March began with travel to Washington DC for Legislative Day and the Command Council Meeting. I departed from Kansas City on 1 March. Col John Swain and others offered valuable training for our organization’s leaders that afternoon and evening. Legislative Day is the day that CAP leaders make appointments to visit Congressional Offices on Capitol Hill to talk about key issues of importance to Civil Air Patrol. Each wing commander makes as many appointments as possible in advance and most bring a Government Relations Officer, a cadet, or other members to assist them in sharing what CAP does and how Congress can help us accomplish our missions. On 2 March, members of CAP turned the hallways at the Capitol blue as we all visited congressional offices.

This year, our goals included:
• Full funding for CAP’s FY18 Operations and Maintenance Budget. This funding will allow CAP to purchase aircraft, vehicles, avionics upgrades, communications equipment, and computer upgrades.
• To explain how members of Congress can be members of CAP.
• To invite members of Congress to events celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Cadet Programs.

That evening, we celebrated our successes at a reception. I was able to meet up with Col Jason Bailey of North Carolina Wing and Col Arlinda Bailey of Tennessee Wing. It’s always a pleasure to meet up with relatives who live far away!

Female Leaders met for breakfast and collaboration on 3 March. Lt Col Leslie Vazquez and Lt Col Peggy Myrick organized the event. I was joined by Col Rose Hunt of Wisconsin Wing, Col Arlinda Bailey of Tennessee Wing, Col Linette Lahan of Kansas Wing, Col Martha Morris of Arizona Wing, Col Celeste Gamache of Colorado Wing, Col Carol Lynn of Nevada Wing, and Lt Col Andrea Van Buren of Georgia Wing. It’s always valuable to spend time with other leaders and share experiences and expertise. Thanks to Lt Col Vazquez and Lt Col Myrick for their efforts to plan this event!

The Command Council Meeting began later that morning with comments from MG Vazquez. He highlighted the 75th Anniversary of the CAP Cadet Program. This anniversary is especially meaningful for North Central Region because the Cadet Program began in Minnesota Wing! After opening remarks, we moved on to safety and recognition for members of the Command Council at their first or last meeting. I will be sad to see my friend Col Dan Leclair leave the Command Council. I have learned much from him in the months we served together as region commanders. Thank you for your service Col Leclair! We also welcomed some new region commanders—Col Jon Stokes in Pacific Coast Region and Col Tom Kettell in Rocky Mountain Region. Welcome to the team! The updates provided by NHQ personnel are always helpful. Thanks to all the NHQ staff members who presented! After lunch, each region was given time to meet as a group and work on initiatives. Each member of the NCR team read a chapter of a book on recruiting and retention then shared key information with our colleagues. The book we read was called 365 Ideas for Recruiting, Retaining, Motivating, and Rewarding Volunteers by Sunny Fader. Recruiting and retention are key topics in CAP so this book was very interesting. Col Linette Lahan (KS Wing) read a chapter that covered problems that can arise when working with volunteers and how to handle them. Col James Garlough (MN Wing) shared wisdom from the book on how to set volunteers up to succeed. Col John O’Neill (MO Wing) talked to the group about empowering volunteers. Col Darrell Nelson (NE Wing) shared how we can create a volunteer friendly environment. Col John Steiner (ND Wing) talked about how to cultivate a long-term commitment from volunteers. Col David Small (SD Wing) shared how we can motivate volunteers. Thanks to all the wing commanders for their preparation and the ideas that were shared. Several commanders were joined by members of their wing or staff for the discussion and business meeting. I would like to thank Col Kevin Sliwinski (NCR/GRO), Lt Col Steve Aubuchon (MOWG/CV), Lt Col Ken Schuler (NDWG/CV), Lt Col Dan Peterson (NEWG/DO), and SM Arthur Weaver (NEWG) for joining the discussion and sharing their thoughts as well. Our group had an assignment to provide input on new initiatives that would improve the CAP experience. Several members of the region sent ideas forward that were tweaked by the commanders and submitted to Major General Vazquez. Thanks to all those who contributed ideas! We finished the day with a town hall type meeting where we discussed leadership issues.

The Command Council Meeting continued on 4 March. We had a few more updates and then an open time for questions of importance. Following the open questions, we went to breakout sessions. I attended a particularly informative session on Operations. Thanks to John Desmarais for his presentation and the valuable information! Following our breakout sessions, the CSAG met with the National Cadet Advisory Council. I always enjoy hearing the opinions and proposals of the CAC. This group is the voice of the cadet program to command. As leaders, we must engage this valuable council and allow them to help shape the next 75 years of the cadet program. C/Lt Col Joshua Klosterman of SDWG serves as the NCR CAC Chair and representative to the NCAC. The NCAC did a wonderful job with proposals on the SDAs, cadet access to information in eServices, test banking for college age cadets, and opening more specialty tracks to cadets.

The evening of 4 March, I attended the Spaatz Association dinner where C/2d Lt Jack Schneider of MOWG earned a Spaatz Association Flight Scholarship. Congratulations, Cadet Schneider! I sat with Col Mark Smith, SWR/CC; Mr. Tom Schubert and his wife; and other region commanders. It was a lovely evening. I also met Mr. Kenneth Goss, Spaatz #39. We reminisced about how powerful our experiences were on the International Air Cadet Exchange. Thanks for your support of CAP and IACE, Mr. Goss! I departed for home on 5 March.

The wrap up WebEx for the UCC was on 12 March. I can’t give the students who took part in this course enough credit for their excellent work. I was blessed with a truly outstanding class of current and future commanders. I very much enjoyed interacting with the students and I can’t wait to see the good work the graduates do in the future for CAP. Congrats to Roger Eaton, Stephen Gillespie, Andrew Harsfield, Valerie Jaffee, Jeffrey Malott, Larry Morgan, John Quinn, Michael Scott, Susan Sennett-Dewitt, David Wallace, and Austin Worcester. Thanks to Lt Col Beth Ryan from Oklahoma Wing for her assistance in teaching the course.

