3/28/2012–Mount Airy, MD–The Mt. Airy Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol Maryland Wing recently held its annual awards banquet to recognize the efforts of its members during 2011.
The potluck style dinner, hosted by new commander Capt. Steve Weinhold, featured many excellent dishes and desserts provided by the squadron families. Maj. Grace Stapf, the squadron’s deputy commander for cadets, was the master of ceremonies for the event.
Squadron members were fortunate enough to be joined by several special guests for the evening: the CAP National chief of staff, Col. Russ Chazell; Maryland Wing commander, Col. John Knowles; Maryland Wing Group 1 commander, Lt. Col. Bruce Drury; and aviation pioneer, Col. Mary Feik.
Drury commended Capt. Weinhold and the squadron’s cadet commander, Cadet 1st Lt. Melissa Weinhold, on the squadron’s remarkable achievements in 2011. He also thanked former commander, Lt. Col. Judy McLellan for her assistance during the year.
The evening had many memorable moments, including presentations of a Wright Brothers Award to Cadet Staff Sgt. Josh Boline, the Gen. Billy Mitchell Award to Cadet 2nd Lts. Aaron Huie and Jacob O’Connell, and the Amelia Earhart Award to Cadet Capt. Kevin Lohoefer.
The squadron also recognized the color guard for its first place wins at the Maryland Wing and Middle East Region Color Guard competitions. This was the first year Mt. Airy placed first at the regional level and earned the opportunity to compete at the national competition. Though they did not win national, the cadets came away from the competition with memories that will last a lifetime. Members of the color guard were cadets Aaron Huie, Megan Bassett, Josh Flanick, Keith Lohoefer, and Ashley Petersen.
Cadets Josh Boline and Ashley Petersen were honored with a Feik certificate presented personally by Col. Mary Feik. Several years ago, Civil Air Patrol named its third achievement in the cadet program after Feik. Feik, a Maryland resident, has been an aircraft mechanic for over 50 years and is a pioneer in her field. She has restored many fabric aircraft and became an engineer when females were usually prohibited from doing so. At age 88, she has traveled around the country and presented thousands of her personally designed Feik Awards to cadets. Col. Feik said it was her ultimate honor that a Civil Air Patrol achievement was created in her name.
The culminating point of the evening was recognizing members for excellence in the past year in areas such as drill, military demeanor, physical fitness, leadership instruction, and overall improvement. The awards ceremony concluded with the presentation of the “of the year” awards. Cadet Staff Sgt. Joshua Boline earned Cadet Airman of the Year, Cadet 2nd Lt, Aaron Huie was awarded Non-Commissioned Cadet Officer of the Year, Cadet 1st Lt, Melissa Weinhold was named Cadet Officer of the Year, and Cadet 2nd Lt. Adam Flanick earned the Cadet of the Year Award. 2nd Lt. David LaPointe was the squadron’s senior Officer of the Year.
In addition to the individual awards, the squadron earned the prestigious Quality Cadet Unit Award during 2011. The award, given by CAP National Headquarters, recognizes units that display strong cadet program fundamentals through the year.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. 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 was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com for more information.
More than 1,500 members of CAP serve in Maryland. Last fiscal year wing members flew 42 search and rescue missions and were credited with 31 finds. For more information, visit www.mdcap.org.
The Mount Airy Composite Squadron meets every Thursday at 7 pm at the Carroll County Senior Center above the Mt. Airy library. Visitors are always welcome. To learn more, stop by for a meeting, call 301-829-3603 or visit mtairy-cap.org.
Editor’s Note: Lt. Col. Judith McLellan and Sr. Member Sheryle Weinhold contributed to this article.