November 2017 Command Trajectory
On November 4th, I was in Minnesota for the North Central Region Cadet Honor Academy at Camp Ripley. This was my first visit to Camp Ripley and it is quite an impressive location for an event. The facilities are very nice! Lt Col Bonnie Braun led a dedicated team of volunteers for this event. NCR had not held an Honor Academy for many years. The goal of the Honor Academy is to teach color guard and honor guard as well as share the DDR message. As a long-time DDR leader, Lt Col Braun was an excellent choice to lead the event. She was assisted by Lt Col Susan Blessman of Minnesota Wing, as host wing liaison, and Lt Col Anna-Marie Bistodeau from the NCR staff. C/Lt Col Boaz Fink served as the cadet leader for the event. More than 50 cadets and seniors assembled at Camp Ripley for the activity. The weather was a little cold and rainy, but the staff did a great job for the event. I saw a lot of smiles. Five wings supported the event by sending students (MO, SD, NE, MN, WI). Cadet cadre came from SD, MN, and NCR. Sixteen senior staff came from NCR, MN, SD, KS, NE, and MO. It was great to see MSgt Wagner from Missouri Wing in attendance sharing both his expertise and information on the NCO program. He served as an ambassador of the NCO program and answered questions from other seniors about the NCO program. On Saturday evening, we participated in a formal dinner to teach cadets about banquets. It was an excellent early Thanksgiving feast. On Sunday, we held graduation, and everyone departed. Many thanks to Col Kevin Sliwinski for picking me up at the airport and giving me a ride to Camp Ripley on his way to Brainerd to pick up a radio. Thanks also to Col Tom Theis, NCR/CV, for giving me a ride back to the airport. I also appreciate Col James Garlough, the Minnesota Wing Commander, taking time out of his busy schedule to visit with me while I was in his wing.
I was in Alabama the 9th-12th for the CSAG meeting. I took some time on Thursday to visit some offices at National Headquarters; it is always nice to work with the outstanding paid staff. I visited with Angela Farris about some Finance items, Susie Parker on some Personnel matters, and Bobbie Tourville about some Professional Development items. We are truly blessed to have such a great team at NHQ. On Friday, we had the CSAG business meeting. We discussed many important topics including budgets and finance, development initiatives, safety, information technology updates, publications, aircraft distribution, and more. It looks like NCR will be getting 3 new aircraft soon! Good work on utilization. An increase in aircraft means we need to fly more hours. We are supposed to receive a new C-182, a new C-172, and a refurbished C-172. On Saturday, we interviewed five candidates for the open member-at-large slot on the CAP Board of Governors. Lt Col Tom Vreeland, of New York Wing, will be our new Board of Governors member. Lt Col Vreeland is a former government executive and has served as the CEO of several technology companies. Vreeland earned Spaatz Award #27 and Falcon Award #6. He earned the Gill Robb Wilson Award as a senior and served on the National Advanced Technology group. Welcome aboard, Lt Col Vreeland! Major General Sandra Finan also joined the BoG replacing Brig Gen Johnson. General Finan was appointed by the Secretary of the Air Force. I flew home on the 12th. When I landed, I was met with sad news. Col Pat Lane, former Kansas Wing Commander, passed away on the 9th at age 86. I attend the celebration of her life on the 15th.
Col Lane was the Kansas Wing Commander when I was a cadet. She was an amazing role model and I have always aspired to follow in her footsteps and be like her. If I can be half the woman she was, I will be accomplished. Col Lane was a 99 and a pilot for over 50 years. She was a member of CAP for more than 40 years. Col Lane served as a mission coordinator, Finance Officer, and wing commander. She was known for doing things her way. In fact, she planned the poems and some other elements of the celebration of her life! Col Lane exemplified the Core Values and never compromised her integrity. She could tell some stories from her service in CAP! Col Lane received the Bronze Medal of Valor for her actions flying life-saving medical cargo on a very snowy night to a small town. The small town she flew to turned out in force and joined together to hand shovel the runway for her to land. Police cars parked at both ends with lights flashing to help her see the runway. She came in just above the police car to land safely and deliver her cargo. According to Col Lane, she saw the police dive out of their car as she flew over! CAP was well represented at her services by many members and former members. A color guard from Topeka Eagle Composite Squadron, under the command of C/Lt Col Ecclesia Settanni, did a great job presenting the colors. They were very professional, and I was proud of their performance. I would like to express my sincere thanks to Major Tim Thornton for helping the color guard prepare. I was joined at the services by five other Kansas Wing Commanders: Col Tim Hansen, Col Jerome Hanson, Col Burgess Rennels, Col Rick Franz, and Col Linette Lahan. Former members of the Topeka Squadron including Tony Emerson also attended. I remember Tony from my days as a cadet. He was just home from the Air Force Academy and quite a positive influence on a cadet airman in 1989-1990. It was great to see Tony again.