I have several conference calls for the Unit Commander’s Course in March. We talked about how to roll out the Just in Time Workbook as well as how to proceed with updates to the content. For each onsite pilot and in the online course, we gathered a lot of data from students on how to improve the course. In the next few weeks, we will tweak the material and make changes based on the student feedback. Many thanks to all those who made suggestions for course improvement!

On 24 March, I departed for Bellevue, Nebraska for the North Central Region/NE WG Conference. It was a pleasure to join the members of Nebraska Wing for the event. We began our event with a social on Friday night. Cadets and senior members dropped in for snacks and quality time catching up. I met many senior and cadet members. One member I met at the social was SM John Krause. John joined CAP just days before the conference. Welcome aboard, John! Cadets joined Col Steve Kuddes for a table top SAREX that evening also. The cadets did a fantastic job! The conference began on Saturday morning with breakfast meetings. I met with the NCR wing commanders. We talked about a variety of topics including changes in the IG program, Safety, and Operations. NCR/IG Lt Col Jeffrey Morris flew in from his post teaching at West Point in New York to attend. Thanks for your efforts, Lt Col Morris! After breakfast, the conference began with briefings. I briefed on the state of the region and each wing commander talked about his or her wing. I talked about a variety of metrics available in eServices or on the Commander’s Dashboard. Some items are expectations; some were emphasized because it is the 75th anniversary of the Cadet Program. For each metric, I tried to provide some context as to how our region compares to others.

Here are some highlights:
• With just fewer than 4,000 members, NCR is 7th out of 8 regions in size. Our membership goal for 2017 is to be at 4025 by December. This will require everyone to recruit friends, family, and neighbors. It also requires us all to help encourage members who might otherwise leave CAP. On a positive note, NCR is 5th in overall growth, 5th in cadet membership growth, and 1st in senior member growth. Keep up the good work NCR!
• Our goal is to have 3 mission pilots or more per aircraft. IA and ND need to add mission pilots to meet this goal. As a region, we are 5th in this area with 3.07 mission pilots/aircraft. Let’s help more of our VFR pilots (we rank 3rd in this area) become mission pilots!
• Aircraft utilization is an area where we need more emphasis. The goal is 200 hours/aircraft per year. No wing is meeting that goal. South Dakota Wing has the highest use with just over 100 hours per aircraft. Iowa had the lowest at just over 27 hours per aircraft. We rank 5th in this area as a region. We need to fly our aircraft or we may lose some.
• Cadets who get an orientation ride are more likely to stay in CAP. We have two stats that address this in eServices. Iowa Wing leads our region in the percentage of new cadets getting an orientation ride in 180 days. Iowa Wing and South Dakota Wing are both doing well ensuring 70% of cadets or more get an orientation flight. As a region, we are 3rd in orientation ride percentage for new cadets in 180 days and 4th in overall orientation ride percentage. The goal is 70% and our region is at 66.7%. Keep flying cadets!
• Cadets who progress stay in CAP. Senior leaders with TLC lead a stronger cadet program. All NCR wings exceed the goal of 50% of cadets earning the Curry Award in 8 weeks. Most wings exceed the 2 TLC graduations per unit goal. North Dakota Wing needs more members with TLC. As a region, we rank 3rd in the percentage of units with two officers having had TLC and 6th in Curry Awards in 8 weeks. Good work, NCR!
• Aerospace Education is one of our missions. One measure of internal AE is the percentage of units participating in AEX. South Dakota, Iowa, and Missouri have good AEX participation. Overall, NCR ranks 5th among the regions in AEX percentage.
• The percentage of Quality Cadet Units in a wing is a measure of success of the Cadet Program. Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri have the highest percentage of QCUs in NCR. Overall, NCR ranks 2nd among the regions in this area. Great work!
• NCR is a great place to be a cadet. NCR leads the other regions in percentage of cadets who earn the Wright Brothers Award. We are within 1% of the national average for Mitchell Awards. NCR exceeds the national average for Earhart Awards. We also lead the other regions in the percentage of Eaker Awards.
• The number of open reports of survey in the region gives us an idea of good stewardship of resources. I am proud to share that we have the 2nd lowest number of reports of survey with 9. In addition, NCR was one of only two regions to complete 100% of its annual inventories on time. Great work!
• Every member can help NCR continue to excel. Recruit and retain members. Focus on the missions. Help cadets fly, promote, and excel. Participate in AEX. Fly and train in Emergency Services. Continue your good stewardship of resources.
• I shared with conference attendees that we can learn a lesson from Lindy, the Missouri Wing mule. I related a story of Lindy getting stuck in a crevice while working in the Logistics section at Pathfinders at Fort Leonard Wood because the Safety Officer failed to do adequate ORM. They just couldn’t get Lindy out and then rocks and dirt started to fall in the crevice. Lindy didn’t despair, hem, haw or complain. Lindy just shook off the dirt and stepped up on it. Pretty soon Lindy was not in a crevice any more. She was eating grass in greener pastures. My challenge to the region is to be like Lindy. Let’s shake off our challenges, step up, and show everyone that NCR is where success is grown!

On Saturday afternoon, I joined conference guest speaker Brigadier General Richard Anderson for an open forum where members could ask questions. It was a nice opportunity to share some of CAP’s initiatives and my experiences with members. It is always a pleasure to work with General Anderson. I first met him when I was a cadet at Region Cadet Leadership School at Whiteman AFB in Missouri. He was then serving as CAP’s National Vice Commander. I have always followed his successes and his work in CAP has always been an inspiration to me. General Anderson is a former cadet who earned the Spaatz Award. He served as Nebraska Wing Commander, North Central Region Commander, National Vice Commander, National Commander, Chairman of the Board of Governors, and more. He currently serves in the legislature in Virginia. It was great to catch up with him. I always learn something when I am around General Anderson! The banquet on Saturday evening was a wonderful event. I had a great time celebrating the successes of the members of our region. The conference planning team did a splendid job and the decorations were beautiful. I sat next to Brigadier General Keith Schell of the Nebraska Air National Guard. He is a great supporter of CAP and I enjoyed chatting with him. I was particularly pleased to see the families of members receiving awards present to celebrate with them. Family support is critical for success, especially for cadets. Thanks to the families of three cadets for the support they provide: C/Lt Col Kole Tilson of Missouri Wing, the NCR Cadet of the Year; C/Major Luke Young of Missouri Wing, the Brewer Award Recipient in the Cadet Category; and C/CMSgt Austin Hermanson of Iowa Wing, the NCO of the Year. I know your cadets also appreciate your support!

