My first few months as your region commander have flown by at an alarming rate. I enjoy meeting the amazing volunteers of the North Central Region and learning about all the good work you do as I travel to events. I may be biased but I think that NCR has some of the finest volunteer Airmen in the nation. I am inspired by the members I have met on my travels!
Let me recap my experiences in this new commentary called “Command Trajectory.” I want to thank Major Daren Jaeger of Kansas Wing for his assistance with the title. Why did I choose trajectory as the name? One reason is that it has an aerospace connection and that is one of our missions. Second, according to Wikipedia, a trajectory is, “the path that a moving object follows through space as a function of time.” What better way to describe the path I take on my journey as commander? Finally, a trajectory is about where we are and where we want to be. The plan is for new “Command Trajectory” columns to appear on the website shortly after the first of each month.
The change of command on 28 May in Wichita, KS was very meaningful for me. Twenty-five years before, I had received Kansas Wing Cadet of the Year Honors from Col Rich Anderson at a Kansas Wing Conference in Wichita. BG Larry Myrick conducted the change of command and it was both special and humbling. There was a May special on change of command in NCR—it was two for the price of one. On the same evening, Col Linette Lahan took command of the Kansas Wing, and we wish her the best in her new command.
Among the other events at the conference, BG Myrick presented a Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) to Josephine Maxwell Barkley, who lives in Ottawa, Kansas. Josephine served as a CAP cadet during World War II. We were joined by her family for a ceremony that would give anyone goosebumps; you could literally feel the emotion in the air! If you have the opportunity to attend a CGM ceremony, I highly recommend it because it is an amazing experience. The NCR CAC also hosted a forum and several events for cadets attending the Kansas Wing Conference. Congratulations on a job well done to C/Col Couture and his team; they did a great job planning and conducting the event! Based on lessons learned by crashing some quadcopters at the CSAG retreat in late April, BG Myrick and I also took advantage of some quadcopter flying lessons. I was taught by remote control expert and Missouri Wing Commander Col John O’Neill. Thanks for your patience, Col O’Neill!
The first weekend in June, I was on the road to Pierre, South Dakota with Col Rick Franz for the South Dakota Wing Conference. Col Franz, having stepped down after a successful term as Kansas Wing Commander the previous weekend, joined the region staff as Deputy Chief of Staff for Cadet Programs. South Dakota Wing put on a great conference. On Saturday, Col John Seten, who earned a Distinguished Service Award, stepped down after four years as wing commander and I was honored to promote Major David Small to the grade of colonel as he began his term as commander. Thanks to Col Seten on a job well done and good luck to Col Small as his wing commander journey begins! BG Myrick also attended the South Dakota Wing Conference where he participated in an open forum and ate breakfast with the CAC. Lt Col Myrick accompanied him; thanks to both of them for joining us! While at the South Dakota Wing Conference, I was inspired by Lt Col Lois Schmidt who earned the Congressional Gold Medal for her service in CAP and is still active in the South Dakota Wing. I was also able to present Chap (Lt Col) Gary Rae with the NCR Squadron Chaplain of the Year Award and Major Lee Vaughn with the NCR Frank G. Brewer Lifetime Achievement Award. Both are amazing members whose dedication to CAP is humbling. South Dakota Wing finished off the conference by going into “mission mode” when AFRCC tasked them with a missing person search during Col Small’s first commander’s call. Col Small and his team handled the change with grace and professionalism. Thank you to South Dakota Wing for the hospitality and a great event!
The next weekend in June, I drove to Independence, Kansas to welcome cadets and seniors attending the Aircraft Manufacturing and Maintenance Academy. Kudos to Lt Col Rick Woolfolk and his amazing staff on planning a wonderful activity. It was easy to see that cadets and senior officers alike were going to have a great event and learn a lot. I ate dinner with the cadets and we played miniature golf as an ice breaker. We also took a ride on an antique carousel in the local park. The carousel played the Air Force song! I was inspired by the dedication of those at the activity such as C/CMSgt Gregg Stein. Thank you for your hospitality, AMMA!
The third weekend in June found me back in Wichita, Kansas to celebrate Col George Boyd’s 90th birthday. Col Boyd, a former Kansas Wing Commander, holds the distinction of having two Congressional Gold Medals. One he earned as a Tuskegee Airman and one as a member of Civil Air Patrol. It was an evening filled with reminiscing, laughter, good food, and friendship. Col Boyd appointed me as commander of the 77th Composite Squadron in Emporia, Kansas in 2001. He has served as a mentor and friend ever since. Thank you for your service and support, Col Boyd!
I finished up the last weekend in June by joining the Missouri Wing for the graded OPSEVAL at Fort Leonard Wood. It was great to see nine CAP aircraft lined up on the flight line waiting to go out on sorties. Missouri Wing certainly lived up to their motto of, “Show me excellence.” The team earned a ‘highly successful’ overall and several members including the IC and PIO also earned recognition. The Missouri Wing incorporated more outside entities into their exercise than I have seen before. The team of outside groups they worked with included Fort Leonard Wood public affairs, the National Weather Service, and an Army Civil Support Team. Thank you for your hard work and impressive efforts, Missouri Wing!
I dropped by my first command, the 77th Composite Squadron, on June 28th to see the change of command. To say the least, the unit was surprised to see me! I had an ulterior motive, however. Col Linette Lahan, the Kansas Wing Commander, and I had planned a surprise that evening. My old cadet colleague Major Jon Holder, who had served on the region communications staff for several years, was very surprised when I promoted him before the change of command ceremony. Good luck in your new position, Lt Col Holder!
While I traveled a lot in June, I was not able to visit all the locations and wings that carried out notable activities.
I would like to share information about a few programs I was unable to visit. South Dakota Wing participated in two missions of note in June 2016. First, they conducted low-level route surveys of the Powder River Military Operating Area. Second, they flew 12 aerial surveys of wildlife over 7 days in June for the Department of Game, Fish, & Parks and South Dakota State University. South Dakota Wing was also chosen by CAP/NHQ to participate in a test program for the use of drones in Search and Rescue. North Dakota Wing participated in a mission to escort the Hermes 450 as it gathered data on crops for researches at North Dakota State University. The Joint Dakota Encampment was also held from 25 June through 2 July in Camp Grafton, North Dakota. About sixty cadets attended the event.
While the staff and I have been traveling to great events and meeting great people, we have also focused on compliance. Compliance is not optional, and it needs to be the foundation that we build our success as a region on. Among other things, we have worked with the wings to ensure vehicle reports are being done in a timely manner, SUIs are being closed out, and safety reporting is addressed.
As I close this first trajectory, I want to take the time to recognize some particular volunteers and the wings for their good work.
This month, I was privileged to share with Missouri Wing that the Wentzville Composite Squadron had been named NCR Squadron of Distinction.
