National News

NESA Spreads Its Wings: New Mobile Team Expanding Program
Tue, 19 Mar 2019 15:20:57 -0500

Civil Air Patrol’s National Emergency Services Academy is spreading its wings.

At least that’s the intent of a new expansion effort known as the NESA Mobile Training Team program, which will soon be capable of supporting each of CAP’s eight regions.

“Our purpose behind the NESA-MTT program is to institute an outreach capability to all regions, while still providing the same level of professional instruction, and fidelity in curriculum excellence, at a much lower cost to the CAP members,” said Lt. Col. Bob Ditch, the retired U.S. Air Force colonel heading up the new program.

“Many of the courses are approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for CAP delivery, and all the course leaders are NESA- and/or FEMA-qualified instructors.”

NESA was founded in 1996 as a means for increasing the knowledge and professionalism of CAP members in incident management and emergency/disaster response. The first two years all the classes were held in Virginia. By 1998, the program had moved to Camp Atterbury, Indiana, and it has resided there ever since — providing unsurpassed emergency services professional development in multiple incident management, public information, communications, aircrew, chaplain and other disciplines.

Since its fledging days, the curriculums at Camp Atterbury have grown from two two-week classes to now nearly 30 separate course deliveries during the main summer school, as well as several courses as needed during the year like small unmanned aircraft system (small UAS) training.

“Now the program has taken a big step out of its nest in Indiana, spread its wings, and is now flying to all points of the compass,” Ditch said.

“The proof of concept for this MTT program was conducted through the delivery of incident management and public information officer courses in Arizona, Texas and New Jersey,” said Ditch, who serves as CAP’s liaison to the International Association of Emergency Managers and the FEMA-Emergency Management Institute.

This May and August, “the Northeast Region will host NESA-MTTs, providing ICS 300 and 400 for it and the Middle East Region,” Ditch said.

Future deliveries should be requested through the regions through the operations directorate at CAP National Headquarters. For more information on the NESA-MTT program, and how to request regional deliveries, contact Ditch at or 480-298-2603.

Marjorie Smith, Wife of National Commander, Passes at 68
Fri, 15 Mar 2019 17:21:17 -0500

Margaret (Marjorie) Anne Smith, wife of Civil Air Patrol National Commander and CEO Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, passed away today in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was 68.

She was born July 11, 1950, in Bellshill, Scotland, to James and Agnes Henderson. After finishing school, she worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland in Glasgow and London.

She met her future husband, Mark Smith, in Glasgow on a group date. The two married in Scotland 15 months later after he finished pilot training with the U.S. Air Force.

Gen. Smith’s Air Force career took the family, including daughter Hillary and son Gregory, to many destinations in Europe and the U.S. before they eventually settled in Albuquerque. Her favorite assignments were Bitburg Air Base, Germany, and Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

The family learned to snow ski in Austria, and ski vacations were the family norm for many years.

“Marjorie was an over-the-top extrovert and never met a stranger,” Gen. Smith said. “Without trying, she was often the center of attention thanks to her engaging personality.”

She was active in the Air Force base chapel programs at various assignments and then in Albuquerque’s Heights First Church of the Nazarene. She also was a Civil Air Patrol member for several years.

A two-time breast cancer survivor, she endured many operations, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Gen. Smith said. “As a result, Marjorie’s health gradually declined following her initial illness in 2001,” he said.

“Despite all that she endured, Marjorie never complained. She was strong and courageous, serving as an inspiration to others.”

In addition to Gen. Smith, she is survived by her mother, Agnes Henderson; her brother, James; her daughter, Hillary Wenrich; her son, Gregory Smith; and her granddaughters, Hazel and Anna Wenrich.

A viewing will be held from 5-7 p.m. March 29 at French – Wyoming, 7121 Wyoming Blvd. N.E., in Albuquerque. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. March 30 at Heights First Church of the Nazarene, 8401 Paseo Del Norte N.E., in Albuquerque. Interment will be at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to Civil Air Patrol or the American Cancer Society. Tribute gifts to CAP may be made here.


 Wing News

Wis. Unit Provides Aerospace Classes for 4-H Youth
Tue, 19 Mar 2019 17:05:37 -0500

What grade schooler doesn’t enjoy launching rockets, building airplanes and flying whirligigs?

Taking advantage of this natural desire to experiment and learn, members of the Wisconsin Wing's La Crosse Composite Squadron recently conducted a series of aerospace classes as part of the La Crosse County 4-H Clover College.

The event, held at Bangor Elementary School, invites 4-H students and the public to come and learn about a wide variety of topics. The teachers for each class come from the community and have some area of expertise to share with the students.

Members of the La Crosse Composite Squadron spent the day helping the 18 participating students conduct different STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) projects so the children could experiment with flight. The first project involved working with Dragonfly helicopters, which helped students understand how an airfoil works.

The students then moved on to constructing balsa gliders to learn about the forces of drag and lift. After that they explored the concept further by practicing landing model aircraft of varying weights attached to an inclined fishing line.

The session concluded with constructing fizzy pop rockets to better understand Newton’s Third Law of Motion -- for every action in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Capt. Roxanne Munns, the squadron’s assistant aerospace education officer and also a 4-H leader, organized the activity and supervised it along with 2nd Lt. Scott Munns, aerospace education officer. Cadet Capt. Mattison Donaldson and Cadet Senior Airman Carter Mandel provided hands-on assistance to the students while also explaining aerospace concepts.

Majs. Todd Mandel, squadron commander, and Linda Zimmerman, deputy commander for senior members, provided logistical support.