After attending the tabletop SAREX on Sunday morning, I departed for home. The first joint North Central Region and Nebraska Wing Conference was a remarkable success. I want to extend special thanks to the host wing and to the planners. On the Nebraska Wing planning team Col Steve Kuddes, Lt Col Madeline Kennedy, Capt Amanda Peters, and Lt Rachel Peters did an amazing job. Col David Plum led the NCR team of Col Tom Theis, Lt Col Bonnie Braun, SMSgt Mike Mudry, and C/Capt Ethan Compton.

Congratulations to South Dakota Wing and Missouri Wing on earning the right to represent North Central Region at the National Cadet Competition this summer.

March was a busy month for operations.
Iowa Wing conducted SAR training.
Kansas Wing conducted AFROTC flights, damage assessment, and 10 American Red Cross missions.
Minnesota Wing conducted SAR training and an ELT search.
Missouri Wing conducted AFROTC and AFJROTC flights, a SAREX, and a flight clinic.
North Dakota Wing conducted SAR training and AFROTC and AFJROTC flights.
Nebraska Wing conducted a table top SAREX and a flight clinic.
South Dakota Wing conducted AFROTC flights and had a find on a missing aircraft search.

Kudos to:
C/Col James Craig on earning the General Carl A. Spaatz Award.
Upcoming Events:
• Region Staff College, Nebraska. Col Steve Kuddes, Director. 17-24 June 2017. For more info email swkuddes@gmail.com
• Region Staff College, Missouri. Major Austin Worcester, Director. 26-31 December 2017. For more info email aworcester@ncr.cap.gov
• AEO School (Joplin, MO). Lt Col Bill Sander, Director. 5-9 June 2017. For more info email William.sander@mowgcap.org

It is always nice to be able to work with commanders and support them face-to-face; I had several opportunities in April.
On April 11, I had dinner with Col Linette Lahan, the Kansas Wing Commander.  Thanks for dropping in on your way to a squadron meeting, Col Lahan.
On April 21, Col David Plum flew me to the North Dakota Wing Conference. We were able to talk about a lot of initiatives and ideas on the four-hour trip. We were joined by former North Dakota Wing Commander and NCR Vice Commander Col Tom Weston. Col Bill Kay, also a former North Dakota Wing Commander, joined us in Dickinson. Finally, Lt Col Bonnie Braun joined us to help with Cadet Programs and DDR activities. North Dakota had a great event with about 80 members attending the conference. I shared a state of the region brief and also spoke about Commitment at the banquet. Congratulations to C/Capt Anika Bohmer on earning the Earhart Award. South Dakota scheduled their conference for the same weekend so Col Tom Theis, NCR/CV, and Chaplain Lt Col Don Mikitta went to the South Dakota Wing event.
On April 21, I began teaching another section of the Online Unit Commander’s Course; we have four future instructors participating. Thanks to Lt Col Beth Ryan, Major Rob Rothenberg, Major Austin Worcester, and Capt Jim Jagow. We have about 50 students in the second course. They are keeping us all busy with grading and questions. It’s a really interactive group and I look forward to spending the next eight weeks with them. Through the introductions discussion I found that one of the students was a cadet the same time as I, and we attended PJOC together at Kirtland AFB in NM in 1991. What a small world!
On 25 April, Lt Col Eric Davis generously volunteered to fly me to Columbia, Missouri to present the Central Missouri Composite Squadron with the NCR Squadron of Distinction Award. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and we were unable to make the trip and I’ll have to catch up with them in the near future. Thank you to Lt Col Davis for offering to fly me to Columbia for the presentation and congrats to Central Missouri Composite Squadron on earning Squadron of Distinction for their excellent numbers in recruiting, retention, milestone awards, orientation flights, and first time encampments. The unit is aptly led by Major Mike McCrady and a great group of cadet and senior officers. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to CAP!
On April 26, I departed for joint North Central Region/Rocky Mountain Region Chaplain Staff College (RCSC) in Bellevue, Nebraska. The college is conducted at the Columban Father’s retreat near Omaha. The event has a very dedicated staff and I interacted with members of several wings including Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. Chaplain Colonel Jay Hughes of Georgia, CAP Chief of Chaplains, joined us for the event. It’s always nice to see Chaplain Hughes as we served as wing commanders at the same time. Chaplain Lt Col Daniel Hudson, served as Director this year with the assistance of several other veteran staff members like Chaplain Van Loon, Chaplain Van Horn, and Chaplain Mikitta. One focus of the school was military funeral honors and CMSgt Robert Dandridge helped teach and arrange a panel with first sergeants from Offutt Air Force Base. Lt Col Shirley Rodriguez, a CDI from Kansas Wing, gave an inspirational morning devotional on Thursday, using one of my favorite songs, “Sweet By and By.” We had a great banquet at the end of the event hosted by the Papillion LDS Stake. What a wonderful group of young people who served us an amazing meal! The color guard for the evening was provided by the General Curtis E. Lemay Composite Squadron and they did a great job. CMSgt Robert Dandridge introduced the guest speaker for the evening, retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Victor Rountree, who was a long time colleague and who gave an inspiring address that shared both his faith and his experiences. It was such a privilege to speak with CMSgt Rountree and his wife that evening. This was my first time attending the RCSC and I was impressed with it. I can’t wait to attend next year!
Late on April 27, I departed for the Minnesota Wing Conference in Breezy Point, Minnesota. It was a long drive but I was accompanied by Chaplain Major Jill Holm from Minnesota Wing. I very much enjoyed getting to know her better on the long drive from Omaha to Breezy Point. Chaplain Holm gave me a very special gift—a copy of a book she wrote about her much loved horse. Thanks for the thoughtful present, Chaplain! I will enjoy reading God’s Gift of Mr. Top Bars Twist: Slickers, Life Lessons and Horse Sense. The conference began on Friday night with a social event attended by many members. Saturday saw about 350 attend the conference. I shared the state of the region presentation with the membership and highlighted some successes in Minnesota Wing. Following the general assembly, we had some great sessions all day and a very nice display of historical information at the event. Col James Garlough and I facilitated a town hall meeting on Saturday afternoon and fielded some good questions from members. Following the town hall, we all changed for the banquet. Brigadier General John Kubinec spoke at the banquet. The general was on hand to present the Senior Member of the Year Award to Lt Col Marcel Kobberdahl for his many contributions to CAP over the years. It was very touching because Marcel is General Kubinec’s son-in-law. General Kubinec has several other connections to CAP. He is a friend of CAP-USAF Commander Col Mike Tyynismaa and he served on deployment with NCLR Commander Lt Col Jeff Meyers. General Kubinec delivered wise words with a dose of humor and his comments were very well received. He also handed out several awards. I was pleased to be able to see fellow Blue Beret C/Lt Col Emmit Richardson receive his Eaker Award from the general. Emmit proudly serves as an example to others and fulfills the tenets of the Beret Creed. Congratulations C/Lt Col Richardson! On Sunday, I met with the CAC and then drove about 12 hours to get home. Rain and road construction made it a long day!
My travels in April consisted of about 3400 miles. In a ten-day period, I set foot in every wing in the region and attended events in four different wings. I enjoy getting out and seeing the good work being done in the wings and squadrons. I continue to see great things from the amazing members of North Central Region.
A busy few weeks of travel continues in May, which will bring the CSAG retreat in Tennessee and the National Staff College at Maxwell AFB in Alabama. I am honored that I was asked to teach mentoring to the college.
April was a busy month in Operations. Iowa Wing participated in a fly-in. Kansas Wing executed nearly a dozen missions carrying blood for the American Red Cross. In addition, Kansas completed SAR training, searched for an ELT, and conducted AFJROTC orientation flights with two units and AFROTC rides for students at KSU and KU. Minnesota Wing also flew AFJROTC and AFROTC cadets on orientation rides. Minnesota conducted an air defense mission and assisted with a low level route survey also. Missouri Wing responded to flooding. North Dakota Wing completed a Water Commission Survey, AFJROTIC orientation flights, and had a SAR Evaluation Exercise. Nebraska Wing flew AFJROTC Orientation flights also in April. South Dakota Wing had a compliance inspection and a low level route survey.
Please help me in welcoming Lt Col Eric Shappee to the NCR staff. He will be assisting with safety. He is a former Kansas Wing Vice Commander and former member of the National Safety Team. We are lucky to have someone with Eric’s knowledge and skills join our team!