Congratulations to C/Col Andrew Carter, Minnesota Wing, on earning Spaatz Award #2043.
Congratulations to C/Lt Col Boaz Fink, Minnesota Wing, on soloing in June 2016.
Congratulations to South Dakota Wing on earning a highly successful on their graded OPSEVAL the weekend of 18 June. The wing was also evaluated on their participation in recent, actual missions.
Congratulations to South Dakota Wing on completing Mission 16-M-0337A with a find and save.
Thanks to Missouri Wing for their participation on Mission 16-M-0342A and North Dakota Wing for participation on Mission 16-M-0337A.
Congratulations to the following new lieutenant colonels promoted in June 2016:
Lt Col Jay Sliwinski, Minnesota Wing
Chaplain (Lt Col) Leonard Hale, Missouri Wing
Lt Col Crismon Brayman, Missouri Wing
Lt Col Don Hamblen, Missouri Wing
Chaplain (Lt Col) Charles Hudson, North Central Region
Lt Col Jonathan Holder, Kansas Wing
I began July with a trip to the National Flight Academy in Fremont, Nebraska. I joined Col David Plum and his amazing team at Midlands University. What a delight! Col Plum and his team were able to instruct and solo 24 new cadet pilots! The university is a wonderful partner for CAP and the facilities were excellent. While in Fremont, we also participated in the John C. Fremont Days celebration to honor Vietnam Veterans like Col Steve Kuddes, former North Central Region Commander. The ceremony was very emotional and rewarding for the participants and the cadets alike. I was also honored to promote Cadet Ayiana Rivera to C/CMSgt while at NFA Fremont. Thanks to the cadets and staff at this event for their hospitality. I very much enjoyed my visit with you!
While I was visiting NFA Fremont and attending a conference for work, Col Rick Franz was visiting and supporting the Iowa Wing Encampment at Camp Dodge, the Model Aircraft & Remote Control Flight Academy at Fort Leonard Wood, and the Missouri Wing Encampment at Fort Leonard Wood. Missouri Wing had a big encampment this year with over 100 cadets in attendance. Great work, Missouri Wing!
I left for National Blue Beret on July 16th to serve as Public Affairs Team Lead. I traveled with Col Burgess Rennels, Lt Col Mark Lahan, and Captain Tim Thornton. At NBB, I had the honor of working with an incredible team in Public Affairs: Major Daren Jaeger, an extraordinary professional photographer; 1st Lt Katie Mazos, a National Guard trained videographer; C/1st Lt Katie Jenkins, a web/graphics designer; and C/2nd Lt Cole Oakland, who brought much needed knowledge of social media. This was an amazing team and they turned out a great product that I am very proud of. Check out our page on Facebook at “National Blue Beret, Civil Air Patrol”! We reduced the number of newsletters we produced and increased the number of videos. We were joined and assisted by Major Robert Bowden, the Great Lakes Region PAO. We documented every day of the activity in photos and produced videos on mass arrivals, Ardy & Ed’s, and a couple daily updates. Lt Mazos also produced a touching video on what it means to be a Blue Beret. We also have a video documenting our first ever 1940s era hangar party at NBB—complete with root beer donated by Ardy & Ed’s! Thank you for your support, Steve and Ardy! We were honored when several distinguished visitors stopped by National Blue Beret this year. MG Joesph Vazquez and Lt Col Leslie Vazquez spent a week at Beret Base. MG Vazquez awarded EAA CEO Jack Pelton and AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker with replica Congressional Gold Medals for their support of Civil Air Patrol. MG Vazquez and Lt Col Vazquez also visited with representatives from a variety of aviation-related companies such as Textron and CITGO. Col Ed Phelka, the Great Lakes Region Commander, visited NBB along with Lt Col Monyca Uecker, the Great Lakes Liaison Region Commander. Col Mike Tyynismaa, CAP-USAF Commander, and Lt Col Mac Yates, 1 Air Force Director for Air Force Auxiliary Operations, also dropped in for a couple days. Col Rose Hunt, the Wisconsin Wing Commander, joined us for several days. Stacey Bechdolt, the newest member of CAP’s Board of Governors, also dropped in for a tour of Beret Base. Thank you to all our distinguished visitors for their time, energy, and support of NBB! C/Col Isaac Schuetz also received his Spaatz Award from MG Vazquez at NBB. C/Lt Col Jodie Gawthrop, who attended NBB, took the 2 millionth Young Eagle flight with actor Harrison Ford during NBB. It was a busy couple of weeks! It was my 11th year at NBB and it truly is an activity like no other. Every year I attend is better than previous years. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about servant leadership, aerospace education, or participate in a challenging, operational mission. I returned from NBB on 31 July.
While I was out of the region, South Dakota Wing continued to fly aerial wildlife surveys. They flew 18 surveys over 10 days in July. South Dakota Wing also worked the Sioux Falls airshow and participated in a 75th anniversary hangar dance. Missouri Wing continued to investigate how CAP might be able to participate better in missing person searches using personal tracker devices. This new mission may be a great fit for CAP in the future. The wings are a great source of innovation and I am impressed by their resourcefulness in finding new missions to replace the ELT search. Keep up your testing, Missouri Wing!
In July, the region began to focus more on recruiting and retention, reports of survey, and safety education. As this trajectory hits its end point, I want to recognize some volunteers and wings for their achievements and hard work.
Awards and Recognition:
Major Daren Jaeger, Kansas Wing, Gill Robb Wilson Award
Major Pamela Morris, Kansas Wing, Gill Robb Wilson Award
C/CMSgt Zachary Wild, Minnesota Wing, passed his Private Pilot test
Congratulations to the following new lieutenant colonels promoted in July 2016:
Lt Col Danny Phillips, Kansas Wing
Lt Col Barbara Willis, Kansas Wing
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org . 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.
September began a little slower than August and I was thankful for the time to work with the staff and commanders on goals, planning, and budgeting. The work we do now in these areas will provide a solid foundation for our work over the next year. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
I always log into eServices and review recruiting and retention numbers on the first of each month. The members we recruit now are the future of our organization. We need to engage and keep as many members as we can to be able to provide personnel for future missions for our communities, state, and nation. Recruiting and retention numbers can tell one a great deal about the health of a unit. I was very pleased to see that South Dakota has had some amazing growth. On 1 September, Col Small and his team had 16% annual growth overall, 13% growth in cadet membership, and 7% growth in senior membership compared to this time last year. In addition, his 90 day growth was 5% overall, 2% in cadets, and 7% in senior membership. Well done! If you want some tips on recruiting and retention, I would ask South Dakota Wing. Kansas Wing was also growing nicely with 14% overall annual growth, 15% annual growth in cadet membership, and 7% annual growth in senior membership. Kudos to Kansas as well!
