I need to start out by thanking all those who were involved with conference this past month. Capt. Robin Haight did a magnificent job serving as our conference director. She worked very closely with Col. Jerry Weiss who had the lead from the region command staff on the conference. Although we had a bit of bad weather, the 125 members who came received some awesome training sessions. There were quite a number of staff that worked the meeting and I truly appreciate everything they did.
We were fortunate to have Maj. Gen. Mark Smith and CMSgt. Robert Dandridge, our national commander and national command chief in attendance. Gen. Smith gave us an update at the general session in the morning and shared an inspiring story on mentoring at the dinner. Chief Dandridge honored the Middle East Region by choosing to have his Assumption of Responsibility ceremony at our banquet. They are both inspiring leaders, and we were very fortunate to have them at the conference.
We awarded the 2018 Of the Year awards to the outstanding Airmen in the region who were nominated by you to recognize their service. The winners were:
- AE Teacher of the Year – Lt Col Ryan Jr, George W, MER-MD-085 -APOLLO I SENIOR SQUADRON
- AEO of the Year (Holm) – 1st Lt Zimmerman, Harold, MER-SC-805 – CAMDEN MILITARY ACADEMY CADET SQDN
- AFA AE Cadet of the Year – C/2dLt Petschk, Michael S., MER-MD-089 – ST MARYS COMPOSITE SQDN
- AFA Cadet of the Year – C/LtCol Fitzpatrick, Katherine L., MER-NC-153 – BOONE COMPOSITE SQDN
- AFSA Cadet NCO of the Year -C/SMSgt Kandiyeli, Christian A., MER-VA-095 – COASTAL COMPOSITE SQDN
- Brewer AE Award – Category I (Cadet) – C/LtCol Demyanovich, Julie M., MER-VA-102 – PRINCE WILLIAM COMPOSITE SQDN
- Brewer AE Award – Category II (SM) – Maj Dilley, Margaret T., MER-WV-099 – BECKLEY COMPOSITE SQDN
- Brewer AE Award – Category III (Non CAP Org-Ind) – Ms. Chase, Teresa.,
- Brewer AE Award – Category IV (Lifetime Achv.)- Lt Col McGovern, Lawrence E., MER-MD-089 – ST MARYS COMPOSITE SQDN
- Cadet Programs Officer of the Year (Sorenson) – Capt Sayers Jr, Roger D., MER-SC-014 – GREENVILLE COMPOSITE SQDN
- Character Development Instructor of the Year – Capt Davies, Antony B., MER-VA-002 – AUGUSTA COMPOSITE SQDN
- Communicator of the Year – Capt Litant, Thomas F., MER-VA-108 – FREDERICKSBURG COMPOSITE SQDN
- Counterdrug Officer of the Year (Edwards) – Lt Col Judy II, Richard L., MER-WV-060 – MORGANTOWN COMPOSITE SQDN
- DDR Member of the Year – Lt Col Dilley, Kenneth G., MER-WV-001 – WEST VIRGINIA WING HQ
- DDR Wing of the Year – West Virginia Wing
- Director of Finance of the Year – 1st Lt Bennett, Roger L., MER-WV-001 – WEST VIRGINIA WING HQ
- Ground Team of the Year (DeCamp) – Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron – MER-MD-071
- Historian of the Year (Hopper) – Capt Whang, Patrick Y., MER-MD-001 – MARYLAND WING HQ
- Incident Staff Member of the Year (Lewis) – Col Moore, Rodney A., MER-WV-001 – WEST VIRGINIA WING HQ
- Inspector General of the Year – Col Litt, Eric R., MER-VA-001 – VIRGINIA WING HQ
- Legislative Liaison of the Year (Texido) – Lt Col Dodrill, James A., MER-WV-001 – WEST VIRGINIA WING HQ
- Paul Turner Safety Award (Region SE Award) – West Virginia Wing – MER-WV-001
- Professional Development Officer of the Year – Lt Col Twyford, Catherine H., MER-DE-019 – COASTAL PATROL BASE 2 MEMORIAL COMPOSITE SQDN
- Property Manager of the Year – Lt Col Bailey, Christopher T., MER-NC-145 – FRANKLIN COUNTY COMPOSITE SQDN
- Public Affairs Officer of the Year (Payton) – Capt Raatjes, Alice L., MER-MD-001 – MARYLAND WING HQ
- Safety Officer of the Year – Capt Stephens, Corey O., MER-WV-020 – MARTINSBURG COMP. SQDN.
