Civil Air Patrol

March 2018

More Thoughts on Leadership

Col. John Knowles Commander,    Middle East Region

Continuing on my theme from last month, another good resource on leadership and management are publications like Forbes or the Harvard Business Review.  A recent Forbes article by Gary Bradt started out “A leader’s job is not to do anything. It is to make sure what needs to get done, gets done.” No doubt a couple of you are thinking – yep, that Knowles guy has the “do nothing” thing down pat but let me explain.  If as a leader you spend 50 hours a week doing a specific task, you get 50 hours of work.  However, if you spend your time leading 50 people and helping them get their job done, your 50 hours of effort yields 2,500 hours of work.  You are probably more familiar with this through the concept of delegation but leadership takes delegation to the next level.

As a leader, you not only task your team but you empower them and provide resources and support so they can do their jobs.  Your job is your people. You clear the roadblocks in their way and either answer their questions or find the person who can answer them.  When anyone asks me how I have been successful, one of my answers is I have always sought to be a jack of all trades.  In other words, I know a little about a lot of things, but I always know who to ask if I need details.  As a leader, sometimes you need to give your folks a pat on the back, sometime a little push in the right direction and occasionally a little kick in the seat.  Good leadership exponentially improves squadrons, groups and wings.

Squadron Visits

I had such a good time at Leesburg Composite Squadron, I went back the next week to attend the change of command.  Maj. Todd Parsons handed over command to Maj. David Thornton.  Following the change of command, I was honored to assist in frocking (the practice of pinning on a higher rank after selection for that grade but before the actual promotion date) of CMSgt Parsons as the new region command chief.  Col. Dean Gould, the Virginia Wing Commander, flew in for the ceremonies as well. Thanks to Maj. Parsons for all his hard work as the squadron commander and good luck to Maj. Thorton as he takes over command.

North Carolina Wing Conference

North Carolina wing celebrated the success of its members at its annual conference in Wilmington, North Carolina.  The wing commander, Col. Jason Baily, was joined by a record number of members from the wing for a weekend full of training, camaraderie and awards.  Teri and I had a great time meeting old friends and making some new ones.  Col. Bruce Heinlein, MER vice commander west, Col. Eugene Egry, MER chief of staff, joined also attended the events.  The dinner even included a ventriloquist who worked with several different dummies, including a really big one who got a few laughs from the crowd.  Congratulations to all the hard-working members of NCWG and thanks for the hospitality.

Winter Command Council

The month ended with the CAP Command Council coming together for Legislative Day and the wing command council meeting.  We have a very full agenda and I expect I will have a lot of things to report to you about the meetings in April.

Honoring an Old Friend

I close this month on a sad note.  Col. William “Ziggy” Bernfeld, former Delaware Wing Commander. Col. Bernfeld passed away on Monday, February 25th after a very protracted struggle with lung disease. Col. Bernfeld served as Delaware Wing Commander from 2011–2014.  He and I were wing commanders at the same time, and I have many fond memories of him.  Due to his health issues we often drove together to many meetings and events around the region.  We spent many hours getting to know each other and sharing stories.

Ziggy was a proud graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and he was commissioned through Army ROTC as a Second Lieutenant.  He served from 1972 to 2002, retiring from the Army Reserve as an O-6.  He worked as a CPA in New York, running his own firm.  He and his wife Cathey retired to Delaware.  While in New York, he was very active in the wing and served as a staff member in the North East Region Staff College.

One of the many items on his “to do” list in retirement was to serve as the director of a region staff college. He took on that job and served as the director of the MER Staff College from 2016–2017.   He also took on coordinating the region’s support to Wreaths Across America for Arlington National Cemetery and held that job from 2015–2016.  Following the 2017 MERSC,  he asked me to replace him as the director due to his health.  He offered to do whatever he could to support the school and was currently assigned to Middle East Region staff.

The MER had submitted an award package for Col. Bernfeld for his work for WAA.  Our hope had been to be able to present it to him at the region conference.  Instead we will present the Distinguished Service Award to his family to honor his life of service to our nation.

A visitation will be held on Saturday, March 10, 2018 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Faries Funeral Chapel, located at 29 South Main Street in Smyrna, DE. Memorial services will begin at 12 p.m. Burial will be held in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. Visitation at the Faries Funeral Home  will be from 11:00 a.m. to noon on March 10, 2018. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to the USO in support of military members and their families.

I ask that you keep his wife Cathy and the entire Bernfeld family in your thoughts and prayers. As additional information regarding services becomes available, we will share it.

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