Col Aye is pleased to announce that Lt Col Robert Moore will direct the December 2016 Region Staff College and Col Steve Kuddes has agreed to become the director for Summer 2017.
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
Minnesota Wing, storms, 16-M-0472A
Minnesota Wing, missing person, 16-M-0497A
Kansas Wing, 16-M-521, ELT, Find
August brings the start of school and as an academic dean, it is a busy time at the college. In August, I dropped in on a Kansas Wing conference call to congratulation Col Lahan on some excellent numbers in Recruiting and Retention. After attending the college’s Board of Trustees meeting in Iola, Kansas on Tuesday night, I flew to Nashville for the Annual Conference on the morning of the 10th. I observed part of the Board of Governors meeting on the afternoon of the 10th before meeting with the North Central Region wing commanders over dinner that night.
We accomplished a lot, and I appreciate all the hard work they are doing. I am truly blessed to have such a dedicated, hardworking team of wing commanders in NCR! The commanders continue to work on reporting, closing out SUIs, and closing reports of survey.
The national staff and Tennessee Wing did a great job with the conference that celebrated CAP’s 75th anniversary.
At the Command Council meeting early on the 11th, four wing commanders from North Central Region received their Command Council badges from MG Vazquez, and I received my Command Senior Advisory Group Badge. Congratulations to Colonels Garlough, Lahan, Small, and Steiner! After some kind remarks from Col Tyynismaa, CAP-USAF Commander, and Mr. Shubert, of the Pentagon, we had an update from the IG. The Command Council also listened to a welcome from Tennessee Lt Governor and auctioneer Ron Ramsey, updates from NHQ staff, and an update on CAPR 39-2 from MG Vazquez. Col Mark Smith, the SWR Commander, updated the group on the work of the Leadership Development Working Group that is revising professional development for several groups. I am leading the Squadron Commander group and Col John O’Neill is a small team lead on this project. Several teams on this project are making professional development better for region commanders, wing commanders, mid-career and staff officers, squadron commanders, and NCOs. The teams are working hard to make good products to better help our volunteers in the field. Later, four wing commanders spoke about their recruiting and retention success and two were from North Central Region. Col Linette Lahan, Kansas Wing, and Col James Garlough, Minnesota Wing, shared their lessons learned with other commanders. Great job Colonels Lahan and Garlough! I ended the day by attending my first CSAG meeting. The meeting was collaborative and informative. I am excited about the team of leaders I will have the privilege of working with over the next four years. That evening, everyone attended the opening reception sponsored by Textron Aviation. This was a great opportunity to chat with old friends, meet new friends, and get acquainted with people I had only met online before.
Friday morning the Commander’s Call to Prayer included sage words of wisdom from MER Commander Col John Knowles and Chaplain (Lt Col) Mark Lenneville of Missouri Wing. Chaplain (Col) John Murdoch shared his amazing voice when he sang at the Call to Prayer. Astronauts Hoot Gibson and Rhea Seddon charmed the audience with their stories from the space program. Hoot spoke to the general assembly and Dr. Seddon spoke and signed books at the Women’s Leadership Luncheon hosted by Middle Tennessee State University. It gave attendees the opportunity to hear words of wisdom from a woman who broke barriers and found success in her career and life. When I had a few minutes free, I stopped in at the history exhibit at the conference. As a historian, I am always ready for a good tour and I have a deep appreciation for the past. The team did a great job with the exhibit! A video produced by MSgt Scott Matthews, a former cadet and Spaatz Award recipient, celebrating our 75th Anniversary was viewed for the first time at the conference. The video is incredible and you can feel the impact it will have! You can see what it means to be a member of CAP on the faces and in the eyes of those in the video. One sees pride and determination to serve! Friday afternoon, my last stop of the day was at the Spaatz Association gathering. It was great to meet other Spaatzen, to see some again, and to hear about the great plans the group has for more engagement and support. Check out their new website at http://www.spaatz.org/ .
