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April 2018 Command Trajectory

May 6, 2018

Think about the difference CAP has made in your life and the joy it has brought.  Who might benefit from joining?  We can all try to bring in a few friends or close colleagues.  In the bigger sense, we can also have strong plans to bring in new members, onboard them well, and treat them well so they stay in CAP and bring their friends too!  We each have an impact on retention in the way we treat others every week. Do you listen to others?  Do you take time to hear their concerns and share in their successes?  It can be easy to become very busy and forget the people who make up the organization.  We must accomplish the mission, but we must always consider people as we do so.  Without our dedicated members, how many missions could we complete?  My late husband was famous for saying, “Mission first, people always.”  It’s a short but wise saying and we can all apply it.  We have all heard the stories of members who joined or prospective members who visited a unit and were not welcomed.  Each of you can make a difference by recognizing and welcoming visitors to our units.  Make sure your unit is one that welcomes visitors and engages them.  People join organizations to participation or to do something.  What do you do with visitors?  How long does it take for them to be ready to participate?  We belong to a complex organization with a lot of rules and structure.  New people need veteran members to step up and guide or mentor them toward success.  Mentors are some of the most powerful people in our lives.  Can you serve as a mentor?  Can you make a difference?  Of course!  Embrace this opportunity and you will be glad you did. Mentoring can be very rewarding.  Addressing the need for diversity can be done in many ways.  Are most of your cadets from one school?  Can you expand to others?  Are most of your members from one part of town?  Can you extend into a new geographic area?  Are most of your members the same age?  Can you get some younger or older members?  Do most of the members have similar occupations?  Can you add some different areas of expertise?  Every occupation brings a new set of skills and opportunities to the unit!  Can you add more females?  Can you add different ethnic groups?  There are many ways to address diversity and if you put your efforts into it, I know we can become more diverse in North Central Region.

I attended the KS-055 Heartland Cadet Squadron banquet on the 3rd.  It’s always fun to visit the Heartland Squadron.  They have a great group of cadets and seniors and the atmosphere is very welcoming.  On the 6th and 7th, I attended the Iowa Wing Change of Command in Des Moines.  I promoted Joe Hackett to colonel as he took command.  The event was hosted by the 41st Composite Squadron and 1st Lt Alex Paul.  Alex is a ball of energy and he was in one of the recent online UCC classes.  He was an excellent student and he is applying the lessons he learned well.  Iowa has focused on their partnerships.  You can see it in the facilities they are allowed to use, and, in the personnel, who attended the event.  In addition to CAP personnel, I was impressed by the number of military personnel who attended.  There were 15-25 personnel, including several colonels, present from the national guard as well as a brigadier general (select).  The effort Iowa Wing and the 41st Composite Squadron has put into their partnerships was obvious! 

The NCR/SD WG Conference in Deadwood was 13-15 April as well as the North Central Region Competition in Nebraska.  I headed north with Col David Plum while Col David Winters and Cadet Boaz Fink headed to Nebraska.  Three teams joined them:  Minnesota Wing, Missouri Wing, and South Dakota Wing.  In the end, all three NCR teams could advance to the NCC due to a vacancy from another region.   Col Plum and I left a day early for Deadwood because of a blizzard headed toward the region.  It was great to spend some extra time with the members of South Dakota Wing, a medium-sized organization in NCR with over 300 members.  However, it feels like a family and they welcome others with great skill.  The region CAC meeting was also held at the conference.  Unfortunately, the blizzard kept many members home.  Our guest for the conference was Brigadier General Phelka.  He flew in early as well to avoid the storm.  Many members of the region staff attended the conference even with bad weather and I appreciate their dedication.  Col Tom Theis drove in with a group from Minnesota that included Chaplain Mikitta, Lt Col Braun, and Lt Col Bistodeau.  Lt Col Hahn attended from Iowa.  General Phelka and I were able to do some work on a project with the extra time.  He is a visionary thinker and it is amazing to toss ideas around with him.  As vice commander, he also mentors the region commanders and I appreciate his wise suggestions.  General Phelka and I also had the pleasure of visiting some professional development classes.  We had lunch with C/Capt Kyle Clement who told us his inspiring story of how the cadet program made a difference in his life.  The lobby of the hotel was well situated to allow conversations in small groups and a lot of good work was done in between sessions!  All in all, South Dakota wing was a wonderful partner for a joint conference.  Thank you to the wing for their hard work and for allowing us to join them, Deadwood was a beautiful location.  Col Plum and I flew home on Sunday after visiting glider training.  South Dakota Wing was just beginning its glider program.

Region Chaplain Staff College was held 23-26 April in Omaha, Nebraska at the Columban Father’s Retreat.  The chaplains have two, notable long-term partnerships in the Columban Fathers and the LDS Stake who hosts their end-of-event dinner. 27-29 April was the Minnesota Wing and North Dakota Wing Conferences in Breezy Point and Bismarck. I attended the Minnesota Wing Conference since it was planned first.  I drove directly from RCSC with Capt John Reed, Lt Col Anna-Marie Bistodeau, and Chaplain Jill Holm.  After many hours, we reached Breezy Point.  Col Tom Weston attended the North Dakota Wing Conference in my stead.  Breezy Point is a beautiful location for a conference.  Ice was just melting off the lake.  The meetings were all within walking distance.  Brigadier General Rich Anderson joined us as the guest speaker, he always provides sage words.  I have known General Anderson since I was a cadet.  I was pleased to have lunch with several members of the Stanton unit at the conference, they are an energetic and exciting group.  I also spent some time chatting with Major Tomas Settell.  He is a former gymnast and owns a gym.  He had some very innovative and interesting ideas to share, I enjoyed speaking with him on a variety of topics.  Col Tom Theis also attended the Minnesota Wing Conference.  After the conference, I made the 12-hour drive home to Kansas.  Minnesota Wing Compliance Inspection was also conducted.  Minnesota Wing earned an effective rating.

Christopher Devaughn of MO-023 earned his promotion to lieutenant colonel.  Major Joe St Clair of MO-001 and Major Thomas Atwood of NCR-001 earned the Gill Robb Wilson Award.  Cadets John Hage of MN-017 and Anika Bohmer of ND-119 earned the General Ira C. Eaker Award.  Cadet Ecclesia Settanni of KS-034 earned the General Carl A. Spaatz Award. 

The busy mission tempo continued in April.  Kansas had an ELT find, DR training, AFROTC rides for KU, and 9 ARC missions.  Missouri Wing conducted squadron level SAR training, a flight clinic, and AFJROTC rides for 3 schools.  Nebraska Wing completed AFROTC orientation flights and conducted a SAR/DR exercise.  Minnesota Wing held a National Check pilot course, conducted a low-level route survey, and flew AFROTC students from St. Thomas University.

My trajectory this month brought me in contact with many members who showed excellence and professionalism in all three missions.  You can see many partnerships at work and great diversity in the region.  Next month, we will address the next area of emphasis which is strengthening CAP’s financial standing.

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