On the 1 st of May, I attended the meeting at Topeka Eagle Composite Squadron. This was a special visit for me to the unit I was a member of as a cadet; it is always nice to come home! The unit meets in a new location but it still had a nostalgic feel. Col Linette Lahan and I joined Chaplain Scot Kerns for a cadet baptism. Members of the unit and the cadet’s family were present for this very special event.
Congratulations to Cadet William Willhite and thank you for allowing us to join you. I also met Lt William Patty, the new squadron commander of KS-035. He is a student in the online Unit Commander’s Course; it was great to put a face with a name! After the ceremony, we observed closing ceremonies at the unit, and I joined Chaplain Kerns and Col Lahan for a late dinner. We talked about CAP and upcoming activities.
May also began with me collaborating with my CSAG colleagues, including Col Ed Phelka, the Great Lakes Region Commander, on some projects with regulations and some items related to Cadet Programs. We have a great group of leaders on the CSAG and always enjoy working with my fellow region commanders on projects; I learn a lot from this insightful group.
On May 4th , I departed for Tennessee for the CSAG retreat. Major Duffy, a member of Tennessee Wing, kindly provided transportation from the airport to the retreat. I arrived at the same time as Col Jon Stokes, Col Tom Kettell, Col John Knowles, and CMSgt Frank Eldridge. After a short ride through the beautiful Smoky Mountains, we arrived at our destination. That afternoon we settled into our cabins before a family style meal in the evening. I shared a cabin with Angela Farris from Financial Management, who I was pleased to get to know over the weekend. We have some amazing staff at headquarters who work very hard to help us. The CSAG had a long agenda for our meeting on 5-6 May. In between serious business, we found time to learn more about two STEM kits. Each member of the CSAG was paired up with an employee from NHQ. We built the hydraulic scissor lift and learned to fly quadcopters for a competition to be held on Saturday. My partner for this was John Desmarais. Lucky for me, John is quite handy and we were able to assemble the scissor lift with few difficulties. I mistakenly released all the water from the system (twice) but John was very patient with me! We practiced our quadcopter flying as well. When the competition came around the next day, our scissor lift performed as expected. Unfortunately, I was not able to land the quadcopter on the scissor lift on the table but John did a good job getting it on the target on the floor. In the end, only a couple Top Guns managed to get the quadcopters landed on the table top target. One of the tasks the CSAG completed at the retreat was to choose the new at-large members of the Board of Governors and Col Brad Lynn and Col Dale Newell were selected. Congratulations gentlemen and good luck in your service on the BoG! We departed on May 7th for home after a very productive retreat. It’s amazing how much work can get done in a few days!
On May 20th , I ventured to Iowa to meet with Major Sue Grant to pick up some uniform items from her. It was cold and rainy. On the way back, I stopped at the Iowa Veteran’s Cemetery to see Rex Glasgow’s monument and say goodbye to an old friend. On the 21 st, we had a Navigating eServices webinar for the Online UCC. Students asked some great questions of facilitator Lt Col Beth Ryan. Beth did a great job showing them around eServices and WMIRs. Trips and tricks were shared. Students provided very positive feedback on the webinar.
I departed Kansas on the 25th for National Staff College at Maxwell AFB in Alabama, where I taught mentoring. Mentoring is a topic I am passionate about and I feel we do not implement it as well as we could in our organization. A solid mentoring program would help our senior retention and member fulfillment. Col Mark Smith, the SWR/CC, taught servant leadership at the school. I have enjoyed working with Col Smith as a member of the Leadership Development Working Group that is reworking CAP Professional Development. I very much enjoyed listening to Mark’s presentation and he was kind of enough to stay and support me in mine as well. We were privileged to hear remarks by Brigadier General Larry Myrick, CAP/CV and Major General Joseph Vazquez, CAP/CC as well. It would be an understatement to say the students enjoyed hearing the generals speak! Several members of North Central Region were present at NSC: Col Tom Theis, NCR/CV; Lt Col Roger Eaton, KS WG; Major Tom Martin and Major David Ellis, MO WG; Major Justin McDowell, ND WG; Major Ron Mutchler, IAWG/CV. Congrats to all the recent graduates! The staff at NSC is an all-star cast including Col Jane Davies, Col Lisa Robinson, Col Sheila Waldorf, Col Jean Desmarais, and Lt Col George Harrison. I met Lt Col Harrison for the first time. What an amazing individual and wonderful asset for CAP! While Mr. Harrison wears the grade of lieutenant colonel in CAP and is quite unassuming in his corporate uniform, it is very apparent he is more than that. One should always be on the lookout for talent in disguise and be good to all people. You never know what lurks beneath the surface you see! Mr. Harrison is a retired Air Force Brigadier General. He shared words of wisdom and thoughts on leadership with the group. Thanks for your thoughtful, insightful comments General Harrison! Ms. Bobbie Tourville from NHQ put in many hours of hard work to support the school as well. I always enjoy working with Bobbie on projects. She is a fellow Spaatz Award recipient and a top notch colleague! Thanks to the amazing staff at NSC who put on a great event for the students and were kind enough to invite me to teach. I returned from NSC on May 28th .
Several members of NCR were promoted to lieutenant colonel in May: Duncan Kiernes, SDWG; Thomas Schuurmans, NEWG; William Strandel, SDWG; and Timothy Willis, MOWG. Congratulations to all the new lieutenant colonels! Thank you to the NCR promotion board let by Col Tom Weston for their work in processing requests in a timely manner.
Col Tom Theis of NCR, Major Justin McDowell of ND WG, Major Thomas Martin of MO WG, Major David Ellis of MO WG, and Major Ron Mutchler of IA WG, earned the Gill Robb Wilson Award in May. Kudos to these officers who have completed the senior program! Like Spaatz Awards, Gill Robb Wilson Awards are individually numbered. This award is the pinnacle of professional development for senior officers.
North Central Region was busy in May with missions! Iowa Wing worked a fly in. Kansas Wing completed 17 transport missions for the American Red Cross, AFROTC orientation rides, and had 2 ELT searches that resulted in one find. Minnesota planned a group SAREX and had a check pilot course. Lt Col Wes McCullough flew up to join MN WG at the check pilot course. Missouri Wing had over 60 air and 15 ground sorties in support of disaster relief efforts due to flooding. North Dakota Wing conducted a missing person search that resulted in a find and a save. Nebraska Wing had their observed exercise.
South Dakota Wing conducted a SAREX and an ELT search that results in two finds! Kudos on job well done to all the teams who participated actively in our Emergency Services mission in May.
June is gearing up to be just as busy as April and May. In June I will visit the NCSAs in the region, Region Staff College in Fremont, Nebraska, and attend National Cadet Competition in Dayton, Ohio.