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.

I spent the first few days of July in Dayton, Ohio at the National Cadet Competition. I’ve never had the privilege of attending NCC; what an amazing event! I would encourage all wings to try to field a team. Your cadets can really benefit from this opportunity! If they are lucky enough to represent region and attend the national event, all the better!
I was honored to spend time with both the Missouri Wing team (consisting of C/CMSgt Zane Doering, C/2d Lt Zach Bray, C/2d Lt Marc Fritsche, C/MSgt Reagan Hess, C/TSgt Erin Vallie, and C/SSgt Jacob Hobbs with Major Jennifer Smith and Major Mike Toedebusch serving as escorts) and the South Dakota Wing team (made up of Cadets Peter Willison, David Willison, Isaiah Klosterman, Annabelle Klosterman, Caleb Hofer, and Mariel Klosterman and  chaperoned by 1st Lt Tyler Gross, and 1st Lt Mimi Klosterman). Two North Central Region cadets did a great job serving on staff also. C/Lt Col Joshua Klosterman of SD WG, the NCR CAC Chair, and C/Lt Col Boaz Fink, who is on the NCR staff, served as event staff and did a great job. The cadets participated in several events: indoor drill, outdoor flag raising, team leadership problem, robotics, physical fitness, mile run, standard drill, quiz bowl, uniform inspection, written test, impromptu public speaking, public speaking, and a community service project. Finally, the teams did geocaching at the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB. Let’s explore the events a bit as other teams can benefit in the future.
Indoor drill consisted of the teams posting the colors as they would for an event.
Outdoor presentation consisted of raising, lowering, and honoring the colors on an outdoor pole. Puerto Rico Wing was impressive in outdoor presentation—wow! They could give you goose bumps with their performance in this event.
For team leadership, the cadets were given a problem to solve in a time limit. Cadets received the tools they need as well as some distractions. The Missouri Wing team struggled with this challenge but completed it in a very innovative way. Our team literally was down to using its teeth to complete it! This was very exciting to watch.
For robotics, the cadets did a human calculator and also programmed a robot to follow a course. Many of the robots took a slightly different path than was planned but the cadets seemed to enjoy the event.
For uniform inspection, cadets were given a scenario about a cadet. The judges read a biography for a cadet telling how long she had been in CAP, what events she participated in, and gave cadets all the tools to build a correct uniform with badges, devices, and ribbons. While two cadets worked the uniform problem, two were inspected by the judges.
The community service projects were completed before attending. Teams submitted a media presentation talking about their project that the judges reviewed. The cadets from South Dakota digitized cemetery records and took photos of grave markers. This is helpful for genealogists, historians, and families of those who have passed. What a great way to serve the community and state! The Missouri Wing team service project taught aerospace at a disadvantaged school. It was clear from the team spirit and smiles that the cadets very much enjoyed the event.
The Missouri Wing team placed second in Robotics and the Team Leadership Problem. The South Dakota Wing team placed third in Physical Fitness—those cadets can do some sit ups and push-ups! I heard one of the judges say that Cadet Klosterman should do a video for the proper form for push-ups. The South Dakota team also had great flexibility on the sit and reach test. I also very much enjoyed a speech presented by South Dakota Wing on the “Unwanted Job.” The Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB is absolutely amazing! The hangars are full of aircraft and a savvy visitor can find CAP mentioned in several places. Aircraft used by CAP are on display. I toured the museum with Col Ed Phelka, the Great Lakes Region Commander. We enjoyed talking about history and airpower before taking in a great 3D movie on airpower. We finished up with lunch in the cafeteria with Col Barry Melton, the Southeast Region Commander. Congratulations to all who participated and thank you for representing North Central Region! I hope to see several wing teams compete at the April 2018 Region Cadet Competition at Camp Ashland, NE.
July is a heavy month for National Cadet Special Activities. These events are one of the best parts of the Cadet Program and I would encourage every cadet to take advantage of them. Several cadets from NCR travelled to Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama to hone their leadership skills at Cadet Officer School. Cadets attending COS included Cadet Sara Pineda (NE), Oakley Barham (MO), Nicholas Risko (MO), Noah Enders (KS), Annalisa Tostenson (MN), Abigail Browning (MN), and Jack Trombley (MN). Kudos to these cadets for fulfilling a requirement for the Lt Col Ira Eaker Award and improving themselves at this premier event! Cadet Marie Williams of Missouri Wing and Cadet Josiah Sterns of Iowa Wing chose to attend the Cyberdefense Familiarization Course. Cadet Lauren Wiseley of Minnesota Wing attended the Engineering Technologies Academy at Camp Pendleton for Robotics.
