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Fort McHenry members recognized for achievements

Lt Col von der Linden, his wife, and son
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Newly promoted Lt. Col. Von der Linden pose with his wife and son following his promotion ceremony at the Fort McHenry Composite Squadron. (Photo credit: Capt Alice Raatjes, CAP)

2/9/2017––Four Civil Air Patrol members from the Fort McHenry Composite Squadron, part of the Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol, were recognized for their accomplishments during the unit’s January meeting.

The squadron honored Maj. Cajetan W. Von der Linden on his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. Lt. Col. Steven Hollis, Fort McHenry squadron commander, invited Von der Linden’s spouse and son to affix the Lieutenant Colonel epaulets, recognizing advancement in rank, as squadron members saluted in recognition of his professional achievement. This presentation of promotion provided unit members the opportunity to participate in and observe the important transition from one rank to another and is a formal testament to the individual’s success.

Von der Linden joined CAP in February 2001 as the squadron’s safety officer. Subsequently, he also served as the Maryland Wing, Group II safety officer and provided supervision of the group’s safety program. Effective December 2016, Von der Linden was assigned as the Fort McHenry Squadron’s Deputy Commander for Seniors. Von der Linden is a fully qualified mission safety officer/adviser and safety trainer to mission staff performing emergency service operations in support of Maryland Wing activities. He also is certified as a mission staff assistant and mission observer.

Hollis also presented an Aerospace Education Officer Achievement certificate to Cadet 1st Lt. Eugene Nash and the Col. Mary S. Feik Award to Cadet Senior Airmen Bernard Thomas-Crawford and Mervyn Thomas-Crawford for completing the third achievement in the CAP cadet program.

The CAP cadet program is organized around a system of 16 achievements and five milestone awards. This “path of progression” provides a structure that guides the cadets’ development, matching cadets with activities suited to their longevity and accomplishments in the program. Upon receipt of the aerospace education officer achievement, cadet Nash completes the second step of the fifth milestone of the cadet program’s executive phase and cadets Thomas-Crawford attained the third level of their first learning phase of cadet progression.

A spirit of competition motivates cadets as they work to earn promotions, qualify for increased leadership roles in their squadron and collect awards. During each achievement, the cadets are called upon to complete several tasks in each of the five program elements: leadership, aerospace, fitness, character, and activities.

The Fort McHenry Composite Squadron meets weekly Wednesday nights from 7-9 p.m. at the American Legion Post 109, 1610 Old Sulphur Spring Road in Arbutus, Md. Prospective cadets aged 12-18 with their parents are always welcome. Adults seeking volunteer opportunities are invited as well. For more information about CAP Maryland Wing, Group II squadrons, visit www.mdgroup2cap.org.

Over 1,400 CAP members serve in Maryland. Last year wing members flew 13 search and rescue missions. The wing was credited with four finds. Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland. Members flew 2,245 hours in all mission categories. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For more information, contact the Maryland Wing at www.mdcap.org, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarylandWingCivilAirPatrol and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDWGCAP.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.