11/16/2010–Ellicott City, MD–More than 200 Civil Air Patrol members from around the state recently gathered together for the annual Maryland Wing Conference. This year’s event was held over Veteran’s Day weekend at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center in Ellicott City, Md.
The weekend began on Friday evening with a cadet ball, providing an evening of music, dancing, and fun as cadets from all over the Wing danced the night away. Maj. Jim Schmidt of the Maryland Wing Headquarters squadron served as the DJ for the evening.
The main portion of the conference was held on Saturday starting with breakfast and the general session which opened with the Mount Airy Composite Squadron color guard posting the colors. The team won this year’s Maryland Wing Cadet Competition.
During the session Col. John Knowles, Maryland Wing commander, and Lt. Col. Wes LaPre, Maryland Wing vice commander, presented the State of the Wing address to the members. Successes and goals for the past year were reviewed.
Mr. Steve Trupp from the National Headquarters cadet programs staff presented the CAP Executive Director’s report, informing Maryland members of updates at the national level. In addition, Col. Joe Vazquez, Middle East Region commander, gave an update on the region.
Following the general session, members attended training sessions that were designed to meet the needs of the variety of duty assignments and interests. More than 20 sessions were presented including training in professional development, aerospace education, public affairs, emergency services, air operations, inspections, drug demand reduction, along with other topics. A full cadet conference coincided with the other sessions.
The traditional Awards Luncheon provided Maryland Wing command staff to recognize the accomplishments of the many members that have excelled throughout the year.
The presentations began with a performance by the Maryland Wing Honor Guard. The Honor Guard is led by Maj. Grace Stapf of the Mount Airy Composite Squadron.
The awards began with several promotions: Maj. Robert Couch, Group III commander, was promoted to the grade of Lt. Colonel; Capt. Jeff Welch, Group III deputy commander, was promoted to the grade of Major; and Cadet Major Jason LaPre was promoted to Cadet Lt. Colonel.
Col. Knowles recognized three members for their service before and during the memorial service for former Maryland Wing commander and CAP National commander, Brig. Gen. William Patterson. For her efforts in working with the Maryland Wing Honor Guard, Maj. Grace Stapf, was awarded an Achievement Award, as well as Chaplain (Lt Col) Richard Bowers for conducting the service, and Maj. Brenda Reed, for logistics and public affairs portions of the event.
Although not present the staff of the Maryland Wing Survival School, held this past summer at Camp Fretterd, was recognized for their work in this successful activity with a CAP Achievement Award.
Knowles acknowledged the hard work and dedication of a number of members for their service to the Wing with Commander’s Commendations:
Col. Joe Vazquez, CAP Middle East Region commander, presented Meritorious Service Awards to the following individuals for their service:
Three members from the Maryland Wing Solo School were recognized for their work through the years to make the activity a huge success. The Solo School celebrated its 20th anniversary of training cadets and providing an environment for them to learn about flying and also the opportunity to solo in a CAP aircraft. Col. Vazquez recognized these members with the following awards:
The Grover Loening Award, Civil Air Patrol’s senior professional development award for Level III, the following members were recognized for their successful completion of this part of the program: Capt. Julia Bell, Maj. Peter Blechinger, Capt. Mark Coppenbarger, Capt. Mark Kukucka, Maj. Jeff Koubek, Capt.Rose Reeder, Maj. Grace Stapf, and Maj. Dana Thorpe. Capt. Julie Holley and Maj. Jeff Welch, the most recent recipients of the award, were presented their Loening certificates.
The Paul Garber Award, CAP’s Level IV award in the professional development program, was awarded to Capt. David Argentieri, Maj. Peter Blechinger, Capt. Collin David, and Capt. Mark Kukucka.
At the Civil Air Patrol National Conference in San Diego, Calif., in September, the National Public Affairs staff recognized winners of the 2010 Balsem Public Affairs Awards. Two Maryland Wing members were award winners and Col. Knowles presented them their award on behalf of the National Commander.
Two members of Maryland Wing were awarded national level Frank G. Brewer Memorial Aerospace Awards at Civil Air Patrol’s national conference in San Diego for their contributions to the advancement of youth in aerospace activities.
Col. Knowles recognized several long-time members for their longevity of service to the Maryland Wing and the Civil Air Patrol missions:
1st Lt. Stacey McManus was presented the Amelia Earhart Award for achieving the grade of Cadet Captain. McManus, a member of the Fort McHenry Composite Squadron, recently became a senior member.