I met Col John O’Neill, the Missouri Wing Commander, in Wichita, Kansas on September 5th to complete his initial CAPF40. Col O’Neill was traveling across Kansas on his way home to Missouri from the Cloudbusters Rocket Event in Argonia, Kansas and we had a great discussion. That evening I had a phone conference with Col Anita Elliott for the same purpose. Yes, even wing commanders and other senior leaders get performance evaluations; we can all benefit from this type of activity. Completing these forms and this process, at the direction of BG Myrick, has been a valuable experience. The wing commanders and I enjoy it and I have learned more about the wings of NCR in the process. It is a great time to look at the data for a wing, analyze it, and discuss it. As leaders, our decisions should be data-based. The Commander’s Dashboard provides a great start for looking at wing and unit data. Other e-services reports can also lend great information for leaders. I would encourage everyone to access the information available in e-services and use it to be more effective in your position. Between these two sessions, I received the sad news that Col Emmit Williams passed away after a motorcycle accident. Col Emmit Williams was a strategic figure in North Central Region and Missouri Wing. He served as Missouri Wing Commander, North Central Region Vice Commander, and in numerous staff positions in each organization. Many commanders relied on his sage advice over the years and he will be greatly missed. He leaves behind his wife Major Marsha Williams, the commander of MO-117, and his daughter Col Erica Williams, who serves on both the Missouri Wing and North Central Region staff. Please keep the Williams family in your thoughts as they journey through this difficult time.
On September 7th, I dropped in on one of the region small team meetings led by Col Tom Theis, who is one of two vice commanders for NCR.
The region staff is quite large and due to our geographic distribution, we have to communicate electronically. A phone call with the entire staff is not a practical way to discuss items, so we meet in four smaller teams. Col Weston, Col Theis, Col Plum and I all lead a small group. As I mentioned above, our groups are currently working on goals and budgets. I am hopeful that these team meetings will increase the flow of information up and down the chain of command and engage the staff more effectively.
On September 10th, I attended the funeral of Col Emmit Williams in Marshall, Missouri. It was clear how important a figure he was in that small town when we stopped for fuel at Casey’s. A gentleman in the store stopped me and asked me if I was there for the services. He recognized the CAP uniform and told me what a wonderful person the town had lost. He was not alone in those sentiments. Many CAP members, in addition to fire and EMS personnel, attended the services and spent time with the Williams family that day.
The week of September 12th was mainly dedicated to phone calls. I completed the North Dakota wing commander’s F40 and had a phone conference for the Leadership Development Working Group. This group, under the leadership of Southwest Region Commander Col Mark Smith, is tasked with revising professional development for five different groups of CAP members: region commanders, wing commanders, squadron commanders, mid-career officers, and NCOs. My team is working on squadron commander development and the new Unit Commanders Course. We have three sub-groups working on the content for the new course which will be available 1 January 2017. Col Steve Kuddes, who is in Nebraska Wing and is a former North Central Region commander, is leading one small team that is working on a module of the course that focuses on leadership skills. Col John O’Neill, who is the Missouri Wing Commander, is leading a second small team that is working on the nuts and bolts of command from the lifecycle of a member to e-services and more. Lt Col James Peace, who is in Texas Wing is leading the third group. The third group is building the module on Squadron Organization from taking command to staffing the unit and missions. We have been working on this project for many months. Our journey has seen us come up with a laundry list of 200 things unit commanders need to know how to do, a map of CAP professional development course content, incentives for learning, and more. We are enjoying the work and we hope it makes command easier for future leaders.
On September 15th, NHQ notified the region commanders that the CAP fleet had grown to over 600 aircraft and had to be reduced to a more sustainable 560. The reduction plan indicated each region had to lose a percentage of its aircraft. North Central Region was asked to identify 6 aircraft that might be disposed of, sold, or transferred. Col Bill Kay, the North Central Region Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, began gathering aircraft data for me and I asked the wing commanders to identify which aircraft they could lose. Of course, no wing commander wants to lose an aircraft.
I understand that this was a difficult process for the wings and I appreciate their hard work and inputs. I also appreciate the work done by Col Kay, Col Weston, Col Theis, and Col Plum on this project. I also reviewed dashboard statistics in eServices including numbers of pilots, numbers of orientation flights, and more in making this decision. We also looked at geographic territory and other factors. Finally, we identified six aircraft for disposal/sale/transfer from Minnesota, Missouri, and South Dakota and submitted their tail numbers to NHQ.
On Saturday the 17th, I called in to the NCR CAC meeting on Google Hangouts to thank the council for their service and welcome new members. Due to technical difficulties, I had to type my comments in the chat box and they were delivered by NCR CAC Chair C/Col Caleb Couture. I can proudly say that the NCR CAC is one of the best councils in the nation. They met monthly over their term of office and sent several proposals to the national level. The CAC had several functional, productive committees and a great corps of officers. Kudos to C/Col Couture (chair), C/Lt Col Klosterman (Vice Chair), and C/Capt Leonhardt (recorder) for their hard work as council leadership. Thanks also to all the representatives who engaged and did so much good work. You have set the bar high for the next council! We also announced the new officers. In the coming term, the council will be led by C/Lt Col Klosterman who will serve as chair, C/Capt Leonhardt who will serve as vice chair, and C/Major Horn who will serve as recorder. Col Rick Franz, the former Kansas Wing Commander, will serve as their advisor. I can’t wait to see the good work the new council will do! We are already planning for a face-to-face meeting in Des Moines in November to kick off the term.
The week of the 19th was a busy one. A Kansas Wing flight crew of Capt Skylar Caldwell and 1st Lt Tom Page flew with me to Minnesota to present some awards on the 20th. It was a beautiful day to fly and we had a wonderful tail wind on the way to Minnesota. Col Tom Theis, North Central Region Vice Commander, picked us up at the airport and kindly treated us to dinner on the way to the church where the 130th Composite Squadron meets. The 130th is the biggest unit in North Central Region with a total of about 122 members. Of that total, 85 members are cadets! The 130th is known for excellence and innovation. In 2015, they earned the Squadron of Distinction Award for NCR. Among other things, their membership statistics for promotions and testing are very impressive. We were greeted warmly by members of the unit and Minnesota Wing Leadership. Col Garlough, Lt Col Sorenson, and Lt Col Heinz were present from the Minnesota Wing leadership as well as Col Theis and Lt Col Mikitta from the NCR staff. Major Ray Phillips, commander of the 130th, did a great job ensuring all was in order and proceeded flawlessly. C/Major James Craig served as my guide for the evening and helped me navigate the meeting and explained several 130th traditions; he did a great job! I was able to circulate and observe cadets participating in a timely character development lesson on the emotions surrounding suicide (October is Suicide Prevention Month). The small group discussions were all led by cadet officers or NCOs and it was very well done. Each of the sub-groups reported out to the main group via a spokesperson at the end of the session. During the awards and promotions portion of the evening, I was honored to present C/Lt Col Philip Cappitelli with the General Ira C. Eaker Award and C/Major Craig with an Air Force Association Award also. C/Major Craig also passed his review board for C/Lt Col that evening. Finally, I presented C/Lt Col Boaz Fink with a long overdue and well deserved Region Commander’s Commendation for his leadership of the NCR CAC. I learned a couple neat things while visiting the 130th. First, C/Major Craig told me about Exploration Night. The 130th uses the fifth Tuesday to have members visit other organizations and talk about CAP. What a great recruiting strategy! The second interesting practice I observed at the 130th was that of each person who was promoted or received an award saying a few words of thanks to those who helped them or giving those following in their footsteps some sage advice. This was very meaningful and made the night even more special. Unfortunately, I did not have much time to stay at the 130th as we had to fly back to Kansas. The pilots had the aircraft ready when I arrived back at the airport and we took a beautiful night flight back to Kansas. Many thanks to all those who made this wonderful trip possible. On the 22nd, I completed a F40 with the Nebraska Wing Commander and on the 25th I completed a F40 with the Kansas Wing Commander.