- Senior Chaplain of the Year – Lt Col Bobbey, David M., MER-NC-005 – GROUP 5
- Senior Member of the Year – Lt Col Reed, Brenda A., MER-MD-001 – MARYLAND WING HQ
- Squadron Chaplain of the Year – Capt Adkins, Jeffrey A., MER-WV-040 – PARKERSBURG COMPOSITE SQDN
In addition, the Cumberland Composite Squadron (MER-MD-065) was selected as the MER Squadron of Distinction. Their award was presented to the squadron in a surprise visit in early May by myself, Maryland Wing Commander Col. Joe Winter, Maryland Group 1 Commander Lt. Col. John Strong and Maryland Wing’s Vice Commander Lt. Col, John Henderson. Please join me in congratulating all the winners.
National Recognition – FEMA NRCC Support
Gen. Smith also presented several national awards to members of the Middle East Region for their efforts supporting the disaster relief missions for hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria. The NRCC was at Level I (highest alert level) for over 49 days. Some of our most senior officers served as Liaison’s to FEMA. In addition, a number of chaplains were activated to support the spiritual welfare of the staff at FEMA HQ at the request of FEMA leadership. Working 24 hours a day for months on end and coordinating support and help for local citizens who have lost everything is an environment ripe with stress.
These awards were based on the level of leadership and responsibility, as well as the amount of time given to support the missions:
- Distinguished Service Award – Col. Jerry Weiss and Col. John Knowles
- Exceptional Service Award – Col. Jim Covel; Col. Gene Egry; Col. Rick Moseley; Lt. Col. Rick Stuart and Lt. Col. Liz Sydow; Chap (Lt. Col.) Tim Miner; Chap (Lt. Col.) Mike Strickland and Chap (Maj.) Reginald Burgess
- Meritorious Service Award – Lt. Col. Wes LaPre; Lt. Col. Clay Wilkins and Maj. Nick Rushizky
- National Commanders Commendation – Col. Bruce Heinlein; Chap (Lt. Col.) Edco Bailey; Chap (Capt.) Madelyn Campbell; and Chap (Lt. Col.) Norman Wayne Byerly
Please join me in thanking these members for the dedicated service.
Safety – Aircrew Awareness
I’ve spoken often about the importance of a positive safety culture. This includes the concept of thinking “how am I going to accomplish this task,” keeping “accomplish this in a safe manner” in the forefront of your mind. We had a recent mishap in the region. An aircraft on landing had a flat tire. Further examination showed the valve stem had been sheared off the inner tube.
At first glance this is a — that explains why the tire went flat, if you cut of the valve stem, it loses all the air. However, I’d like to point out a couple unexplored factors that were probably contributory.
- First is the age of the tube versus the tire. The tire was replaced 2.7 hours before the flight; but the old tube was re-used. Whenever a tire is requested from NHQ, they also have a new tube sent. (I’m not sure if they procured the tire or if it was obtained locally, but in this case an old tube was used in a new tire.)
- The pilot, who flew two sorties with the aircraft (presumably the first sorties since the tire change) admits that he did not check the tire pressure with a gauge before flight … that goes against the POH and FAA guidance.
- The single most common cause of a sheared valve stem is low tire pressure, allowing the tire and tube to move on the wheel when it touches down. It’s impossible to look back and know if this aircraft chronically flew with low tire pressure, but that would point to additional wear on the valve stem.
I share this, not to throw anyone under the bus, but to take the opportunity to reinforce some tire (and POH) awareness in our aircrews and the need for our safety officers to have inquisitive minds and ask “why” something happened. Thanks for your help.
OPSEVAL – ARDENT SENTRY
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) leads national-level exercises every two years. National Level Exercise (NLE) 2018 will examine the ability of all levels of government, private industry, and nongovernmental organizations to protect against, respond to, and recover from a major Mid-Atlantic hurricane. The scenario involves a major hurricane that makes landfall near Hampton Roads, Virginia, causing severe damage to residences, businesses, and critical infrastructure throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria last fall reinforced our need to prepare for hurricanes.
The functional and full-scale portions of NLE 2018 occurred in the first two weeks of May 2018, focused on thematic areas identified from ongoing real-world continuous improvement efforts. A number of local, state, and federal exercises have been integrated into NLE 2018 which include: Atlantic Fury FEMA Region III (DC, VA, MD, PA, DE, WV), Vigilant Guard 18-3 (Virginia National Guard Bureau), Vigilant Guard 18-4 (Maryland National Guard Bureau), Eagle Horizon (FEMA National Continuity Programs), Clear Path (U.S. Department of Energy), Ardent Sentry (U.S. Northern Command), Citadel Gale/HURREX (U.S. Navy), Fifth District Hurricane Exercise (U.S. Coast Guard), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hurricane Exercise.
