Main Content

Charles Composite Squadron celebrates accomplishments

Maj. Chappell, C/MSgt. Bem and Parent, C/Maj. Whitsett
1 of 3
Cadet Master Sgt. Bem (center left) and his parent, pose with Maj. Dennis Chappell (left) and Cadet Maj. Whitsett (right). (Photo credit: Tryone Whitsett)

2/15/2017––The Charles Composite Squadron, a unit of the Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol, celebrated numerous member achievements and milestones on February 6, 2017.

Attended by Maryland Group 3 Commander Lt. Col. Charles Davis and Maryland Wing Diversity Program Officer Lt. Col. Carlos Montague, the event recognized the achievements of 2nd Lt. Latisha Williams, 1st Lt. Jan Tucker, Maj. Ron Tucker and Senior Member Bonnie Richardson for their participation in a wholly successful and nationally recognized Subordinate Unit Inspection (SUI). The SUI is a review of how a squadron’s business practices, equipment, training, staffing and record keeping follows CAP standards. This is the third time in the squadron’s five-year history for such an achievement and generally unheard of for such a young squadron.

Further encouragement came from Lt. Col. Davis who said, “It is indeed a pleasure and honor to visit and recognize a squadron of such high achievement and integrity. Its leadership exemplifies the core values of CAP: integrity, volunteer service, excellence in all that we do, and respect.”

During the formal ceremony, Cadet Staff Sgt. Sondai Bem was promoted to the rank of Cadet Master Sgt. Additionally, Cadet 1st Lt. Harrison O’Connell, cadet executive officer and former cadet commander, received a Commander’s Commendation for his service as cadet commander from 2014 through 2016. This award, provided by Maryland Wing Commander Col. Joseph Winter, is a highly sought after achievement by all cadets. It exemplifies true service, above and beyond, to the Civil Air Patrol. “This is special and I am humbled,” said O’Connell.

Finally, Capt. Dennis Chappell, squadron commander, was formally promoted to the rank of Major. Maj. Chappell has been with the squadron from its inception in 2011 and has held various positions within squadron culminating in commanding the squadron for the past two years. “I’m so proud of the squadron and its achievements and look forward to supporting its efforts going forward,” stated Chappell.

On behalf of the wing’s commander, who could not attend due to other CAP commitments, Lt. Col. Montague said, “Dennis, I am sorry I can't be with you tonight to celebrate you earning the rank of major. As I reflect on your many successes in Civil Air Patrol, I can't help but think about your work with building a squadron that is fundamentally strong in all three mission areas. Be proud of your successes and work towards the continued growth of your squadron as the best of the best in Maryland. In closing I leave you with this quote from the late Gen. George S. Patton which, to me, sums up your leadership style: ‘The badge of rank which an officer wears on his coat is really a symbol of servitude to his men.’”

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.

Over 1,400 members of CAP serve in Maryland. Last fiscal year wing members flew 29 search and rescue missions and were credited with 13 finds, saving three lives. Maryland Wing flew over 160 missions for the State of Maryland for a total of 2,222 hours flown. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.2 million. For more information, contact the Maryland Wing at www.mdcap.org.

The Charles Composite Squadron meets every Monday from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Maryland Airport. For more information, please visit www.charlescap.org, like us on Facebook: @charlescompositesquadron, or follow us on Twitter: @CCSCAP