Quality Cadet Units were announced in September. These units, with at least 10 cadet members as of the start date of the program, were recognized for excellence in having achieved at least six criteria out of ten being monitored including recruiting, retention, activities, etc. Sadly, more than 20 units in North Central Region did not meet the minimum membership requirement of ten cadets and were not eligible for the award. Minnesota Wing had ten units earn this distinction and Missouri Wing had five. Iowa Wing, Kansas Wing, and Nebraska Wing each had two units recognized. South Dakota Wing had one unit earn these honors. Congratulations to all the units recognized by these awards. A lot of hard work and dedication go into this program and I am proud to see so many NCR squadrons achieve this mark of excellence. I would also like to recognize three units in North Central Region that met at least six criteria but had fewer than the ten members required and did not receive the award. Kudos to Crazy Horse Composite Squadron (NCR-SD-068), Trail of Tears Composite Squadron (NCR-MO-127), and Warrensburg Composite Flight (NCR-MO-139) in the small but mighty category! I am pleased that small units offer quality programs also.
The next week flew by with more phone meetings. I had another call with the Leadership Development Working Group. The region staff also worked to finalize the budget, on our recruiting and retention plan and on our aircraft fleet reduction response.
As this Command Trajectory draws to a close, I am looking forward to a busy and productive October. As always, I want to recognize some units and individuals for their accomplishments also.
Iowa Wing: 16-M-0647, find; DR mission
Missouri Wing: 16-M-0688, find and save
Kansas Wing: 8 American Red Cross missions
Awards and Recognition:
Craig Goodrich, SD WG, promotion to Lt Col
Major Jason Suby assumed command of the Viking Squadron, Minnesota Wing
Lt Col William Hienz assumed command of Group III, Minnesota Wing
Lt Col Dan Peterson, NE-001, Gill Robb Wilson Award
October brings the new fiscal year and because our activities can be impacted by delayed funding streams, October always requires some careful planning.
I finished my last F40 with the wing commanders on the 4th. This allowed me to focus my attention on two very important topics—recruiting and retention. While I had started reading articles on this topic last year, I have began reading widely to increase my depth of knowledge in the area. Recruiting and retention are areas where every member can make a difference; it begins with how we treat each other and the effort we give to our interactions and meetings with others. Units that welcome new members and help them develop a sense of belonging then follow up with consistent, engaging activities often keep their members longer. Volunteers have many organizations competing for their time and energy. It is up to us to make Civil Air Patrol the activity they enjoy most and want to continue
On our conference call on the 20th, I began discussing this topic with the wing commanders. Every commander, at every level, needs to make recruiting and retention a priority so our organization has the members it needs to complete the missions of Cadet Programs, Aerospace Education, and Emergency Services. As our service to our
communities, states, and nation increases more people will be needed to fill the needs of the organization. I challenge each of you to think about what you can do to support our recruiting and retention efforts.
On the 21st, I departed home for the Missouri Wing Conference in St Louis. It is always a pleasure to visit Missouri Wing; I had the honor of joining about 130 members for a great event. Col O’Neill and I picked up BG Myrick and Lt Col Myrick at the airport and Friday night began with mixers for both cadets and seniors with snacks provided by MSgt Charline O’Neill. Saturday morning Chaplain Hale kicked off the General Assembly with an invocation and Lt Col Scott Lawson, a longtime member of Missouri Wing, retired from CAP. This was meaningful for me because Lt Col Lawson was a regular chaperone at cadet activities I attended in the early 1990s. Thank you for your service to CAP, Lt Col Lawson!
Missouri Wing has a unique, interesting tradition of having all award nominees wear a medal so that others can recognize them for their achievements. We also conducted several promotions.
Col John O’Neill and C/Amn Boston Steele assisted in promoting MSgt Charline O’Neill to SMSgt and Major Dean Hamilton was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
BG David Boyle addressed the assembly and had many kind things to say about Civil Air Patrol standing with the Missouri National Guard during disasters and helping the citizens of the state. Several of the “Of the Year”
awards were presented in the morning including Inspector General of the Year. Col Erica Williams and Major Marsha Williams accepted this award on behalf of Col Emmitt Williams who passed away in September.
When I visit a wing, I try to find its hallmark or a characteristic to highlight in my comments. The Missouri Wing motto is “Show Me Excellence” so I used that as a springboard to talk about the excellence Missouri Wing has shown in the last year in all three Civil Air Patrol Missions. In Cadet Programs, five Missouri Wing squadrons were named
Quality Cadet Units. Also, the North Central Region Squadron of Distinction is the Wentzville Composite Squadron. The Wentzeville Composite Squadron, under the leadership of Major Joe St. Clair, was named Squadron of Distinction because it led the region in recruiting, retention, cadet milestone awards, and first time encampments. I also praised C/Col Caleb Couture and C/Major Josiah Horn for their contributions to the North Central Region Cadet Advisory Council. In Aerospace Education, Major Trumbly, the creator of the Aerospace Science Technology Center, has helped over 2,000 kids learn more about AE through his travelling museum in less than 2 years. C/Col Couture earned 2015 National Brewer Award recognition in the Cadet category and the National Airline History Museum, with whom the wing has a strong partnership, earned non-CAP Brewer honors that year as well.
I also recently had Col O’Neill brief the other wing commanders in NCR about the great AE weekend activity Missouri has implemented. While CP and AE are strong programs in Missouri Wing, I chose to highlight
Emergency Services. In September, the MO-111 squadron in St Louis deployed on an ELT search and found the injured pilot in less than half an hour. I shared a quote from Miracle on the Hudson pilot Chesley Sullenberger that I feel is very applicable to Civil Air Patrol. Sully said, regarding his efforts on that day in January 2009 when he had to land on the Hudson River,
“For 42 years I have been making small, regular deposits in the bank of education and training so that on that day I could make a very large withdrawal.”
