October was the start of the 2018 fiscal year for the federal government and for Civil Air Patrol. While the government is under a continuing resolution for 2018 our funds from the Air Force are forwarded based on a quarterly basis. Funding is available but not the full amount found in the 2018 budget. For most of you the process is transparent but we do need to keep an eye on our budgets. If your missions are in WMIRS approve them on a month to month basis to allow for the funds to be allocated each month.
Although I took a week off for vacation in October, the pace of operations in the MER did not slow down. I appreciate Col. Heinlein covering for me as the acting region commander and for Col. Weiss and Col. Egry in helping to keep things running smoothly.
One of the more prominent missions we worked in October was support for the three hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria. The FEMA HQ – NRCC mission ran for 49 days, a record for CAP. As the CAP region that includes DC it fell to members of the MER to support this mission. Please join me in thanking the following for serving at the NRCC over the course of the mission:
- Jim Covel
- Jane Davies
- Gene Egry
- Bruce Heinlein
- Col. Wes LaPre
- Rick Mosely
- Nick Rushizky
- Dave Sterling
- Col. Rick Stuart
- Col. Liz Sydow
- Larry Trick
- Jerry Weiss
- Col. Clay Wilkins
The MER was contacted by the SER/CC to provide GA-8 aircraft and crews to support operations for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Following our motto of “no borders, no boundaries” we responded with our two GA-8 aircraft and crews to support them. This was a high-risk mission with crews flying across the ocean refueling in foreign countries to reach the island. Col. Dave Crawford, MER A3, working with Virginia Wing’s Col, Dean Gould and Maryland Wing’s Col. Joe Winter jumped into action and within 48 hours the first aircraft was on its way. Aircrews deployed for a minimum of a week, some longer, supporting the Hurricane Maria mission. Please join me in thanking the following Airmen who truly went above and beyond the call of duty:
- Col. Pete Loewenheim – Maryland Wing
- Col. Tony Vallillo – Maryland Wing
- Col. Dion Viventi – North Carolina Wing
- Col. Jeffery Van Etten – Virginia Wing
- Jeff Mauro – Virginia Wing
- Stephen Hertz – Virginia Wing
- 1st Richard Marko – Maryland Wing
- 1st Dan Baxter – Virginia Wing
- 1st Michael Heuss – Maryland Wing
- 1st Richard Qualls – Virginia Wing
Speaking of air operations, CAP for the second straight year exceeded 100,000 hours of flying in FY 17. http://www.cap.news/cap-exceeds-100000-fying-hours-for-2nd-straight-year/ . The MER was a major part of reaching this milestone. Our region was #1 with 221.6 hours per aircraft (62 of them). #2 was SER with 204.6 hours per aircraft. The region ranked third in total hours with 14,235.5 on our 62 aircraft. The SWR was #1 with 17,415 hours on 86 aircraft and the SER was #2 with 14,438.5 hours on 69 aircraft. Congratulations to all of you on a job well done.
75 Years of the Cadet Program
This quarters Volunteer magazine includes articles highlighting many former cadets who are still involved in CAP and supporting the cadet mission. There is a very nice article about our own Col Mike Moyer, the DEWG Commander. You should be getting in the mail but if you can’t wait, you can see it on line here http://www.cap.news/fall-2017.
Speaking of former cadets, Cadet Lt Hazen Ham, now SPC Ham of the US Army was selected as the Army Soldier of the Year at the Best Warrior Competition. You can see his story at https://twitter.com/USArmy/status/917786826261385216. SPC Ham served in the Orange County Composite Squadron of the North Carolina Wing. Our cadet program builds great Americans.
Another former cadet, Cadet Lt. Sam Shriner of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron, Maryland Wing, was selected to be an Army pilot in the Maryland Army National Guard. During his time in Civil Air Patrol he pursued his interest in flying, participated with color guard/drill team/ground team, and served on Tri-Wing Encampment cadet cadre. After high school, Shriner went on to Towson University where he is currently an Army ROTC cadet. As part of the Simultaneous Membership Program, he attends drill and other training with his National Guard Unit on top of his ROTC commitments. Congratulations on joining a long line of aviators.
West Virginia Wing Conference
October is also the start of the wing conference season for the MER and first up was the West Virginia Wing conference in Charleston, WV. It was a great weekend full of learning and celebrating the accomplishments of the Airmen of WVWG. Lt. Col. Connie Moody did her usual amazing job putting on the conference and Col. Paul McCrosky made all of us from the MER welcome. Col. Weiss, Col. Egry, Lt. Col. Phyllis Griffin, and Maj. Julie Holley attended the conference representing the MER. Thanks to them for making the trip and for sharing their knowledge and passion about CAP.
More on Former Cadets Who Are Leading by Example
Since we are celebrating the accomplishments of former CAP cadets I’d like to share a video that was produced by one of them. Former Cadet Col. Wayne Mowery, now Capt. Wayne “Astro” Mowery, USAF, got a shout out from the US Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein –
“#ICYMI, the 36th Fighter Squadron is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. The #FlyingFiends have been involved in every major air campaign in the Pacific, and they remain ready to protect our nation, its interests and our allies.
