February was a light travel month related to Civil Air Patrol and another heavy phone conference month. My first call of the month was with the Leadership Development Working Group on the 2nd. Each group provided a progress update. The team I lead was finishing development of the Just-In-Time Unit Commander Guide. We think it will be a great tool for all new commanders. We gathered some feedback on it at an onsite UCC and it was well received. Thanks to all who contributed!

I had a webex on the 9th for the pilot of the online Unit Commander’s Course. Current and future commanders in the class learned about Customs & Courtesies and protocol from NCR NCO Advisor SMSgt Mike Mudry. As you know, if you are lucky enough to have one of the just over 100 NCOs in CAP in your unit, our NCO Corps is a great resource in this vital area. They can offer sage advice in many other areas as well but tend to be experts in the wear of the uniform, customs, and courtesies. It is never a bad idea for commanders to brush up on their customs and courtesies. Other members notice how well we do these things and it impacts our command presence/credibility. While there is no bad time for a review, the spring is an excellent time because we are often handing out awards and doing promotions in front of a group. Pull out CAPP 60-20 Drill and Ceremonies to review the items you will need to accomplish. If you have questions, ask someone who is knowledgeable like an NCO, a former military member, or even an experienced cadet. Your cadets would love to demonstrate a drill item for you. You don’t have to tell them why. They will be excited you are interested! Practice handing out some awards so that you can smoothly accomplish this task as well. Similarly, now is a great time to pull out CAPM 39-1 CAP Uniform Manual and review the rules for the combinations you wear most often. Remember, a commander has to show members how to do things right. Uniform violations reflect poorly upon the individual, the unit, and CAP.

On the 12th, I hosted another webinar for the pilot of the online Unit Commander’s Course. For this session, Lt Col Beth Ryan from Oklahoma Wing presented eServices and WMIRS. Students had lots of good questions. Many thanks to Lt Col Ryan for joining us. The eServices and WMIRS systems are amazing resources. Being familiar with these tools can help all members be successful in CAP. I often get calls from commanders or staff who are trying to find a report or other feature in eServices and I walk them through the process. The more we use these valuable tools, the more familiar we become with them.

On 18 February, I talked to the North Central Region Cadet Advisory Council Chair. Cadet Advisory Council is a great experience and I remember my years both on and working with the council fondly; however, we often struggle to get cadets to participate. CAC is like the Student Council of CAP. CACs should be advising their commanders on Cadet Program matters. I am proud to say that over the years, North Central Region has had a particularly strong CAC. Why did I need to speak with the chair? The National Cadet Advisory Council meets with the Command Senior Advisory Group at each Command Council Meeting to go over the good work the cadets have done since the last session. Before each Command Council meeting, C/Lt Col Joshua Klosterman and I chat about our perspectives on the region, its strengths, it weaknesses, projects, etc. I always enjoy working with the Region CAC Chair and C/Lt Col Klosterman is no exception. He is a bright young man and it is a pleasure to sit next to him when he represents NCR at meetings. Thank you to C/Lt Col Klosterman and all the members of the NCR CAC for their great work this year!

The Finance Committee met on the 20th. We completed the normal tasks such as reviewing the budget and we talked about funds for the NCR Conference that will be held in Bellevue, NE in late March. NCR will be paying for the snacks for the meet and greet social on Friday night as part of our contribution to the conference costs. I hope to see many of you in Bellevue. I had a CSAG call on the 21st. The call was mainly preparation for our upcoming meeting in Washington DC. I hosted another webex on the 22nd for the UCC. Mr. George Vogt, CAP/SE joined me for the event. Students were very engaged and said it was one of the best sections of the course. The students learned a lot about risk management and safety. Many thanks to Mr. Vogt for joining us after hours to present on this very important topic! I participated in another call for the LDWG on the 23rd.

