Commander's Commentary

It is hard to believe that July is over. It seems like we celebrated Independence Day last week. I know that I have been very busy helping make the Middle East Region the best region in CAP and as I travel around the region and talk to our members I can tell that you all are doing your part.

The month started out with 24 cadets finishing up the MER Powered Flight Academy. Ten cadets soloed and six more earned their pre-solo wings. This is an amazing accomplishment for these cadets which could not have been accomplished without a tremendous amount of work on the staffs' part. Thank you to all the staff from the flight instructors to admin folks. It takes an FBO (village) to build (raise) a pilot (child).

 

Teri and I enjoyed attending the Tri-Wing Encampment dining out. We were able to follow the rules of the mess and avoided a trip to the grog bowl. It was a great turnout that included Mr. Tom Shubert, ‎Assistant Deputy for AF Auxiliary, Education and Development Programs, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Brig. Gen. Scott Kelly, Asst. Adjutant General for Air for Maryland, Col, Michael D. Tyynismaa, Commander CAP-USAF, and a number of MER staff and MD/DC/DE wing commanders and staff. All of us turned out to join you in celebrating your accomplishments and thanking the staff for making it all possible.

I was honored to help present the Congressional Gold Medal for Charles A. Bauserman to his son Gilbert at Maryland Airport on the 6th and then present one to the family of Maj. Rudy Fratterrigo, a long time member of Virginia Wing on the 7th. The organizers did an amazing job and it was a privilege to represent our national commander at these events.  We stand on the shoulders of giants.

The region held two Region Cadet Leadership Schools (RCLS) this past month. Our amazing cadet programs team led by Lt. Col. Dan Brodsky, a former cadet, staffed schools at Seymour-Johnson AFB in North Carolina, (Maj. Cheryl Fielitz-Scarbrough, director) and a week later at JB Langley Eustis in Virginia. I was able to fly down to RCLS(South) with Lt. Col. Kevin Hubbard, USAF and Mr. Ed Gelzinis from Det 2, CAP-USAF (MERL) and meet the cadets and help hand out the graduation certificates. Meeting with cadets and talking about leadership is one of my favorite pastimes.

I closed out the month spending a couple of days teaching at the US Air Force Civil Engineering Academy, an Air Force familiarization course for cadets at Tyndall AFB in Florida. I helped develop this NCSA to introduce cadets into the construction and civil engineering career fields and I try to return and share some of my experiences with them. Being around so many amazing cadets really helps remind me what a great organization we belong to.

This past month the region staff and your wing commanders worked on developing strategic goals to support the national strategic plan for 2016-2020. This plan includes a focus on making membership more rewarding and less frustrating. We have already begun to see part of the overall strategy with changes in reporting requirements and training. There is some work ahead for the leadership of CAP but if we do our job right we will be a stronger organization.

The National Strategic Plan Priorities are:

            • Reinvigorate our Total Force relationship with our United States Air Force and enhance their mission accomplishment as a cost effective force multiplier.
            • Increase our presence in local communities and expand our portfolio to incorporate new missions for which we are ideally suited
            • Enhance the effectiveness of CAP members.
            • Promote CAP's recognition as a leader in Aerospace Education and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education
            • Recognize the value and talent of each CAP member and enhance the fulfillment of the CAP experience
            • Develop CAP's organizational as well as functional leaders, from cadet to CEO
            • Sustain institutional excellence.

We are developing strategies to meet these goals at the region and wing level. We all have a part to play in meeting them. Stop and ask yourself -What part can I play?

I hope to see many of you at the National Conference in Orlando later this month. There are a lot of workshops and activities scheduled for all of us to learn from. We will also be recognizing our national level "of the year" award winners. Please feel free to introduce yourselves if you run into me.

The MER website - https://mer.cap.gov/ has the latest information on upcoming events at the top of the page. Currently there is information on the CAP National Conference, the JB Andrews air show (with signups to help) and the 2016 MER Conference (we are planning this one way ahead!). I encourage you to look here at the MER calendar to find out what is going on around the region.

Finally I wanted to give an update on the recruiting contest I introduced last month. As a reminder , the winner (s) will be my guest at the 2016 MER conference and will be recognized for their outstanding service. So far .....

Name                                CAPID   Unit       New Recruits

Gore, Daniel Austin          534038  NC-050               3

Anthony, John                  545978  WV-099              3

Bly, Thomas K                 441509  NC-050               4

Coburn, Amelia L             556010  NC-050               5

Keep up the good work!

 

JOHN M. KNOWLES, Colonel, CAP
Commander
Civil Air Patrol