Godspeed to the Fabulous Flying Fiends. Here’s to another 100 years! Harrumph! #Airpower #FlyFightWin” This is a link to the video – https://www.facebook.com/51FWOsanAB/videos/1583660641689963/?hc_ref=ARQtT0K7sMAnu7a0i7bWzfZGRHl_9S9the1z-0UHotL7hWEaKt5phwZVrr4j24K7gWU . Cadets do amazing things.
Celebrating the Cadet Program Around the Region
I had the pleasure of attending the 6th annual dining out of the Charles County Composite Squadron. The commander, Maj. Dennis Chappell, welcomed me and gave me to opportunity to be the keynote speaker. My talk was about the history of the cadet program and I took the opportunity to highlight a couple of former cadets that I have known who have gone on to do great things. Lt. Col. Chris Howell and Lt. Col. John Henderson represented Col. Joe Winter. I enjoyed sharing and hope I did not put too many of the audience to sleep.
Teri Knowles and I finished the month with a wonderful evening celebrating the 75th anniversary of the cadet program with the North Carolina Wing. We really appreciated all the hard work by Col. Jason Bailey and the staff of the NCWG. It was great to see old friends including Col. Larry Ragland, Col. David E. Crawford, Lt. Col. Edward Angelovich, and Lt. Col. Lucy Davis who recently retired from her state of NC job coordinating CAP for the state. We had a great history lesson from Col. Frank Blazich and a great display by Lt. Col. Philip Saleet. Lt. Col. Dominick Strug shared his adventure from cadet to Air Force academy grad, to pilot. It was a special evening and I know the wing appreciated Col. Weiss and I (and Maj. Teri Knowles) making the flight down.
National Commander’s Video Series
Maj. Gen. Mark Smith has started a new program of video’s to support the program and to answer some questions you may have. They can be found here: https://www.capmembers.com/cap_national_hq/public_affairs/video/ Take some time to view them and continue back to the page as they roll out over time. Communicating with our members about the missions and the vision of CAP is vital to our continued success and growth.
The practice test for the 2017/2018 Civil Air Patrol Academic Bowl is open now! If your unit has high-school aged cadets who could use a leg-up to improve their SAT/ACT scores and learn more about the college admissions process, please consider hosting a JLAB team. The JROTC and CAP Academic Bowl (JLAB) helps high school students prepare for college. Using academic competitions, college exam study guides, college admissions tutorials, and personalized counseling, this program has assisted thousands of students to attain their dreams of attending college. The Leadership & Academic Bowl is hugely popular with JROTC, and now is available to CAP teams for just $50. https://www.capmembers.com/cadet_programs/activities/academic-bowl/
National Cadet Special Activities
EServices registration for winter national cadet special activities (NCSA): Civic Leadership Academy and National Character Leadership Symposium, is now open. Apply for CLA and/or NCLS before 15 Nov to be considered on-time and receive preference for primary status selection. You may submit applications after the cut-off date listed above, but it will be marked as “late” and considered after all on-time applications.
- CLA is for cadets interested in politics and careers in public service. Cadets participate in behind-the scenes tours and briefings at the Capitol, Supreme Court, State Department, Pentagon, CIA, FBI, Arlington, and more.
- NCLS is an activity sponsored by the USAF Academy that provides cadets the opportunity to engage in dialogue with visiting undergraduate university student leaders from across the country in seminars and discussions designated to enhance their own understanding of the importance and challenges of sound moral character and leadership.
Go here: http://ncsas.com/, to get more information about these two courses and other NCSA’s
Upcoming Middle East Region Events
We have several events coming up so keep an eye out in your emails and on the MER website for additional details. Things you should mark on your calendar include:
- Wreaths Across America – December 16, 2017
- National Legislative Day – March 1, 2018
- MER Cadet Competition – April 13-15, 2018
- MER SAR College – May 4-6, 2018
There is more to come, including the MER Conference which is planned for May 18 -20, 2018 in Virginia. Please mark these on your calendar. I hope to see you there.
It seems strange to be closing with some thoughts on Thanksgiving and I’m not sure where the time has gone. I will be completing my assignment as your commander on 1 October 2018 so this is my last chance at Thanksgiving to reflect on what I am thankful for as your commander. BLUF (bottom line up front) – it is you. We could not be the amazing organization that we are without all of you. You are probably tired of reading or hearing me talk about our unpaid professionals and the service you give to your communities, state and nation but I won’t ever tire of bragging about you. I was speaking with a service member recently who was learning about CAP.
During our discussion, I thanked him for his service but he stopped me and said it is I who should be thanking you. All the members of CAP serve without pay. We take on missions like disaster relief or search and rescue. We educate the citizens of our country about aerospace through outreach programs. Through the cadet program we train the future leaders of our country, some of whom make a difference before they even become an adult. I am equally thankful for your families. Every week you leave them to attend a meeting, a training class or mission, or to share your skills with others. They are home keeping things going and missing you. Please take the time to tell them I said thank you. I hope to see you around the region very soon.