His efforts to increase his education and training resulted in 155 lives saved. This is what members of CAP have done for 75 years. We train week in and week out so that when AFRCC, or another agencies, call, we can save lives.
I left the wing with two other pieces of wise advice from Sully. “Take care of each other,” and “a reputation is made one person, one interaction, one day at a time.” Those wise words are applicable to and can make a positive difference in every unit in Civil Air Patrol.
I want to offer my congratulations to all the Missouri Wing Award winners:
Squadron of the Year: Wentzville Composite Squadron
John Otradovec Lifetime Achievement Award: Col William T. Winkert
Senior Member of the Year: Capt David Chilenski
Cadet of the Year: Cadet Lt Col Kole Tilson
Torch Award: Capt Alan Altis
Frank G. Brewer Aerospace Education Award – Senior Member: Maj Ernie Trumbly
Frank G. Brewer Aerospace Education Award – Cadet: Cadet Capt Luke Young
Frank G. Brewer Aerospace Education Award – Non-CAP Organization: Aerospace Technology Center, Joplin MO
Jeanne M. Holm Aerospace Education Officer of the Year: Capt John Roper
Aerospace Education Member of the Year: Mr. Rich Piper Coordinator of the Science Teachers of Missouri 2016 Conference
Jack Sorenson Cadet Programs Officer of the Year: Capt David Risko
Cadet Junior Officer of the Year: C/1st Lt Katherine Jenkins
Cadet NCO of the Year: C/2d Lt Abigayle White
Drug Demand Reduction Officer of the Year: Capt Mike Toedebusch
Orientation Pilot of the Year: Maj Scott Murrell
Emergency Services Officer of the Year: Maj Tom Martin
Incident Commander of the Year: Maj Austin Worcester
Operations Officer of the Year: Maj Bobby Redfield
Communicator of the Year: Capt Steve Vogt
Mission Base Staff Member of the Year: SMSgt Charline O’Neill
Character Development Officer of the Year: Maj Jennifer Smith
Squadron Chaplain of the Year: Chaplain (Capt) John Harth
Senior Chaplain of the Year: Chaplain (Lt Col) Leonard Hale
Professional Development Officer of the Year: Lt Col David J. Ellis
Public Affairs Officer of the Year: Lt Col David A. Miller
Recruiting and Retention Officer of the Year: Lt Col Dean Hamilton
Safety Officer of the Year: Capt Stephanie Workman
Administration Officer of the Year: 2d Lt Jade Dicks
Finance Officer of the Year: Maj Dave Futch
Historian of the Year: 1ST Lt Larry Corbin
Information Technology Officer of the Year: 2d Lt James Gregg
Legal Officer of the Year: Lt Col Dan Harlan
Legislative Officer of the Year: Lt Col Randy Fuller
Personnel Officer of the Year: 2d Lt Erica N. Johnson
Property Manager of the Year: Maj Bobby Redfield
Transportation Officer of the Year: Maj Martin Alderman
On October 31st, I departed Kansas with Col Linette Lahan for the Wing Commander course at Maxwell AFB in Alabama. I think that will make a good topic for the next trajectory.
Charline O’ Neill to SMsgt
Dean Hamilton, MO WG, Lt Col
Bruce Kipp, SD WG, Lt Col
Jason Suby, MN WG, Lt Col
New Region Staff:
Col Erica Williams as DCS Professional Development
Lt Col Bill Sander as DCS Aerospace Education
MN WG 16-M-0751 Find
MN WG 16-M-0761A
MO WG 16-M-0757
MO WG 16-M-0773
It is with great sorrow that I reach out to you. As you may have heard, Rex Glasgow passed away unexpectedly last week. For countless people nationwide and many members of North Central Region, Rex will be remembered as a dear friend and mentor. Since the tragic news of his passing reached me on Friday night, I have heard from hundreds of people. There is much speculation regarding the circumstances of his passing. Rex was a very private person and we should not speculate. Instead, let us pause in our activities to pay tribute to a devoted and highly esteemed colleague. Whether you met Rex when he was Lieutenant Glasgow and serving as Cedar Rapids Squadron Commander, Colonel Glasgow during his service as Iowa Wing or North Central Region Commander, Beret One when leading at National Blue Beret, or Brigadier General Glasgow when he served as National Vice Commander; his boundless energy and unparalleled dedication to CAP inspired those with whom he worked. Regardless of how your path crossed his, everyone who knew Rex would agree that he had a passion for service and people. Rex had an infectious smile and an uncommon inner grace. He will be deeply missed by those whose lives he touched.
A notice will soon appear on the Murdoch Funeral Home site at http://www.murdochfuneralhome.com/. A full obituary will appear on Sunday, December 18th, in the local newspaper and on the Murdoch website. Members who would like to speak with someone about their grief may contact
Lt Col Don Mikitta, the North Central Region Chaplain at email@example.com . For those who would like to share photos and fond memories, there is a Facebook group called Remembering Rex Glasgow.
Yours in Sorrow,
December began with one of the most amazing events that I have ever attended! December 1st found me at the airport headed to Washington DC for the 75th Anniversary gala. Donald Bailey, my brother and a former cadet sponsor member of CAP, accompanied me to the gala. When I was a kid, Donald always took me to air shows, and he has had a love of aviation since he was a child. I remember standing in line for hours with him to get an autograph from Pappy Boyington. We built a remote control Focke Wulfe aircraft when I was in junior high, and I routinely crashed his EZ remote control plane that he patiently repaired each time. I knew he would appreciate the gala and the venue. The 75th anniversary event was a once in a lifetime experience! The staff who put the event together deserve kudos and thanks for their hard work; it was magical. Susan Schneider was on hand to take pictures of the event and the attendees. She quickly uploaded them to the NHQ Flicker site so if you would like to see who was in attendance, check out the site. Donald and I had our photo taken and we also took the opportunity to get a photo with the Baileys from the East Coast–Col Jason Bailey of North Carolina Wing and Col Arlinda Bailey of Tennesee Wing. The evening began with time to explore the Udvar Hazy Center and see such historical treasures as the Enola Gay and Discovery. One can even see Civil Air Patrol’s Congressional Gold Medal on display.
After enjoying the museum, we sat down to eat under the wings of history. The meal and the music were incredible and the speakers were amazing. It was very touching to hear the letter from President Obama read. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James inspired the crowd with her comments that ended with, “Aim High, Airmen.” We were joined at the event by Col Anita Elliott (IA), Col Linette and Lt Col Mark Lahan (KS), Col David Small (SD) and his wife Sylvia, Col John O’Neill (MO), Col James Garlough (MN), and Col Tom Theis (NCR); North Central Region had a good delegation in attendance! Kudos and thanks to all those who made the 75th Anniversary Gala possibile!
