August brings the start of school and as an academic dean, it is a busy time at the college. In August, I dropped in on a Kansas Wing conference call to congratulation Col Lahan on some excellent numbers in Recruiting and Retention. After attending the college’s Board of Trustees meeting in Iola, Kansas on Tuesday night, I flew to Nashville for the Annual Conference on the morning of the 10th. I observed part of the Board of Governors meeting on the afternoon of the 10th before meeting with the North Central Region wing commanders over dinner that night.
We accomplished a lot, and I appreciate all the hard work they are doing. I am truly blessed to have such a dedicated, hardworking team of wing commanders in NCR! The commanders continue to work on reporting, closing out SUIs, and closing reports of survey.

The national staff and Tennessee Wing did a great job with the conference that celebrated CAP’s 75th anniversary.
At the Command Council meeting early on the 11th, four wing commanders from North Central Region received their Command Council badges from MG Vazquez, and I received my Command Senior Advisory Group Badge. Congratulations to Colonels Garlough, Lahan, Small, and Steiner! After some kind remarks from Col Tyynismaa, CAP-USAF Commander, and Mr. Shubert, of the Pentagon, we had an update from the IG. The Command Council also listened to a welcome from Tennessee Lt Governor and auctioneer Ron Ramsey, updates from NHQ staff, and an update on CAPR 39-2 from MG Vazquez. Col Mark Smith, the SWR Commander, updated the group on the work of the Leadership Development Working Group that is revising professional development for several groups. I am leading the Squadron Commander group and Col John O’Neill is a small team lead on this project. Several teams on this project are making professional development better for region commanders, wing commanders, mid-career and staff officers, squadron commanders, and NCOs. The teams are working hard to make good products to better help our volunteers in the field. Later, four wing commanders spoke about their recruiting and retention success and two were from North Central Region. Col Linette Lahan, Kansas Wing, and Col James Garlough, Minnesota Wing, shared their lessons learned with other commanders. Great job Colonels Lahan and Garlough! I ended the day by attending my first CSAG meeting. The meeting was collaborative and informative. I am excited about the team of leaders I will have the privilege of working with over the next four years. That evening, everyone attended the opening reception sponsored by Textron Aviation. This was a great opportunity to chat with old friends, meet new friends, and get acquainted with people I had only met online before.

Friday morning the Commander’s Call to Prayer included sage words of wisdom from MER Commander Col John Knowles and Chaplain (Lt Col) Mark Lenneville of Missouri Wing. Chaplain (Col) John Murdoch shared his amazing voice when he sang at the Call to Prayer. Astronauts Hoot Gibson and Rhea Seddon charmed the audience with their stories from the space program. Hoot spoke to the general assembly and Dr. Seddon spoke and signed books at the Women’s Leadership Luncheon hosted by Middle Tennessee State University. It gave attendees the opportunity to hear words of wisdom from a woman who broke barriers and found success in her career and life. When I had a few minutes free, I stopped in at the history exhibit at the conference. As a historian, I am always ready for a good tour and I have a deep appreciation for the past. The team did a great job with the exhibit! A video produced by MSgt Scott Matthews, a former cadet and Spaatz Award recipient, celebrating our 75th Anniversary was viewed for the first time at the conference. The video is incredible and you can feel the impact it will have! You can see what it means to be a member of CAP on the faces and in the eyes of those in the video. One sees pride and determination to serve! Friday afternoon, my last stop of the day was at the Spaatz Association gathering. It was great to meet other Spaatzen, to see some again, and to hear about the great plans the group has for more engagement and support. Check out their new website at http://www.spaatz.org/ .

On Saturday morning, a brave few got up early for the 5K fun run/walk. BG Rich Anderson, former North Central Region Commander, joined the me, Col Linette Lahan, Lt Col Mark Lahan, and MSgt Charline O’Neill in the fitness walk. Thanks to Wendy Hamilton from NHQ for setting up the course! Later that morning, mission awards winners received their plaques. The following North Central Region individuals and Wings earned awards:

Lt Col James Brogan, Nebraska Wing Chief of Staff, Bronze Medal of Valor
Chaplain (Lt Col) Mark Lenneville, CAP Squadron Chaplain of the Year
Minnesota Wing, DDR Wing of the Year
Missouri Wing, Cadet Programs Mission Award
Minnesota Wing, Aerospace Mission Award
Minnesota Wing, Counterdrug and Homeland Security Mission Award
Missouri Wing, Disaster Relief Mission Award
North Dakota Wing, Search and Rescue Mission Award