On Saturday morning, a brave few got up early for the 5K fun run/walk. BG Rich Anderson, former North Central Region Commander, joined the me, Col Linette Lahan, Lt Col Mark Lahan, and MSgt Charline O’Neill in the fitness walk. Thanks to Wendy Hamilton from NHQ for setting up the course! Later that morning, mission awards winners received their plaques. The following North Central Region individuals and Wings earned awards:
Lt Col James Brogan, Nebraska Wing Chief of Staff, Bronze Medal of Valor
Chaplain (Lt Col) Mark Lenneville, CAP Squadron Chaplain of the Year
Minnesota Wing, DDR Wing of the Year
Missouri Wing, Cadet Programs Mission Award
Minnesota Wing, Aerospace Mission Award
Minnesota Wing, Counterdrug and Homeland Security Mission Award
Missouri Wing, Disaster Relief Mission Award
North Dakota Wing, Search and Rescue Mission Award
Finally, I attended the National Cadet Advisory Council Meeting with C/Col Caleb Couture of Missouri Wing who serves as NCR’s representative to the national council. The NCAC did a great job sharing their accomplishments, ideas, and vision for next year. Well done, C/Col Couture! Saturday evening, everyone gathered for the banquet. I was inspired by Chaplain (Lt Col) Ivan Peacock, who I met at the banquet. Chaplain Peacock served as a missionary to Persia in his youth. He is 99 years old and still serving actively as a CAP chaplain. Thank you for your service, Chaplain Peacock! Sunday was a quick flight home to get ready for work.
I am pleased to congratulate Lt Col Jay Sliwinski of the Minnesota Wing on being named the commander of the 2017 Minnesota Wing Encampment. Col John Steiner, North Dakota Wing Commander, named Capt Michael Johnson as 2017 Joint Dakota Encampment Commander. Congratulations Lt Col Sliwinski and Capt Johnson—I look forward to seeing the good work you will do in these positions!
While we were busy at the conference, members of the wings were busy with missions. The Missouri and Minnesota Wings fielded teams on three searches. Iowa Wing fielded teams on a mission the following weekend. Good work to our teams on the following missions in August:
Missouri Wing, ELT, 15-M-0556
Minnesota Wing, ELT, 16-M-0565, find
Missouri Wing, ELT, 16-M-0567, find
Minnesota Wing, ELT, 16-M-0573, find
Iowa Wing, ELT, 16-M-0591, two finds
Kansas Wing, ELT, 16-M-0615, find
The week of the 15th was busy with conference calls. I spent time working with the command team and on an NCR staff conference call. We had great discussions on both calls which allowed me to provide an update from the National Conference and looked forward at our upcoming audits, budgeting, goal setting, planning, and small team meetings. Thanks for the great input on our calls! I also dropped in on the Minneosta Wing Group and Wing Commanders call to thank them for their work on vehicle reports (100% before the deadline), AEX participation, and closing out SUIs. The squadrons have been working diligently to meet expectations. Good work, Minnesota Wing! Iowa Wing also hosted a Region Cadet Leadership School in Harland the weekend of the 13th of August. Cadets from several wings as well as other regions attended the course. Sadly, I found out on the 20th that Minnesota Wing lost SM James Arnt of the Worthington Squadron in a tragic crop dusting accident. Our deepest condolences go to Minnesota Wing, the Worthington Squadron, and the Arnt family during this difficult time.
The week of the 22nd brought more calls as I phoned in for a board I am serving on, a meeting with the team leads on the Squadron Commander Professional Development Working Group, and the Leadership Development Working Group. I am always energized by the great ideas the team leads have for the project. A big thank you to Col Steve Kuddes, Col John O’Neill, and Lt Col James Peace for working on this important project! Friday found me on a flight to Denver to serve on a board for the weekend. I drove through a rainbow on the way to the airport, but it was not good luck. My flight was delayed by tornadoes in the area which made the weekend a long one.
The final week of the month flew by as I participated in calls with the staff, the small team leaders for the Leadership Development Working Group, and the Finance Committee. In the end, I am not sure where August went!
