaders of cadets and a working group on improving the training of squadron commanders, as well as wing and region commanders.  Understanding that the work of the Civil Air Patrol is done at the squadron, it is vital for our continued success to provide the tools for them to succeed.  We have been working to make it easier for you to be members by reducing paperwork and making our regulations easier to understand and simpler to follow. The review of every regulation in CAP is ongoing.  Several of you have been a part of the process which includes a “Napoleon Corporals” review of the proposed changes by the people who will be using them every day in the future.  It is exciting to be a part of today’s CAP, working to improve our organization.  Part of improving things is improving ourselves.  It is something that I try to do on a regular basis and I hope you take the opportunity to take a look at these publications. There are many parallels that can be drawn between the challenges of the AF and our own.  The first step in problem solving is identifying the problem.

No Borders, No Boundaries — We can almost always find a way to help our neighbors…
Following our motto of “No Borders, No Boundaries” our wings have supported several high profile missions in other regions.  We sent two aircraft to the Great Lakes Region to support NESA and the Republican convention, and we sent a tow plane to the North East Region (NER) to support their flight academy.  One of our wings is currently supporting Counter Drug missions in the NER as well.  All of these mission requests for help remind us that we are one Civil Air Patrol and it is vital that we work together as a part of the Total Force for the U.S. Air Force.  My experience has been we can almost always find a way to help our neighbors.  Sometimes it is a bit inconvenient but the spirit of volunteerism and professionalism displayed by our members to others in need is a hallmark of greatness.  Thank you to all of you that put volunteer service to others and excellence in all that you do at the top of your checklist.