The next day found me in the CSAG meeting and Donald out visiting Washington DC with Col John O’Neill, Col Linette Lahan, and Lt Col Mark Lahan; we both had a great day. The CSAG meeting began with Mr. Donnie Rowland receiving his Life Membership plaque from MG Joe Vazquez. We then settled down with a long agenda of discussion topics from ADS-B conversion to uniform updates. I always enjoy spending time with the other leaders on the CSAG. The discussion is deep and fulfilling and I feel very lucky to be working with such an amazing group that has great vision for where they would like to see our organization in the future. In the evening, I was able to meet with several members of the subgroup I lead from the Leadership Development Working Group and we continued our work on materials for the Just In Time Unit Commander’s Course. While the main course will roll out in January 2017, we are also working on a ‘Just In Time’ course for commanders who don’t have time to take the full course before taking command. The Just In Time course does not replace the full course, but helps the incoming commander prepare and avoid pitfalls in the short term until the UCC can be completed. I am excited to see how this product will grow as we continue our work on it. I am always inspired by the group I am working with on this project. They really think outside the box and work hard to be innovative in their approach to professional development. As you may know, the experience members have at the unit level is how we retain members. Members have told us that we need to focus more on that experience and on leadership for our commanders. After another day of meetings, we were on our way back to Kansas.
Thursday the 8th found me on a teleconference for the Leadership Development Working Group to touch base on our progress and make final plans. As I have mentioned before, I have the honor of working under the leadership of Col Mark Smith on this project. Col Smith, the Southwest Region Commander, is leading the effort to revise CAP professional development in many areas. I certainly enjoy working with him and the other members of the team.
On the 9th of December, I departed for San Francisco to serve on the Pacific Region Commander Interview Board. We talked to six outstanding CAP members over the course of two days. Col Dan Leclair, the Northeast Region Commander, led the effort and the third member was Col Bob Bost, the Rocky Mountain Region Commander.
I very much enjoyed talking to the inspired members of PCR about their assessment of the region, their thoughts on leadership, and their goals. This was a great experience for me because I was on the other side of the interview table in April. I learned a lot serving on this board and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to do so. In the end, MG Vazquez named Col Jon Stokes as the new PCR commander; welcome aboard, Jon! BG Myrick and Lt Col Myrick joined us for dinner on the evening of the 11th.
I also received sad news that weekend when I learned of the passing of former CAP National Vice Commander and NCR Commander Rex Glasgow. Many members of North Central Region and CAP lost a good friend and mentor with Rex’s unexpected death. I met Rex at an Iowa Wing Encampment in the early 2000s. He was a colonel at that time and serving as Iowa Wing Commander; he had a passion for CAP and an enthusiasm that was absolutely contagious.
Over the next several years, I was privileged to work with him at National Blue Beret and North Central Region activities. Rex was a wonderful mentor and friend. He loved CAP dearly and he helped me develop my leadership skills with encouragement, gentle correction, and opportunities. I’ll never forget the day he called me and said, “Regena, I am no longer the Iowa Wing Commander.” Crestfallen, I immediately asked what happened and he responded with a laugh, “I’m now the North Central Region Commander!” I knew he would do great things for North Central Region just as he had done for Iowa Wing and his home unit in Cedar Rapids. I was privileged to join his staff in 2004 in Cadet Programs. Because of his hard work and dedication to CAP, he continued to progress and later earned a star when he was chosen as the National Vice Commander. He served CAP at Hurricane Katrina and many other missions. Rex left an impression everywhere he participated including National Blue Beret where he advocated for many facility improvements and Iowa Wing where he built an incredible relationship with the state. He had a heart as big as his smile and his dreams. I have heard from countless members, since word of his passing began to circulate, that shared how he mentored or helped them in their CAP career.
A Facebook group quickly grew to honor his memory and many great stories and kind thoughts are posted there. Rest in peace, my friend, you will be missed greatly and remembered fondly.
I also received word that Nebraska Wing earned a successful rating on their Compliance Inspection on the 11th. Congratulations to Col Nelson and his team for their hard work and dedication. I flew home on the 12th and headed back to work on the 13th just in time for board meeting at the college.
In an effort to honor families and the holidays, I cancelled the monthly conference call with the wing commanders and sent out written notes instead. December can be so busy and it is important to remember to keep a good work-family-life-CAP balance. Respect for this balance keeps us healthy and motivated to serve as well as our support network firmly behind us. The next weekend brought Wreaths Across America. Last month, I mentioned that I bought a wreath from C/Capt Donald Leonhardt of the Heartland Cadet Squadron for Major Grover E. Fanning’s grave. On his military marker in the National Cemetery at Leavenworth, it reads: “GROVER E. FANNING, MAJ, US ARMY AIR CORPS, US AIR FORCE, WORLD WAR II, KOREA, NOV 6 1919, JULY 20 1992, SS-DFC-AM.” Who was Major Fanning and why would I buy a wreath for his grave? Let me share this Airman’s story.
In the 1936 Northeast High School Yearbook, Grover E. Fanning was described as, “A good-natured chap from the R.O.T.C.” After graduation from Northeast High School in Kansas City, Grover enlisted. He didn’t immediately take to the air though. He enlisted in the cavalry at Fort Riley, Kansas. His career as a cavalry trooper was a short one and he was working for the Burlington Railroad as a switchman when he joined the Army Air Corps in January 1942. Fanning completed primary training at Oxnard, California followed by basic work at Merced and twin-engine training at Williams Field in Arizona. Just 16 months later, 2nd Lt Grover Fanning was a trained fighter pilot and deployed with the Humpty Doo. He was flying a P-38 as a member of the 9th Fighter Squadron/49th Fighter Group in New Guinea with Richard Bong. According to the Flying Knights yearbook, his nickname was “Grove” and his aircraft was called “Kansas City Kitty.” The nose art was a roaring lion.
On April 12, 1943, 2nd Lt Grover E. Fanning shot down 3 enemy aircraft during the defense of Port Moresby when he piloted one of the three American fighters that met over 100 Japanese aircraft in the air. On August 2, 1943, 2nd Lt Grover E. Fanning shot down another enemy aircraft. On September 2, 1943, 1st Lt Grover E. Fanning achieved ace status when he shot down two Ki-45s in the Bismarck Archipelago. Three more enemy aircraft were shot down
by 1st Lt Fanning in October 1943. He was 23 years old at the time.