While some cadets chose an academic path, others chose a physically demanding activity. Cadet Greg Matya of Nebraska Wing, Travis Crawford of Missouri Wing, Emily Hackbarth of Minnesota Wing, Ian Paschelke of Minnesota Wing, and Curt Baker of Kansas Wing attended Hawk Mountain Ranger School. I know from my days as a cadet that Hawk is a physically demanding course. I remember fondly my days running the obstacle course on foggy mornings and playing three ball soccer. I can still remember the Ranger Creed from my days in Pennsylvania . . .
Three cadets from NCR chose activities where they learned about flying in July. Cadet Oakley Barham from Missouri Wing attended the powered Flight Academy in Mankato, Minnesota and Steven Frazee of Missouri Wing attended the glider Flight Academy in Tennessee. I had the good fortune of seeing Cadet Barham in Minnesota when I visited the NFA there. Cadet Logan Kuehl of Iowa Wing attended the Model and Remote Control Academy in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Finally, NCR’s cadet NCO of the Year opted to attend National Blue Beret in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Cadet Austin Hermanson honed his leadership skills, practiced his emergency services skills, and enjoyed an amazing aerospace event. I missed NBB this year as I was presenting at a conference for work. As a Beret, I can assure you there is no other activity like NBB. You will see and do things in Oshkosh you will remember for a lifetime! In the dozen or more years I have spent at Oshkosh, I have never been disappointed!
In addition to NCSAs, July is a busy month for encampments. The week after NCC, I visited the Joint Dakota Cadet Leadership Academy at Camp Rapid, South Dakota. North and South Dakota have been doing this event as a joint encampment for 25 years! Isn’t that amazing? What a wonderful example of collaboration and teamwork. Kudos to the Dakotas for their work together! Col David Small gave me a tour of the event. I saw many people I often see at CAP activities. Lt Mimi Klosterman and Tyler Gross were at encampment working in Public Affairs. Capt Michael Johnson, who I saw take command of a unit last year, served as encampment commander. Col Mary Donley was serving on staff as well as Lt Col Linda Buechler. C/Major Anika Bohmer, who serves on the NCR CAC, was on hand to serve as cadet commander. The cadets from SD who had just been at NCC the week before were at Camp Rapid training the next generation of leaders, what a dedicated crew! Thank you for your hospitality, South Dakota Wing. Also, thanks to Lt Col Doug Dutton and Capt Sky Caldwell of Kansas Wing for flying me to Rapid City.
The week after I visited the JDCLE, I visited the National Flight Academy at Mankato, Minnesota. The event utilized three great facilities. Cadets in the powered track flew out of Mankato. Cadets in the glider track flew out of New Ulm. Cadets and staff ate and stayed at Gustavus Adolphus College in Mankato. I had the good fortune to have dinner with the cadets and the university was absolutely beautiful and a very gracious host. One could not ask for a nicer facility and cadets really seemed to enjoy the meals! The weather was good and many flights were completed in both gliders and the powered track. I appreciate Activity Director Lt Col Conrad Peterson giving me a tour and allowing me to observe glider operations and talk with the powered flight students. Thanks to Major JoEllen Peters for the ride to the airport and back. Also, thanks to Lt Col Doug Dutton and Capt Sky Caldwell for flying me to Minnesota to visit this amazing event. This was my first trip to see the NFA in Mankato.
My July activities for CAP included some continued work with the LDWG and a CSAG call. Then I was off to New Orleans on behalf of my work to present at a conference. I also offered some assistance to the PAO team at NBB at a distance. I am always ready to help my fellow Berets!
Several cadets completed milestone awards in July. Congratulations to Cadet Luke Young of Missouri Wing for earning the General Ira C. Eaker Award. Congratulations to newly promoted Lt Col Daren Jaeger of Kansas Wing.
July missions included some SAR training in Nebraska and Missouri Wings, media flights in North Dakota, and teacher flights in Iowa. Missouri also worked on a Low Level Route Survey. Minnesota had a find on an ELT search and Kansas had four finds on three ELT missions. Kansas also participated in a Low Level Route Survey and more than fifteen missions for the American Red Cross transporting blood products.
I am going to combine August/September as it will mainly focus on the Command Council meeting in San Antonio, which bridges the two months.