Finally, I attended the National Cadet Advisory Council Meeting with C/Col Caleb Couture of Missouri Wing who serves as NCR’s representative to the national council. The NCAC did a great job sharing their accomplishments, ideas, and vision for next year. Well done, C/Col Couture! Saturday evening, everyone gathered for the banquet. I was inspired by Chaplain (Lt Col) Ivan Peacock, who I met at the banquet. Chaplain Peacock served as a missionary to Persia in his youth. He is 99 years old and still serving actively as a CAP chaplain. Thank you for your service, Chaplain Peacock! Sunday was a quick flight home to get ready for work.

I am pleased to congratulate Lt Col Jay Sliwinski of the Minnesota Wing on being named the commander of the 2017 Minnesota Wing Encampment. Col John Steiner, North Dakota Wing Commander, named Capt Michael Johnson as 2017 Joint Dakota Encampment Commander. Congratulations Lt Col Sliwinski and Capt Johnson—I look forward to seeing the good work you will do in these positions!

While we were busy at the conference, members of the wings were busy with missions. The Missouri and Minnesota Wings fielded teams on three searches. Iowa Wing fielded teams on a mission the following weekend. Good work to our teams on the following missions in August:

Missouri Wing, ELT, 15-M-0556
Minnesota Wing, ELT, 16-M-0565, find
Missouri Wing, ELT, 16-M-0567, find
Minnesota Wing, ELT, 16-M-0573, find
Iowa Wing, ELT, 16-M-0591, two finds
Kansas Wing, ELT, 16-M-0615, find

The week of the 15th was busy with conference calls. I spent time working with the command team and on an NCR staff conference call. We had great discussions on both calls which allowed me to provide an update from the National Conference and looked forward at our upcoming audits, budgeting, goal setting, planning, and small team meetings. Thanks for the great input on our calls! I also dropped in on the Minneosta Wing Group and Wing Commanders call to thank them for their work on vehicle reports (100% before the deadline), AEX participation, and closing out SUIs. The squadrons have been working diligently to meet expectations. Good work, Minnesota Wing! Iowa Wing also hosted a Region Cadet Leadership School in Harland the weekend of the 13th of August. Cadets from several wings as well as other regions attended the course. Sadly, I found out on the 20th that Minnesota Wing lost SM James Arnt of the Worthington Squadron in a tragic crop dusting accident. Our deepest condolences go to Minnesota Wing, the Worthington Squadron, and the Arnt family during this difficult time.

The week of the 22nd brought more calls as I phoned in for a board I am serving on, a meeting with the team leads on the Squadron Commander Professional Development Working Group, and the Leadership Development Working Group. I am always energized by the great ideas the team leads have for the project. A big thank you to Col Steve Kuddes, Col John O’Neill, and Lt Col James Peace for working on this important project! Friday found me on a flight to Denver to serve on a board for the weekend. I drove through a rainbow on the way to the airport, but it was not good luck. My flight was delayed by tornadoes in the area which made the weekend a long one.

The final week of the month flew by as I participated in calls with the staff, the small team leaders for the Leadership Development Working Group, and the Finance Committee. In the end, I am not sure where August went!

As this trajectory reaches its end point, I am excited about the good work we will accomplish together. We have a lot of work to do in the next month that will serve as the foundation of our activities and plans over the next year. I am excited to see the goals the staff are working on setting in their efforts to support the wings. I am also excited about the upcoming inventories. How can you be excited about audits, you might ask? As a region, NCR has been toward the end of the time period getting our inventories done in the last few years. This year, we are going to try to get all our inventories done by 30 November. Working together, this is a goal we can achieve! Let’s take advantage of this opportunity and make NCR one of the first regions to complete the upcoming inventories.

Finally, I am seeking everyone’s assistance in finding a motto for our region. Missouri Wing has “Show me excellence.” What should our NCR motto be? Send your ideas to me at raye@ncr.cap.gov . I’d like to have a new motto in place by 1 October.

Awards and Recognition:
Congratulations to Michael Decker of Missouri Wing who was recently promoted to lieutenant colonel and James Palmer of NCR who was recently promoted to captain.