In February 1944, Lt Fanning departed for the United States for training. He had been selected for an advanced aerial gunnery school with several other successful fighter pilots. The September 21, 1944, Ballston Spa Journal related that 24 year old Capt Grover E. Fanning graduated from the Aerial Gunnery School on the Matagorda Peninsula, Texas. The newspapers noted that Fanning had 9 confirmed kills to his credit and 3 more probable kills. By October 1944, Fanning was a member of the 464th Fighter Squadron/507th Fighter Group, activated in Bruning, NE, flying P-47s. After training at Dalhart AAF, Texas, the group staged at Fort Lawton in Seattle, Washington in May 1945. After embarking in May and stopping en route at Pearl Harbor, the unit arrived at Ie Shima, Ryukyus in June 1945.
According to the 464th Squadron Yearbook, he was a major when he served with that unit. Their first combat mission was escorting B-24s over Kyushu in July 1945 and their last combat mission was a fighter sweep over Seoul, Korea on August 13, 1945. By the end of World War II, Major Fanning had earned a Silver Star, the Air Medal, and the Distinguished Flying Cross with three Oak Leaf Clusters.
I am not sure what Major Fanning did in Korea. Uncle Grover never talked about his service. I pieced together the above information from books and news articles in which he is mentioned when I was helping my mother work on the family history. I remember him not as a war hero but as a tall, quiet fellow who loved to garden and was very knowledgeable in that area. I want to thank C/Capt Leonhardt for his efforts to place a wreath on Uncle Grover’s grave. The weather prevented either of us from traveling, but I appreciate the effort and I am sure we shall achieve our goal next year.
I had a short CSAG call on the 20th and another Leadership Development Working Group call on the 23rd. I spent the holiday with family and friends before packing to visit the Region Staff College being held in Salina, Kansas and the Kansas Wing Encampment being held at Fort Riley, Kansas. Lt Col Bob Moore, of Kansas Wing, kindly stepped forward to direct the RSC and he had a great staff helping him. Col John O’Neill, Lt Col Beth Ryan, and SMSgt Mike Mudry all came together to serve on staff full time. Other members like Col Burgess Rennels and Major Doug Dutton dropped in to teach a few sessions as well. The students in attendance seemed to enjoy the course and said they learned a lot during their time together. Congratulations to Major Brian Emerson of the Alaska Wing who was the outstanding graduate for the course! Many thanks to Bob and his team for providing this important professional development opportunity and to the students for taking time during the holidays to improve their leadership. Lt Col Danny Phillips commanded the encampment in Kansas. Around 100 cadets from twelve wings attend the event.
C/Lt Col Megan Laubhan served admirably as cadet commander of the event. Keep an eye on Cadet Laubhan—she has the potential to go far in CAP. Cadets particularly enjoyed flying in Blackhawk helicopters and firing .22 caliber rifles at Godfrey’s indoor range.
I was honored to meet Chaplain (Capt) Douglas Kerns at the Kansas Wing Encampment where he clearly had a positive impact. His smile and high energy was just what cadets needed to bolster their spirits. Thank you for your service, Chaplain Kerns! I also met other outstanding seniors such as 2nd Lt Elaine Stewart and SMSgt Mark Naughton who impressed me with the attitude they brought to encampment. I look forward to seeing the great things these members do in the future. Speaking of the future, I was also honored to spend time with C/A1C Eliora Switzer of MO-126, C/SMSgt Patricia Plum of KS-055, C/1st Lt Jenna Gleason of MI-175, C/MSgt Zach Wouters of AR-083, and C/CMSgt Sanjay Kothari of MI-271 as examples of our amazing cadet program.
Thank you for your hard work at encampment!
As 2016 draws to a close, I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of the members of North Central Region who provided countless hours of self-less service. Members of NCR have participated in diverse missions from American Red Cross transport efforts in Kansas to wildlife surveys in South Dakota. I am very proud of the
service we provide to our communities, states, and nation. In addition to the local missions, members of NCR supported many NCSAs across the nation as well as the chase mission in NER. Of course, this just represents one of our missions. Members also spent countless hours educating both our members and the public about aerospace through a variety of activities from orientation flights to traveling museums and more. Finally, the impact we have on the future through our cadet program is incredible. Our cadets are future leaders not only in CAP but also in diverse fields including aerospace, the clergy, education, and the military to name only a few areas. I am looking forward to the great things our members will accomplish in 2017.
Logistics inventories are completed each year between 1 October and 31 December. This year, I asked commanders to finish their inventories by 30 November, because we have had some trouble getting these done on time in the past. I was very pleased to send my thanks and my challenge coin to five officers who helped their wings finish by 30 November. I sent coins to: Lt Col Bill Rutten of Minnesota Wing, Capts Jerry Gabert and Jerry Foy of South Dakota Wing, and TFO Cole Oakland and Capt Christine Settanni of Kansas Wing. These officers were named by their wing commanders as a key player in their wing’s ability to complete the inventories by the goal date. Other wings and officers in the region also worked hard including Col John Mais of Missouri Wing. While Missouri did not finish by 30 November, they did have the earliest completion for many years and were done well before the deadline of 31 December. In the end, all wings finished before the deadline. Thank you to all those who contributed to our timely annual inventory completion! Why would we set our goal earlier than the national deadline?
There are many reasons. In CAP, we need to change our culture from one of compliance to one of continual compliance. We should tackle tasks like safety mishap entries, inventories, etc as soon as possible. When we work on these sooner rather than later, our memory is sharper and completion is easier. It’s much harder to remember what happened at an event 50 days later than it is the week after. When we wait until the deadline to complete tasks, we often do not excel at the task. Short time leads to short cuts. When we give ourselves plenty of time to complete a task, our product is often of a higher quality. We also do not know what obstacles to completion might impact our progress. A computer problem, unexpected illness, or sudden storm can transform timely to late before you know it. Don’t be a victim of circumstance but rather control your destiny. In the end, there are few excuses when we do not meet deadlines that we know about far in advance. Work early, do your best, and be proud of your product! NCR had a second milestone in December. For the first time since I took command, all vehicle reports were completed before the deadline of 10 December. Thank you for your hard work in this area. It is noticed and appreciated!
I celebrated the New Year with the attendees at the Kansas Wing Encampment. It was my honor to attend the encampment dinner, complete with a Grog Bowl, and speach on leadership and integrity. I shared the story of a lawyer who worked for the mob and a pilot who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor with attendees. It’s always fun to watch cadets and seniors celebrate their accomplishments. My thanks to Kansas Wing for the invitation to visit encampment and speak. Also, congratulations on a job well done to the staff of the encampment.
On 5 January, I participated in a Webinar that provided CAP leadership with a tour of the online Unit Commander’s Course. The online UCC is just one of the products that the sub-group of the Leadership Development Working Group I lead developed. Developing the online UCC allowed me to share my day job skills with CAP and support one of my passions—professional development. In many ways, we are raising the bar with the new UCC because we found through survey data that members were not well prepared to take on command of a squadron. The new course endeavors to better prepare members for command through a variety of topics and exercises. The course is being beta-tested in several wings including Nebraska and jointly in Kansas and Missouri. The new course requires students to do the reading in advance and take quizzes on the Learning Management System before attending a two day class. The new course employs the flipped learning modality and we hope it is well received by students. The course will require more of the members who complete it but we hope it puts new tools in your command tool box so you can have a satisfying and less stressful leadership experience.