August was a lighter travel month for CAP but busy nonetheless. The big projects we worked on in August were related to planning. We closed out 2017 and began FY 2018. The Command Council Meeting, the biggest event, spanned August and early September so I thought I would combine this entry.
I travelled to San Antonio to attend the Board of Governor’s (BoG) meeting on 22 August. Two new members of the Board of Governor’s that I helped select were present. Col Dale Newell and Col Brad Linn were selected at the May CSAG retreat. It is always fascinating to see our governing body in action. We have some very thoughtful and insightful people serving. I presented the upcoming work of the Leadership Development Working Group (LDWG) to the BoG and it was well received. The BoG is both interested and supportive of our efforts to better educate and develop our members. I also presented the same information to the Command Council to keep other leaders updated on our progress and to shamelessly seek volunteers for our upcoming work.
Our work on the LDWG will focus on several projects in the next 18 months. First, we have to decide if the five Level PD program is the right fit for CAP today. That task is called M1 and will be completed at the end of October. I am leading that effort using some great info gathered from National Staff Colleges, Region Staff Colleges, and discussions held in the last year.
The M2 project explores what our PD program should look like related to the high level outline (five levels or other) and determines what courses and topics belong in each level. M2 kicks off after we complete M1.
M3 is the project that will create the content for the new courses. We will need lots of good volunteers to help with the curriculum writing aspect especially those with lesson plan experience or instructional design skills—volunteer today!
M4 is being led by Col Dean Gould and it is on how to improve the mentoring program in CAP.
M5 is led by Lt Col James Peace and focused on equivalency training both for professionals but also former and current military personnel.
M6 is centered on a modular approach to training and an SQTR for leadership training that cross populates like our ES quals and it is led by Lt Col Joe Curry.
M7 is tasked with reviewing the specialty tracks and working with the OPRs on those and is led by Col Burrell.
Chief Master Sergeant Dennis Orcutt is leading a team of NCOs who are lining out NCO PD practices for task M8.
A C3 team led by Col John O’Neill is looking at revisions to the Command Specialty Track.
A C4 team led by Col Jason Bailey is working to revise the Commander’s Dashboard.
Finally, a C5 team led by Col Joe Winter is working on a leadership cohort concept. The team leads and I meet each month by conference call to brainstorm, share ideas, and provide updates on progress. Overall, the work of the LDWG has the potential to transform CAP. It’s a great project and a great group of teams working on it. I feel privileged to be involved in these efforts! As an extension of the work of the LDWG last year, I co-presented a session with my friend and fellow Spaatz cadet Ms. Bobbie Tourville from CAP NHQ on the new UCC. We had some great questions from those who attended!
Another highlight of the Command Council Meeting was a presentation by astronaut and CAP member Eric Boe.
Eric shows a picture of himself as a young cadet looking at a model of the space shuttle in the National Air and Space Museum. He shares all the good experiences he had in the CAP cadet program including learning to fly and his journey to the Spaatz Award. He later attended the USAFA and became an astronaut. He shared his amazing experiences and photos from his missions to and in space. Eric finished his Air Force career as a colonel and is still an active senor member in Texas Wing. In CAP, he held the grade of lieutenant colonel until he was promoted to colonel at the Command Council Meeting. I was proud of the action the CSAG took to recognize his service to CAP.
In a lovely ceremony presided over by Lieutenant General Judy Fedder, Col Mark Smith who had served as Southwest Region Commander, was promoted to Major General and assumed command of CAP from MG Joseph Vazquez. MG Smith asked two cadets to help with the promotion ceremony and one was fellow Beret C/Col Jodie Gawthrop. MG General Smith selected GLR/CC Col Ed Phelka as his vice commander so Col Phelka was promoted to Brigadier General at the same ceremony. Brigadier General Phelka is a former cadet who completed the program and earned the Spaatz Award. I have enjoyed working with MG Smith and BG Phelka as members of the CSAG and I look forward to them leading CAP over the next three years. Both are strategic thinkers and very dedicated to CAP’s missions.
MG Smith shared his vision with members of the Command Council as, “One Civil Air Patrol excelling in service to the nation and members.” He shared that his leadership will be defined by one team pursuing excellence. He is an advocate of servant leadership. He expects leaders to take care of people, hold them accountable, and model the core values. MG Smith plans on focusing on safety, compliance, aircrew professionalism, self-improvement, and leadership training/education. He sees the need for CAP to prepare for new missions to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world. He has a goal of dusting the rust off pilots and increasing the numbers of those flying. He also wants to focus on CAP’s financial standing and to strengthen it. In order to accomplish these goals, MG Smith has set up several committees and small teams to work on specific issues such as the glider program, cadet flight scholarships, and more.
Two senior officers completed Level 5 of the Civil Air Patrol Professional Development program and earned the Gill Robb Wilson Award in August and September: Lt Col Roger Eaton of Kansas Wing and Lt Col John Greenwald of Missouri Wing.
Cadet Lt Col Justin Smith of Missouri Wing earned the General Ira C. Eaker Award in August 2017.
Four senior members earned promotion to the grade of lieutenant colonel in August and September: Al Frazier of South Dakota Wing, Tom Martin of Missouri Wing, Mike McClellan of Nebraska Wing, and Brian Mishmash of Iowa Wing. Congratulations to all these members on earning these prestigious awards!
At the end of September, I flew with Major Tom Cannon and Major Rick Veach to visit the Wentzville Squadron near St. Louis. Thanks to Major Cannon and Major Veach for the very nice Charles R. Long squadron baseball CAP!
En route to the meeting, we flew through a rainbow; that was a first for me! It was amazing. The colors were brilliant! The Wentzville unit held a very nice event to honor the 75th anniversary of the cadet program. Major Jennifer Smith, the squadron commander, planned for families and friends to join CAP members in the celebration. Several former cadets spoke about how the program impacted them and what opportunities the program offers. In my remarks, I asked cadets to do four things: live by the Core Values, explore all the cadet program has to offer, find your passion, and be the leader you can be in all aspects of your life. Leadership does not end when we are not wearing our uniforms and professionalism goes with everything. The evening ended with promotions and awards. I enjoyed presenting C/CMSgt Doering with a Region Commander’s Commendation for his work with the NCR Cadet Competition team.
The wings of NCR kept busy in August and September with Operations. Iowa Wing conducted SAR training and supported the FLY Iowa event. Kansas Wing conducted more than 20 transport missions for the American Red Cross, SAR training, and 4 sets of AFJROTC orientation flights. Minnesota Wing had 4 ELT missions that ended in 2 finds as well as an Aircrew SARCOMP. Missouri Wing conducted SAR training and their annual Minuteman Mission photographing old missile silos. North Dakota Wing searched for two ELTs and conducted SAR training. Nebraska Wing held a flight clinic. South Dakota Wing conducted SAR training, a 206 Flight Clinic, and flew a teacher on an orientation flight. In addition to these missions, several wings in NCR sent aircraft and crews to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
The NCR CAC transitioned in September 2017 from the leadership of C/Lt Col Joshua Klosterman of South Dakota Wing to C/Capt Noah Enders of Kansas Wing. C/Lt Col Klosterman is a very thoughtful leader. It has been a pleasure working with him and seeing the good work he has led the NCR CAC to accomplish and his wonderful contributions to the NCAC. He has just a few tasks left such as sending the wing commanders letters about the performance of their representatives to the NCR CAC last year and awards recommendations for members of the council he led. C/Capt Enders, who served on the council last term, is well set for success in the upcoming year. As well as serving as chair, Enders will serve as an assistant representative to the NCAC. C/Capt Donald Leonhardt of Kansas Wing is the new NCR CAC representative to the NCAC. C/Major Josiah Horn of MO WG transitioned out of the NCR CAC recorder position. We thank him for his excellent service. C/Capt Meredith Wichman of NE Wing has stepped up to serve as the recorder for the new term. Finally, C/Major Anika Bohmer of ND WG is the new NCR CAC vice chair. I look forward to working with the CAC in the coming year. They are an important voice for the cadet program. I am always proud of our region’s council as they do excellent work. Thanks to all the cadets who served last year and all who have stepped up to serve in the new year!