Special guest for the luncheon was Brig. Gen. Richard Anderson, former CAP National Commander, who was on hand to present the Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award to Cadet Col. John Brennan of the Bowie Composite Squadron. Anderson shared a historical artifact with Brennan during the presentation prior the presentation. The Spaatz Award is the highest achievement in the cadet program and less than one percent of all cadets earn this award. Brennan has served as the Maryland Wing Cadet Advisory Council Chair and served on command staff at this year’s Tri-Wing Encampment.
During the CAP national conference in San Diego, the Maryland Wing was awarded the Cadet Program Award for the Middle East Region. Col. Knowles presented this award on behalf of the Wing to Maj. Joe Winter who served as the Maryland Wing Director of Cadet Programs for six years until recently assuming the position of Wing Chief of Staff.
Knowles then presented the annual ‘of the year’ awards, recognizing the members that excelled during the past year in their duty assignments.
Maryland Wing Banquet
Following an afternoon of training sessions, members and friends joined together for the annual Maryland Wing banquet, preceded by the Commander’s Reception, hosted by Col. John Knowles, Maryland Wing commander.
The tradition of the parade of group flags and squadron guidons by cadets from around the Wing provides the opportunity to recognize each unit in the Wing.
The Maryland Wing Band, part of the Chesapeake Bay Senior Squadron, provided the music for the evening, including the national anthem and medley of military anthems from the different branches of service. The Band was also presented the Maryland Defense Force Achievement Medal for their work at the annual muster of the Maryland Defense Force. BG Fred Smalkin, former MDDF commander and Maryland Wing member, recommended the band for this honor. Maj. George Carroll and Capt. Charles Goolsby accepted the award on behalf of the Band.
Special guest for the evening was Brig. Gen. Guy Walsh, who recently returned from Afghanistan as Wing Commander of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing. Walsh has been a strong advocate for Civil Air Patrol and the Maryland Wing for many years. He provided the keynote speech along with a fascinating look at the mission in Afghanistan through a multi-media production.
Knowles recognized CAP member and State Senator J.B. Jennings for his efforts in Annapolis on behalf of the Civil Air Patrol Maryland Wing to provide job protection for CAP members during emergency services missions. Knowles presented Jennings with a CAP Achievement Award.
Col. Kay Joslin Walling, former Maryland Wing and Middle East Region commander, was recognized for earning the highest award in the CAP professional development program, the Gill Robb Wilson Award. Brig. Gen. Alysson Solomon, Maryland’s Assistant Adjutant General for Air, joined Col. Knowles in presenting the award to Walling.
The evening culminated in the presentation of a number of awards by Col. Knowles to deserving members.
Maj. Brenda Reed was named Maryland Wing Staff Officer of the Year for her work as the Wing Public Affairs Officer.
Capt. Mike Allen of the Bowie Composite Squadron was named Senior Member of the Year. Allen is a pilot and check pilot and actively supports the operations mission of the Wing. Capt. Julie Holley, commander of the Bowie Composite Squadron, accepted the award on behalf of Allen.
Cadet Maj. Matthew Herten of the St. Mary’s Composite Squadron, was named Cadet of the Year. Herten was also awarded the CAP-USAF Middle East Liaison Region Cadet of the Year Award by CAP-USAF Middle East Liason Region Commander, Col. Hubbard, and State Director Mr. Ed Glezinis.
Each year, the Cadet of the Year selects one member that has been the biggest influence in their CAP career. Herten named his squadron commander, Capt. David Webster, as his mentor. Webster was awarded the CAP-USAF Torch Award for his mentorship and guidance of Herten as he progressed through the cadet program.
Group Commanders joined Knowles in presenting their choices for Group squadron of the year awards. Squadron guidons were presented as the Group Commander tied on the award streamer for the units.
Lt. Col. Bruce Drury named the Montgomery Senior Squadron as the Group I Squadron of the Year.
Lt. Col. Bill Parris named the Carroll Composite Squadron as the Group II Squadron of the Year.
Lt. Col. Robert Couch named the Calvert Cadet Squadron as the Group III Squadron of the Year.
The Carroll Composite Squadron was also named Squadron of the Year for the Wing by Knowles.
Maj. Brenda Reed, who commanded the squadron for the past year, was named Squadron Commander of the Year.
The Group of the Year Award went to Group II, commanded by Lt. Col. Bill Parris.
This year's conference was planned Ms. Sherry McManus, Wing Administrator.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 60,000 members nationwide. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and has been credited by the AFRCC with saving more than 100 lives this fiscal year. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counter-drug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the more than 25,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 68 years.
There are more than 1,500 members of CAP in Maryland. Last fiscal year wing members flew 42 search and rescue missions and were credited with 31 finds. For more information about the CAP, visit www.mdcap.org.