On 9 January, I participated in a conference call with General Myrick and other members of the CSAG to plan the Command Council meeting in Washington DC in March. We collected feedback from the leaders who attended Wing Commander’s College as well as others and our task was to mold it into a cohesive agenda. I always enjoy working with the other members of the CSAG. On this occasion, I worked with Col John Knowles, Mr. Paul Gloyd, and others. In the end, we came up with a list of sessions that we hope will engage all those in attendance. I, for one, am excited about having time to meet in person with the North Central Region Wing Commanders. It is rare for our group to have time to meet in person. We normally conduct our business by conference call. For the meeting in DC, we will tackle the important topics of recruiting and retention. Each wing commander in NCR is going to read a chapter in a book and teach the other leaders in the region how to apply the book to what we do as volunteer leaders. I am very excited at this opportunity and I know I will learn a lot from my colleagues. The impact should help our region grow and have more satisfied members. Our goal is to grow the region by 1% overall by December 2017.
On 14 January, we began the pilot of the online UCC. I am very excited to teach the pilot course. Online learning is what I do for my college. This was another way for me to share my day job skills with CAP. We have some highly motivated students and several future instructors in the course. As an academic dean, I don’t often get the opportunity to teach so I am thrilled to have this opportunity to help shape and equip other leaders for their duties.
On 19 January, I had a conference call with the NCR wing commanders. We talked about recruiting and retention as well as the need to replace the compliance culture with one that is forward looking. I speak with the wing commanders each month in the same way they communicate with their subordinate unit commanders. It is important for us to share expertise, provide advice to each other, and share best practices. For example, in February the Kansas Wing Commander is going to share a couple of non-CAP awards with the other wing commanders. These may prove a valuable tool for the other commanders to use in recognizing their members.
On 26 January we had the LDWG call. This is the group led by Col Mark Smith that is revamping professional development for several different groups in CAP. I provided an update on the progress of the new UCC. I also provided an update on the Just In Time guide that will help new commanders until they can complete UCC.
On 29 January I hosted a webinar for the onine UCC. Our topic was why one might serve. Squadron commander is a tough job and there is a lot to balance. So, why would people take on this challenge? There are many reasons that range from “someone had to step up” to “I have goals and I can lead the squadron toward success”. One theme that came through was that it is very rewarding in that one can see the impact of their actions very clearly at the unit level. Week in and week out the work done at the units keep people in CAP. We also talked a little about culture and how a commander can make the unit culture a positive one. We had a case study from CAPTalk that shared why a member was thinking about not renewing. We talked about how a commander can counter the issues the member shared and make CAP a positive experience. It was a great discussion and I can’t wait until we gather next time to discuss another important topic.
On 30 January I participated in a conference call with the directors of the onsite UCC pilot, members of the NHQ staff, etc. This call was to orient the directors of the onsite pilot courses. I am pleased that Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri volunteered to test the course. Col Steve Kuddes in Nebraska Wing will direct a course in Grand Island the weekend of February 25. Col John O’Neill will direct a joint Kansas/Missouri class in Kansas City the same weekend. Col O’Neill has invited me to teach the Commander’s Dashboard and Leadership and I am excited for the opportunity.
Several members of the region have recently volunteered to take on additional duties in serving as reviewers on new regulations. I want to thank Col Walt Vollmers of North Dakota Wing for helping us review on the new CAPR 20-3 Inspections. Major Joe St. Clair of Missouri Wing is working as a reviewer on CAPR 35-9 Board of Governorsand Region and Wing Commander Selection Procedures. Thanks to Lt Col Jeff Morris of North Central Region for reviewing CAPR 110-1 Internet Operations. And to Lt Col Mark Lahan of Kansas Wing for reviewing CAPR 60-1 Cadet Programs. These stalwart volunteers help comprise Napoleon’s Corporals, which is what the reviewers are called.
I want to shamelessly plug a few upcoming events. First we have a Region Staff College in Nebraska Wing in June under the leadership of Col Steve Kuddes. It is scheduled to run 17-24 June 2017. Second, we have a Region Cadet Leadership School in Missouri Wing in July when they have their wing encampment. More information will be forthcoming for this event. We also have a Region Staff College scheduled in Kansas City in December. This course will run between Christmas and New Years. Major Austin Worcester, the course director, and Major Kevin Oliver, the project officer, are busy planning some great activities including a tour of the World War I museum and a dinner at the National Airline History Museum. This will be an event that offers so much value! We are also currently scheduling a Region Cadet Leadership School for fall that we hope will be in South Dakota. The region is attempting to offer strong activities that will engage the members and compliment what the wings do. We hope to move them around the region and provide great experiences for our members.
In January, Col David Winters joined the region staff as the Deputy Chief of Staff in Cadet Programs. He brings a great deal of experience and expertise to the position and I am excited to see what he will do in this position. We have many activities we wish to offer the cadets of the region. We wish Col Winters luck. I am sure the wings will be hearing from him, if they have not already.
Congratulations to C/Col Zophia Raleigh of Minnesota Wing on earning Spaatz Award #2086. The Spaatz Award is a rare achievement and I know it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to CAP.
Congratulations to new Lieutenant Colonel Doug Dutton of Kansas Wing. Lt Col Dutton lends his expertise in Finance to the wing and his substantial pilot skills as well. Congratulations to Major Marcel Kobberdahl from Nebraska Wing and Chaplain (Lt Col) Larry Biederman of Kansas Wing who earned the Gill Robb Wilson Award. Like the Spaatz Award, this achievement requires much dedication and hard work. It is the final achievement in the senior program.
Congratulations to C/2d Lt Hannah Compton of Nebraska Wing who earned three nominations to service academies. Cadet Compton serves admirably on the NCR CAC. Congratulations are also in order for C/Lt Col Boaz Fink, serving on the NCR staff, who earned an AFROTC Type 1 Scholarship to any school of his choosing for engineering. This scholarship would pay for all tuition and a monthly living stipend, which only the top 5% of applicants receive.
In Emergency Services area, Kansas Wing had an ELT find on 24 January. NCR wings continue to support the New York Wing Predator chase mission. Wildlife surveys continued in South Dakota. Kansas Wing continued to support the American Red Cross on 11 transport missions. North Dakota wing participated on a missing person search. Nebraska Wing planned AFJROTC flights and deer spotting missions.
February looks to be a busy month as we prepare for Legislative Day, annual award submissions, and history submissions.
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.
Headquarters, North Central Region
Civil Air Patrol
211 Holliday Street
Osage City, Kansas 66523
United States of America