On the 17th, I flew to Chicago to join Col John Knowles and Col Barry Melton for the selection board for the Great Lakes Region Commander. On the 18th, we interviewed five well-qualified candidates. After discussing each candidate, we called Major General Smith with our recommendation. We are excited to have Col Matt Creed join the CSAG as the new GLR/CC. We wish him luck. After we made our recommendation, we had some time before we had to fly out. We used the time to film a short promotional video for the 75 for 75 Campaign. This is a campaign where each cadet is challenged to raise $75 to support the local unit. This campaign has the potential to significantly support the local unit. Seniors can also accept the challenge and raise funds for CAP. I have accepted the 75 for75 Challenge, have you?
On the 19th, I touched base with several staff and wing commanders. On the 27th, we held the NCR Finance Committee Meeting. On the 30th, the Leadership Development Working Group call was held. I want to thank Col Joe Winter and his team for some stellar work on the nexGen Leadership Development program. His team has done some great work on a BoG tasker for a high-level program for developing CAP leaders with deep corporate knowledge. Kudos also to Col John O’Neill and his team on their draft of a new Command Specialty Track. Both projects will get feedback from the team leads in the LDWG before being sent forward to NHQ. Other groups are beginning to develop their projects as well. These are just two of eleven projects we have currently. Great work, gentlemen!
Several members of NCR were promoted in November. I would like to congratulate Col Rick Franz on trading in his eagles for stripes. He joined the NCO Corps in November as a SMSgt. Rick serves as the DCS Logistics for NCR. Frederick Montgomery of Nebraska Wing was promoted to lieutenant colonel. I have known Fred for many years—we served on encampment staff together in the mid-2000s. He is an excellent squadron commander and has a wonderful sense of humor. Brian Hathaway of Kansas Wing was promoted to lieutenant colonel in CAP. His CAP promotion is a bit of a demotion as he is an active duty colonel. Congratulations also to Mylon Eisenhauer of NE-068 on his promotion to lieutenant colonel. On the NCR staff, kudos to Matt Kopp on his promotion to major. In addition to promotions, two members of NCR earned the Paul Garber Award for completing Level 4 of the Senior Professional Development Program in November. Congratulations to Major Valerie Jaffee of KS-092 and Chaplain (Major) Jill Holm of MN-135. On the cadet side of the house, Cadet Hohenberger of IA-003 earned his Ira C. Eaker Award in November.
Kudos the Directors of Logistics in South Dakota (Jerry Foy), Kansas (Christine Settanni), and Minnesota Wings (James Rutten). All three wings finished the annual inventories by the goal date of 30 November. As of 1 December, Iowa Wing has 7 inventories to go; Missouri Wing has 17 inventories to go; North Dakota Wing has 5, and Nebraska Wing has 2 inventories to go. Let’s get these done ASAP so we can enjoy the holidays! I appreciate all the efforts in this area.
Welcome to two new units---Stanton Flight in Minnesota Wing and Konza Composite in Manhattan, KS.
Missions in November included fourteen American Red Cross transport missions, a state drill, and a SAREX in Kansas Wing. Minnesota Wing had an air defense mission. Missouri Wing had a SAREX, their SAV, an ELT search with a find, and AFJROTC orientation flights. Nebraska Wing had a find on an ELT search. South Dakota Wing had a SAREX and an ELT search.