As part of our ATP working with Det 2 CAP-USAF, we took the opportunity to integrate the biennial OPSEVAL for NATCAP, Delaware and Maryland Wing into this NLE. NCWG and VAWG supported the NLE but were not part of this year’s evaluation.
I am pleased to share that our wings did a great job, receiving a grade of EFFECTIVE for the mission. Many members worked this mission, including some of the MER staff. In addition, a number of MER staff worked with DET 2 as part of the planning team. Col. Jerry Weiss led that effort for us.
Congratulations on a job well done!
I started the month meeting with the other region commanders, the national command staff and OPR’s from NHQ in Tennessee. We gathered for three days of meetings and some team building. We covered a lot of ground but some of the highlights are:
- The summer command council meeting will follow a similar format as the winter one. We will offer short presentations on “best practices” from various wings. There will be some topics selected for more in-depth briefings. The hope is to make the meeting more interactive and more interesting for the general membership.
- We got updates on the teams working on process improvements including aircrew professionalism; aircraft maintenance; aviation youth initiative; cadet in school programs; glider and powered aircraft; and the NCO program.
- Discussions on membership applications and waivers. Bottom line is no waivers will be issued for anyone convicted of a felony.
- Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) update
- Effort to be more inclusive, including a push to locate squadrons in the inner city or lower income rural areas.
Overall it was a very productive meeting, and we have an amazing staff serving to support all of you.
Anaheim – National Conference
It is still not too late to sign up to attend CAP’s Annual Conference August 23–25, 20018 https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/members/events/conference/ Dr. Heather A. Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force, will address national conference attendees at the banquet Saturday night about the vital role CAP plays in enabling the Air Force to fulfill its myriad of missions. The conference is at the Anaheim Marriott, near Disneyland so bring the family and make a vacation out of it!
There are pre-conference and conference training sessions to further your education and help you to be a better Airmen. I hope to see many of you there.
The Command Chief’s Corner
Chief Parsons and I are a team. We are working on ways to improve your experience and training and starting this month he will be sharing a few words on my monthly (scratch that ) our monthly commentary.
Take it away Chief –
Thank you Sir! As Col. Knowles said, we are a TEAM. We have different areas of leadership emphasis. The commander and the vice commanders focus on wing (unit) mission readiness, training and utilization across the region. Mission focused — UP AND OUT. The command chief’s focus is on individual/team readiness, standards, traditions, personal appearance and professionalism across the region. People focused – DOWN AND IN. As the senior NCO leader in the MER, I need to emphasize that CAP NCOs are NOT enlisted! We are valuable leaders who offer commanders at different leadership perspective that enables them to make better decisions for the unit.
But I need help! Just as Col. Knowles and I are a team, we want to afford all commanders within the MER a trained and qualified senior NCO leader to be the other half of the unit leadership team; focused on the senior & cadet membership, SUI readiness, professional standards (Professional Development, uniforms, drill, courtesies, etc.), unit history and traditions.
We are searching the region for our senior NCOs (SNCOs) “Hiding in Plain Sight!” Specifically, we need seasoned/experienced CAP Officers who were/are SNCOs in the military (E7 – E9). Ideal candidates are at least Level 2 (but preferably Level 3 and above); understand how to be a Senior NCO Advisor to a Commander, and how to inspire excellence within their organization. Interested or just want more information? You can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
In closing, I want to thank every member of the Middle East Region for being members in the Civil Air Patrol. Your selfless service to our organization and our nation make me so proud to be your command chief! As we celebrate Memorial Day and remember those who gave their lives for our Country, please remember our many CAP Airmen during WWII who went out on patrol and never returned. Surely, they gave their last measure of devotion to our country, just as those in the Armed Forces.
Since writing the first draft I received word from National Headquarters of the selection of at least two of our MER honorees as the national honoree. The national award recommendations come from the national OPR’s and the awards board so the announcements are somewhat staggered.
I did want to share the great news that at least two of our members will be receive the national level “of the year award. The first one is the Drug Demand Reduction Member of the Year – Lt Col Kenneth G. Dilley, West Virginia Wing. The second one, is one of the “big two” the Senior Member of the Year – Lt Col Brenda M. Reed, Maryland Wing. Please join me in congratulating these two great leaders in the MER.