October was a busy month! The cavalcade of calls continued and my travel schedule increased as well. This allowed me to visit some amazing events and see some great volunteers in action!
I continued to complete F40s with the wing commanders in October. I very much enjoy talking to the commanders about their goals and the great progress being made in North Central Region. We have a great team of leaders. I was able to complete five F40s in October—three by phone and two in person. When possible, I prefer to meet the commanders face to face. Sometimes distance and schedule do not allow us that luxury. I was very impressed by the quality of our phone discussions this year. The wing commanders were very thoughtful in their responses, and I learned more about the good things they are doing. I am lucky to be the commander in North Central Region!
The region staff is approximately 45-50 people. This means a conference call would be a lot of one-way communication. Rather than one big staff call, we meet in small teams. My small team includes Col Theis and Col Weston (the vice commanders), Col Plum (Chief of Staff), Lt Col Plum (Finance), Lt Col Blodgett (Legal), Lt Col Morris (IG), SMSgt Mudry (Command NCO), and Col Kuddes (RSC/RCLS). We met on the 5th to talk about what is going on nationally and do the business of the region. Once we meet, each vice commander and the Chief of Staff have a team meeting for their groups of about 10-15 personnel. This allows information to be shared but better conversations to develop than one big group.
On the 9th, I began teaching the third section of the Online Unit Commander’s Course. About 50 students expressed interest in taking the online course. This course is like a college level online course in that it takes about 45 hours of time over 8 weeks to complete. I was blessed with a great group of students in this section! We immediately found synergy and began posting on the forums, etc. I am excited to spend the next eight weeks with these amazing leaders.
On the 14th, I visited Iowa Wing. I dropped in at Des Moines Composite Squadron (IA-002) and met their cadets and seniors, including 1st Lt Alex Paul, who became their squadron commander in July and is working hard to build his unit. He is doing some great work—they are experiencing a 56% up tick in cadet membership and 13% growth in senior membership. I also had the pleasure of seeing Lt Col George Kellison who gave up his oak leaves to join the CAP NCO Corps as a SMSgt. He will be a great addition to the NCOs in CAP. I also met with Col Elliott while in Iowa.
On the 15th, I served on the Pre-Selection Committee for the Board of Governors (BoG) vacancy. When there is an opening on the BoG for a CAP member-at-large, individuals self-nominate. The individuals cannot be a commander, vice commander, or chief of staff at the wing or higher level. Additionally, the person may not be a member of the National Commander’s staff or a corporate employee. Members who wish to serve as the member-at-large representative must meet all requirements set forth in CAPR 35-9. The National Executive Officer, Col Arlinda Bailey served as the chair of a committee appointed by MG Smith to review the applications and choose 5 for interviews. Col Jack Ozer, NER/CC, also served on the committee. We had a great discussion regarding this group of candidates. After much debate, we chose the top five who would be interviewed by the CSAG at our November meeting at Maxwell AFB in Alabama.
I had a CSAG call on the 17th. These calls are held the third Tuesday of each month. They are always very informative and we have some great discussions. I followed the CSAG call by having a call with the wing commanders to share important information on the 18th. On the 19th, I doubled up with a call with the NCR/IG to touch base and then followed up by a webex with the online Unit Commander’s Course. Our guest for the Webex was CAP/CC and CEO, MG Mark Smith. The students were excited to ask General Smith question and interact with him. Many thanks to MG Smith for making time in his busy schedule to serve as a guest in the online UCC.
The 20th-22nd, I found myself in Osage Beach for the Missouri Wing Conference. I joined MG Smith and about 100 stalwart members of Missouri Wing to celebrate a year of successes and innovation. Missouri Wing has had a great year. While their ES capability and programs like Pathfinders continue to grow, their Cadet Program has also had many successes. Missouri had the NCR Cadet of the Year with C/Lt Col Young, hosted an RCLS, had a huge encampment, increased the number of Quality Cadet Units, and hosted the MARC NCSA among other Cadet Programs accomplishments. These are a fine tribute to the Cadet Program in its 75th year. However, the mission where I think Missouri Wing shines is our oft forgotten or under emphasized mission of Aerospace Education. Cameroonian president Paul Biya said about the concept of mission, “I want to believe that those who have been appointed to accomplish this mission will be totally committed, devoting all their skills and determination to their work. I urge you to lend them your support so that, together, we can build that bright future worthy of our country.” This quote describes Missouri Wing’s AE efforts. The MO WG team is truly committed and devoted to their work. They have Major Trumbly and his work at the Aerospace Science and Technology Center in Joplin that has educated thousands about AE. They have 2nd Lt Sampath Samarasinghe who devised a plan to educate the masses and inspire them about AE at the Kansas Motor Speedway. They have members like Capt Katrina Everhart leading their program and 1st Lt Don Prevost who has spent a lifetime in the aerospace community who shares his love for aviation with others in Columbia. The wing celebrated and studied the eclipse. Missouri Wing members have truly come together to support each other, inspire youth to learn more about AE and STEM, and make our future better. The wing has inspired over a hundred to join as