I taught at a TLC Basic course on the 25th in Lee’s Summit. 1st Lt Julianne Dresser was a gracious host and Col John O’Neill was the director for the weekend activities. I was joined by Col Erica Williams (NCR DCS PD), Col Dave Winters (NCR DCS CP), Col Linette Lahan (KS WG/CC), Lt Col Mark Lahan, SMSgt Mike Mudry (NCR NCO Advisor) and others. The TLC class was filled with enthusiastic members who want to work with our cadets. It was refreshing and very enjoyable to teach this motivated group of members! I ran over my time by about ten minutes but they were doing such a good job on the exercise I didn’t feel I could stop them! Luckily, one benefit of being the region commander is that people tend to give you a little leeway. Our expert team of instructors just adjusted slightly for my overage. The same day, I taught the Commander’s Dashboard, Communication’s Fundamentals, and Leadership Fundamentals at the UCC. The following day I also taught at the UCC covering Finance Fundamentals, Communication’s Fundamentals Part 2, and Developing Our Members. It was a great experience working with this highly motivated group of CAP leaders.

I had a call with Col Mark Smith on the 27th. We talked about how to tweak the new UCC materials based on student feedback. We also talked about the update he would give on our groups work at the Command Council meeting in March in Washington, DC.

As I said earlier, it was a heavy phone call month and a slower travel month. Winters can be pretty harsh in the Midwest, although they have not been this year. Wings tend to plan fewer activities. Generally, I plan on being busy 3 weekends out of four in most months. Since I took command on 28 May 2016, I have had over 600 CAP related phone calls and travelled to about 30 events.

The Annual of the Year Awards were submitted by the wings. We had over 70 submissions this year! Thanks to the wings for nominating their members and to the board for reviewing all those applications and choosing the best members/units in each category. The following personnel will be honored with awards from NCR and nominations will be forwarded to NHQ for competition at the national level:

AFSA Cadet NCO of the Year: C/SMSt Austin Hermanson, Iowa Wing
Cadet of the Year: C/Lt Col Kole Tilson, Missouri Wing
Character Development Officer of the Year: Capt Sylvia Small, South Dakota Wing
Col (Bud) Payton PAO of the Year Award: 1st Lt Soni Cochran, Nebraska Wing
Communicator of the Year, Capt Harold (Steve) Vogt, Missouri Wing
DDR Member of the Year: C/1st Lt Lydia Chanski, Minnesota Wing
DDR Wing of the Year: Minnesota Wing
Director of Finance of the Year: Maj Raymond Phillips, Minnesota Wing
Ed Lewis Incident Staff Member of the Year: 155 Composite Squadron, Nebraska Wing
Frank Brewer Memorial Aerospace Award (Cadet): C/Maj Luke Young, Missouri Wing
Frank Brewer Memorial Aerospace Award (Senior): Maj Ernest Trumbly, Missouri Wing
George Texido Legislative Officer of the Year: Col Kevin Sliwinski, Minnesota Wing
Col Dion DeCamp Ground Team of the Year: Fremont Cadet Squadron, Nebraska Wing
Historian of the Year: 1st Lt Dorothy McKinley, Minnesota Wing
Jack Sorenson Cadet Programs Officer of the Year: Maj John Pineda, Nebraska Wing
Major General Jeanne M. Holm AE Officer of the Year: 2d Lt Glenn Tedesco, Minnesota Wing
Norm Edwards Counterdrug Officer of the Year: Lt Col Marcel Kobberdahl, Minnesota Wing
Professional Development Officer of the Year: Lt Col David Ellis, Missouri Wing
Property Management Officer of the Year: Maj David Proctor, Nebraska Wing
Safety Officer of the Year: Lt Col James Kuddes, Nebraska Wing
Senior Member of the Year: Lt Col Marcel Kobberdahl, Minnesota Wing
Squadron Chaplain of the Year: Maj Chester Strobel, Kansas Wing
Senior Chaplain of the Year: Lt Col Leonard Hale, Missouri Wing
Paul W. Turner Safety Award: South Dakota Wing
Squadron of Distinction: NCR-MO-018 Central Missouri Composite Squadron, Missouri Wing
North Central Region Family of the Year: The Klosterman Family, South Dakota Wing

The region has been busy with Operations and flying. Iowa Wing, Kansas Wing, and South Dakota Wing flew AFROTC orientation rides in our aircraft. Kansas Wing completed 12 ARC missions in February. Minnesota Wing, Missouri Wing, and North Dakota Wing all had ELT missions and finds in February. South Dakota Wing also focused on flying their legislators.

Congratulations to William DiMarsico of MO-102, Marcel Kobberdahl of MN-012, on being promoted to Lt Col.