As this trajectory reaches its end point, I am excited about the good work we will accomplish together. We have a lot of work to do in the next month that will serve as the foundation of our activities and plans over the next year. I am excited to see the goals the staff are working on setting in their efforts to support the wings. I am also excited about the upcoming inventories. How can you be excited about audits, you might ask? As a region, NCR has been toward the end of the time period getting our inventories done in the last few years. This year, we are going to try to get all our inventories done by 30 November. Working together, this is a goal we can achieve! Let’s take advantage of this opportunity and make NCR one of the first regions to complete the upcoming inventories.
Finally, I am seeking everyone’s assistance in finding a motto for our region. Missouri Wing has “Show me excellence.” What should our NCR motto be? Send your ideas to me at email@example.com . 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
Quality Cadet Units: IA-002, IA-129, KS-055, KS-061, MN-021, MN-131, MN-048, MN-130, MN-047, MN-122, MN-030, MN-121, MN-017, MN-116, MO-160, MO-110, MO-153, MO-018, MO-005, NE-058, NE-002, SD-031
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
November began with me at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama attending the Wing Commander’s Course. Why would a new region commander attend this course? One never gets to a position where one no longer needs to learn and improve oneself. I had never visited the new National Headquarters as it was still under construction the first time I attended the Region and Wing Commander’s Course. If you get the opportunity to visit our headquarters at Maxwell, I would recommend it.
The building is amazing and the paid employees who work there are just as incredible. I am always in awe of the amount of knowledge the staff have and are willing to share. The course was directed by Col Jon Stokes; he and Bobbie Tourville did a great job. It is unbelievable how much one can learn when immersed in
a subject for a week! I was really tired in the evenings because I was so busy learning things during the day. I learned about a lot of new initiatives in Civil Air Patrol and I am excited for what the future holds for our amazing organization. I am grateful for the support of MG Vazquez and BG Myrick to allow me to
attend the course. Both generals spent time with the fifteen students in attendance. I was honored to attend the course with four wing commanders from NCR: Col Lahan (Kansas Wing), Col Steiner (North Dakota Wing), Col Small (South Dakota Wing), and Col Garlough (Minnesota Wing). I was also able to spend time with
Col Jason Bailey of the North Carolina Wing and Col Arlinda Bailey of the Tennessee Wing. My maiden name is Bailey so it was very interesting to have three Baileys in attendance at the event. I took a family picture in front of the aircraft at headquarters with my cousins!
The second event of the month involved a drive to Sioux Falls, SD with Col Rick Franz and C/Capt Donald Leonhardt for the North Central Region Cadet Advisory Council meeting. It is very hard for teams to work well together and achieve great things when they do not have the opportunity to interact in person. We kicked off the new
CAC year with a meeting in Sioux Falls to make plans for a productive year. C/Lt Col Joshua Klosterman worked with Major Nich Gengler and Major Todd Epp of the South Dakota Wing to find facilities for our meeting. The region is very grateful for their kind support of our efforts. Under the leadership of C/Lt Col Joshua Klosterman (chair), C/Capt Donald Leonhardt (vice) and C/Capt Joshua Horn (recorder) tackled the agenda with gusto and the team worked hard to make plans for an active year. The representatives in attendance (C/1st Lt Noah Enders, KS WG; C/Capt Ethan Compton, MN WG; C/2nd Lt Hannah Compton, NE WG; C/1st Lt Anika Bohmer, ND WG; C/2nd Lt Jaden Peterson, SD WG; C/1st Lt Blake Hayden, SD WG) were absolutely inspiring to work with, and I can’t wait to see the good work they do this year. While in Sioux Falls, I was honored to visit the local unit and observe three teams participating in CyberPatriot. The three teams were led by C/Msgt Chris Schuppan, C/A1C Sam Moser, and C/TSgt Isaiah Klosterman. The Klosterman family, which boasts seven members in CAP, hosted the CAC for a chili dinner on Saturday night. The food and the hospitality was amazing. Thank you to South Dakota Wing and the Klosterman family for helping make the weekend so successful!