AEMs and has built relationships with teachers and other professions to grow external AE programs. The hours spent have been countless. If the members of Missouri Wing can come together and achieve what they have done–the future of our youth, your wing, and our country is indeed bright. We were honored to hear MG Smith speak on the topic of mentoring and its importance. MG Smith and I also took the opportunity to promote Major Sarah Wildman, the NCR/SE, to lieutenant colonel. MG Smith met Lt Col Wildman at the National Safety Officer College in June and was kind enough to assist with this promotion. The guest speaker for the banquet was Col Grace Link, Chief of the Air Staff of the Missouri Air National Guard. She shared her story about the important of mentoring and how the interest others took in her took her from modest means to a very distinguished military career that has touched the lives of many in a positive way. She was an absolutely inspiring speaker. Missouri Wing honored its Cadet of the Year, C/Lt Col Justin Smith who honored his mentor, Maj Joe St. Clair. For senior of the year, they honored CMSgt Robert Dandridge. Chief Dandridge, as you know from previous Trajectories, is an amazing member of CAP. He gives freely of his time and energy and is involved in activities all over the nation. He is a retired Air Force chief master sergeant. He shares his distinguished military experiences at numerous activities each year. He is involved in both cadet and senior programs. He also works with the NCO program and Chaplain Corps. I am honored to serve with Chief Dandridge. He always has an encouraging word and big smile. Professionalism and service are two of his hallmarks. Congratulations to all the award winners!
I met by phone with the Leadership Development Working group on the 26th to update progress and talk about how the 11 projects in our job jar all related. The calls with the team leads are very interesting and we have some great ideas bouncing around! I am very excited to see how the great things they are working on for professional development in CAP turn out when they are done!
On the 27th, I headed to Salina for the Kansas Wing Conference. It’s always nice to visit old friends who are like family. Since Kansas Wing is my wing of origin, I always enjoy visiting. It’s like being at a family reunion! We had an exciting Friday night social with pulled pork cooked by Lt Col Doug Dutton. It was delicious! The next morning, the wing had its general assembly with briefings and awards. The day was filled with informative seminars. That evening, we gathered at the Marriott where Col Burgess Rennels, myself, and C/Lt Col Ecclesia Settanni shared our experiences, the importance of mentors, and the cadet program in our lives. Oprah Winfrey said of mentors, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” CAP makes a difference in the lives of its members. I know I came to CAP a shy, 17 year-old and it has helped me develop into a leader. CAP provides a valuable support network that many need to find success. I like to refer to the Cadet Program as a 16-step program for success! My competitive nature comes from a desire to not be left behind and to be normal. Hard work can really help with success! I have learned a lot in CAP. Among the most important lessons I have learned is that the Core Values are an excellent guide for life. Caring about others is important and it makes a difference. Explore all CAP has to offer and find your passion. Once you find it, let it impact you in amazing ways. Don’t lose faith. When life deals you a difficult hand, overcome it. Rely on your support network and inner strength. Celebrate the success of others—don’t wish for what they have and focus on the disappointments. Focus on making your dreams come true. It will come—in time—with hard work. Finally, be a mentor to others. Make a difference in the lives of others. Colin Powell said, “All . . . of us have the ability to serve as a mentor—to step forward and say, “I’m going to be a mentor, because I want this generation to take America to a higher level, a better place.” That is the power you have as a mentor and a CAP member. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by! Lt Col Daren Jaeger, who was unable to attend, donated many models and other flight related door prizes and few left the banquet without a prize. One lucky member even won a ride in a bi-plane! After the banquet, the wing gathered for a costume party and cadet ball. There was no doubt that I chose the right costume when I walked in and the cadets immediately recognized me with an enthusiastic, “Amelia Earhart!” The cadets had a variety of questions for me ranging from where I left my plane to where I had been for all those years. A good time was had by all as I made up answers to their inquiries. On Sunday, I traveled back home where my pugs were very glad that I was home!
Monday night, the 30th, had me back on the phone helping Lt Col Beth Ryan of Oklahoma Wing with a webinar on WMIRS and eServices for the online UCC course. That was the end of my CAP activities in October and I ended the month halfway through six straight weekends of CAP-related travel. Next month, my journey will continue in Minnesota, Alabama, and Illinois.
The NCR Wings were busy with missions in October. Kansas Wing completed 10 missions for the American Red Cross and still had time to find an ELT. Minnesota Wing fielded teams on 3 ELT searches. North Dakota Wing spent some time training at a SAREX and on an ELT search. Missouri Wing held a SAREX. South Dakota Wing continued to serve by flying animal surveys, flying a news reporter who is doing a three-part story on CAP, and holding a bivouac in the Black Hills to train. Thanks to all for their service and time spent on missions!
Promotions in October included Lt Col George Kellison who chose to revert to SMSgt and join the NCO Corps. Tom Bass of SD WG earned Lt Col as did Maxwell Oliver of Iowa Wing. Major Tom Atwood of NCR earned the Garber Award. Congrats to all!