Ill. Unit Commander Named Air Mobility Command Staff Volunteer of the Year
Tue, 12 Mar 2019 16:40:54 -0500

Maj. Greg Hoffeditz
Assistant Public Affairs Officer
Illinois Wing

Lt. Col. Jacob Hiles, commander of the Illinois Wing’s Scott Composite Squadron as well as a U.S. Air Force major, has been recognized as Staff Volunteer of the Year by the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command.

Hiles began serving in the Air Force in 2001 and in Civil Air Patrol in 1992. In addition to his squadron command, he’s the officer for operations, personnel and professional development for Illinois Wing Group 1. He also volunteers for his church’s service team, providing aid to church members in need, while also teaching weekly Sunday school classes.

Hiles’ CAP accomplishments for 2018 included leading a 49-member team at Hawk Mountain Ranger School as an executive officer for Charlie Squadron. He also taught land navigation, knot tying and woodsmanship skills. An alumnus and staff member of several Hawk Mountain winter and summer Ranger Training School programs, both as a cadet and a senior member, he currently holds an Advanced Ranger rating.

He’s a highly skilled CAP emergency services ground team leader and incident commander, and he planned, coordinated, taught and/or led no fewer than 10 search and rescue exercises and real-world missions during 2018. These accomplishments directly contributed to his recognition with the 2018 Great Lakes Region Col. Edwin W. Lewis Jr. Incident Staff Member of the Year Award.

He also led the Scott squadron in attaining a coveted Illinois Wing Squadron of Merit Award and the Great Lakes Region Squadron of Distinction Award for 2018.

Maj. Wesley Flannell, Illinois Wing Group 1 commander, called Hiles “one of the most motivated individuals I have met. Regardless of the task, he will put in a full effort to accomplish it and will not stop until all resources are used.“

“This attitude is apparent in everything he does within CAP, from planning ES (emergency services) training within the group to leading Scott Composite Squadron, to coordinating professional development events for the group, wing and region,” Flannell said. “He is a vital part of Group 1 and Illinois Wing!”

Hiles currently serves as the chief, C-130H Aircrew Training at Headquarters, Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, and is responsible for oversight of Air Force Reserve Component aircrew training. He has flown 256 combat missions in support of operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn and Inherent Resolve as a command pilot and aircraft commander. He has also served as an instructor pilot in the C-130E and H models.

S.C. Wing Impresses Air Force During Evaulated Emergency Response Exercise
Fri, 22 Feb 2019 16:42:11 -0600

1st Lt. Norwood A. Bodie
Public Affairs Officer
Aiken Composite Squadron
South Carolina Wing

The South Carolina Wing has received a “Ready” rating from the U.S. Air Force for its performance during a recent evaluated exercise that involved catastrophic weather and a missing duo.

Wing members responded to a scenario featuring the following elements:

  • The National Weather Service issues a statement warning of thunderstorms and possible tornadoes for portions of South Carolina’s Midlands and Peedee regions, including high winds, lightning, thunder, heavy rain and potential mesocyclonic activity.
  • After family members later report a fisherman and his son overdue from returning from a fishing and camping trip down the Lynches River, the State Warning Point asks the South Carolina Wing to establish an incident command post at Wing Headquarters in Columbia in anticipation of operations along the river. About 8 p.m. local time the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center issues a mission number for the wing.

Wing members responded by establishing a mission base and forming aircrews and ground teams for deployment to aid in the search. Wing Headquarters erupted into activity as day faded into night, with members staffing communication stations, looking over maps and aeronautical charts to plan air searches, arranging staging area for ground teams and trying to glean any additional information to assist with the search.

As dawn broke the following morning, aircrews began lifting off from airports at various locations around the state to conduct searches along the Lynches. Ground teams were dispatched to strategic points along the river.

During the search a ground team was dispatched after an emergency locator transmitter was detected in another part of the state. Meanwhile, state officials requested aerial photography of the Coastal Shoreline and Counties to assess damage to infrastructure after the storm’s passing, and shortly afterward aircrews lifted off to generate the requested images.

Shortly after noon a ground team located the missing fisherman and his son, then turned them over for medical treatment. In addition, another ground team tracked the ELT to Greenwood County Airport and silenced it. And aircrews submitted aerial photos to state officials for inspection.

In all, 138 South Carolina Wing members from 17 of the 19 squadrons responded to the call, and nine of the wing’s 10 planes took to the air.

Air Force evaluators cited air operations, logistics, public information and briefing organization and planning as areas in which the wing excelled. The wing’s leadership team is now looking at recommendations from the Air Force and from participants within the wing to identify any areas that could be improved on.

N.H. Wing Legislative Squadron Expands
Wed, 20 Feb 2019 09:49:20 -0600

Lt. Col. Mike Moffett
Assistant Public Affairs Officer
New Hampshire Wing

luncheon hosted by the New Hampshire Wing’s Legislative Squadron allowed numerous state representatives to mix and mingle with wing personnel while gaining a better appreciation of Civil Air Patrol's capabilities and missions.

The event at the State House Cafeteria also provided a recruiting opportunity for the wing – one it was able to capitalize on.

"We signed up over a couple dozen new members," said Lt. Col. Jess Edwards, Legislative Squadron commander and a second-term representative from Auburn. “And it was great to see legislators asking good questions and learning about the various ways that Civil Air Patrol makes New Hampshire a better place."

One of the newer units in the wing, the Legislative Squadron helps raise awareness of CAP among lawmakers from around the state.

"There is great value for Civil Air Patrol to be able to plug into the legislative network," Edwards added. "Constituent connectivity has value."

He’s looking into promising future initiatives, such as involving CAP in the annual Legislative Softball Classic, where Democrats and Republicans take to the field for sports bragging rights while raising money for homeless veterans.

"We also want to make sure House committees like Fish and Game, Child and Family Law, and Education become better aware of CAP's potential to assist with search and rescue situations or in aerospace training," he said.