En route to the meeting, I bought a wreath from C/Capt Leonhardt for the grave of Major Grover Fanning who rests in the military cemetery at Fort Leavenworth. I hope to participate in Wreaths Across America next month and I’ll tell you more about Major Fanning at that time.
I spent an hour or so on a CSAG call on the 15th and followed it with a call with the NCR wing commanders on the 17th to share the info. I always enjoy the calls with the CAP leadership team because I learn a lot. The discussion on the wing commander call is also enlightening, and it is important for us to all stay in touch. Communication is critical for our wings and region to be successful. No matter how hard we try, I always find that more communication is helpful. We have also been honored to have Lt Col Jeffrey Meyers, Mr. Otto Wachholtz, and Mr. Greg Maier on our calls. I think having the NCR CAP-USAF team represented on the calls has been very helpful as well. We always look forward to the words of wisdom they can share with us and we feel more like one team when we share information with one another. I followed the meeting on the 17th with a conference call on the 21st with my small team of region staff members (Col Theis, Col Weston, Col Plum, Col Kuddes, Lt Col Blodgett, Lt Col Morris, Lt Col Plum, and SMSgt Mudry). Because it is hard to have a productive meeting with 50 plus on a conference call, the region meets in four smaller groups.
One item North Central Region has focused on in November was completing Annual Inventories. NCR completed its 2015 inventories in 2016 which is not acceptable.
We have to be good stewards of our assets. One aspect of good stewardship is completing inventories on time and taking good care of the property. Our internal goal for the completion of inventories was 30 November. Waiting until the deadline is not a good approach to compliance. We never know what will happen that might prevent us from completing a task (illness, technology glitch, etc.). I am proud to say that South Dakota Wing was the first to complete all its inventories, followed closely by Kansas Wing. I want to extend a big thank you to the Logistics personnel and commanders in these wings for their hard work in meeting the goal I set. Minnesota Wing followed behind them with a couple computer issues slowing their completion. However, they were motivated to get them done and doing their best to do so; thank you also to Col Garlough and his team for their efforts. On 30 November, many of the inventories for the region were complete (about 530 out of 560). Another area of stewardship is being conscientious and ensuring that no damage occurs to the property we are entrusted to maintain.
Unfortunately, we a few items damaged in November including a vehicle and an aircraft. I know that the only way to prevent damage entirely is to wrap the assets in bubble wrap and put them in a warehouse; however, I am always disappointed when I see damage in the SIRS system that is preventable. Hangar rash and minor vehicle incidents often occur when we are not practicing risk management. Risk management is something that we need to consider at all times and it can help us take care of the assets we have in CAP. As Mr. George Vogt at NHQ would say, we should be asking ourselves what is the worst thing that can happen and how can I prevent it? We should think about this every time we use a vehicle, fly an airplane, or have a meeting. It takes every one of us actively practicing risk management to protect each other and our assets.
I took a few days off from CAP activities to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family on the 24th and do some Black Friday shopping on the 25th. I no longer participate in combat shopping. That’s what I like to call the trip to the store on Thanksgiving night where you sleep on the sidewalk and stand in line for hours to be the first in the store. I would have to need an item pretty badly to take on that challenge; however, I did hit a lot of online sales from the comfort
of my recliner with a pug assisting me. For anyone who wants a similar shopping experience, I have a pug who is ready to travel and assist! The pugs, Winston and Charlotte, have been very good about CAP taking me away from home in my role as a region commander but I can tell that their patience is thinning because they have started to stand in front of the suitcase in protest when I get it out of the closet.
We had an NCR Finance Committee meeting on the 28th and I prepared to leave on the first for the gala in Washington DC. I think the gala will make an excellent topic for the next Command Trajectory.
Kansas continue its support of the American Red Cross with 13 transport mission as well as two for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Minnesota conducted two missing person searches.
Missouri Wing had a find on an ELT mission.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org . For those who would like to share photos and fond memories, there is a Facebook group called Remembering Rex Glasgow.
Yours in Sorrow,