Civil Air Patrol

Civil Air Patrol Contributes to Total Force Integration

The following article from Luke Air Force Base Public Affairs started with a suggestion by Lt. Col. Ted Stults, Deer Valley Composite Squadron, an active member of the retiree activities office at the base located west of Phoenix. Interviews with Master Sgt. George Risinger, 388th Composite Squadron, and Arizona Wing PAO Maj. Margot Myers followed, leading to this article that describes how CAP supports its active duty partners at Luke and vice versa. It was published December 14, 2021, by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.

By Senior Airman Leala Marquez 
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs 

Cadets from Deer Valley Composite Squadron are looking into the cockpit of an F-16 fighter as Maj. Houston Pye (seated) explains the instruments and controls. (Photo by 1st Lt. Frank Arvizu)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – The U.S. Air Force has many entities that contribute to the ‘Total Force’ concept. This concept emphasizes the importance of non-active duty entities, such as the National Guard and U.S. Air Force Reserves. The Civil Air Patrol is another organization that plays an important role in the total force concept. As a nonprofit organization, CAP, which recently celebrated its 80th anniversary, serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the Air Force with the mission to volunteer to serve America’s communities, save lives, and shape futures.

CAP has a fleet of 560 single-engine aircraft, approximately 2,000 small unmanned aircraft systems, and performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Luke Air Force Base members have the opportunity to volunteer through the non-commissioned officer program with CAP to educate and inform CAP cadets of the mission and opportunities available in the Air Force, as well as encourage them to be active participants in their communities.

“The NCO program is important because it brings the NCO leadership and military skills to the [CAP] program,” said retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. George Risinger, deputy commander of CAP’s 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale, Arizona. “As an Air Force NCO, we are familiar in training and mentoring our younger troops. Since we wear the Air Force uniform, NCOs are able to assist members on uniform and grooming standards. NCO’s military experience can quickly be integrated into the CAP missions. Our military training can be used to enhance CAP capability during humanitarian and Air Force tasked missions.”

Luke AFB and CAP members work together regularly to help accomplish each other’s missions.

“[Support] is really a two-way street, with CAP members supporting nearby military installations and also benefiting from the opportunities offered to them,” said Maj. Margot Myers, CAP Arizona Wing public affairs officer. “One great example is that CAP supports the airshows at both Luke and Davis-Monthan Air Force Bases. CAP provides a STEM display and activities for airshow visitors, along with a static display of a CAP airplane. Active duty Air Force members also have provided opportunities for cadets to tour base facilities, fly simulators, and learn more about future careers in the Air Force.”

There are opportunities in CAP for any Air Force members or retirees, no matter their rank, to serve. Pilots are always in demand, but CAP also needs people with a variety of skills, from administration and personnel to finance and safety.

The Arizona Wing of CAP currently has more than 1,100 adult and cadet members, including 215 qualified aircrew personnel and 726 emergency responders.

It is an essential branch of the Air Force and the total force concept. They have completed many missions, including 12 search and rescue and three disaster relief missions in 2020. In addition, they provided COVID-19 relief by distributing test kits and personal protective equipment and transporting completed test kits. The Arizona Wing-based Operation Pulse Lift emergency blood donation mission has supported the collection of nearly 8,500 units of blood across the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially saving more than 25,000 lives.

“To join CAP, you will need to find the nearest CAP squadron, contact the CAP point of contact and arrange to attend a couple of their meetings,” said Risinger. “Once you have attended a few meetings, we will schedule a membership board to discuss with you the program and requirements.” A squadron locator and more information about membership are available on the CAP national website,

To be a cadet, you must be at least 12 years old and no older than 18. To be an NCO in CAP, you must be at least a staff sergeant, active duty or retired with an honorable discharge. Cadets who are already in the program before they turn 19 may remain up until their 21st birthday, at which point they will transition to the senior member category.

To find more information on how to volunteer or join CAP, email

Celebrate CAP’s 80th Anniversary with Falcon Composite Squadron

Falcon Composite Squadron 305 in Mesa is hosting a party to celebrate Civil Air Patrol’s 80th Anniversary, which occurs on December 1. The party will be on Saturday, December 4, at Falcon Park, just behind (west of) the parking lot for the squadron building, which is located at 4730 E. Falcon Dr. in Mesa. The hours are 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Lt. Col. Jim Oliver is organizing the event and says there will be hamburgers and hotdogs, chips, and sodas or water available to buy for a very reasonable price. And he promises there will be cake.

The squadron needs to plan for how many CAP members (and their family members and friends) will attend so please send an email to to let him know if you will join in the celebration.

CAP Safety Announces 2022 National Safety Officer College

National Safety Officer College 2022 will begin April 5 and run through June 6. The multi-week, virtual format will allow for shorter meeting sessions once per week with analysis of case studies and other similar exercises occurring in between virtual meeting sessions.

The primary audience for this training includes safety officers in a duty position who have not yet completed NSOC and those who are senior-rated in the safety officer specialty track and seeking their master rating. The course will welcome additional participants as capacity permits.

For more information, contact the safety office at national headquarters via email or visit the website.

New Issue of SW Region Fly-By Now Available

The October 2021 issue of Southwest Region’s quarterly electronic newsletter, The Fly-By, is now available for viewing. In addition to articles from across Arizona Wing, read about what CAP members are doing in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and throughout the Southwest Region.

Thank you to Lt. Col. Bob Ditch, Capt. Dale Finfrock, Lt. Col. Gordon Helm, Tech. Sgt. John Horne, Cadet Capt. Henry Meyers, Master Sgt. George Risinger, and 2nd Lt. Mitch Smith for their contributions to this issue.

Read their stories and more in The Fly-By here.

AZ Wing Squadrons Excel in High-Altitude Balloon Challenge

Two of the eight Arizona Wing squadrons that participated in the National CAP Cadet High-Altitude Balloon Challenge received awards during a virtual ceremony on October 6. Show Low Composite Squadron was one of four finalists for the grand prize and received an honorable mention award of $250 for creativity in covering all aspects of the documentary. Davis-Monthan Composite Squadron received a $400 Project of Distinction Award.

This program was designed to promote aerospace and STEM education through the Civil Air Patrol and StratoStar Company, a STEM education consulting organization.

Each participating cadet unit was required to create one or two small experiments, a short two-to-three-minute video of the experiment and design process, a digital mission patch, and a final four-to-five-minute video of the experiment process and results. The cadet experiments were carried to the edge of space at 100,000 feet by a high-altitude balloon and returned to earth. Afterward, cadets received their submitted experiments to conduct final process steps.

Arizona Wing Director of Aerospace Education Maj. Ron Marks said, “Arizona did extremely well overall and special congratulations go to the Show Low Squadron for being named a top four finalist for the $5,000 Kittinger Cup. This is an amazing achievement, and we would like to congratulate Lt. Col. Carol Schaubschlager and Squadron 210 members on this accomplishment.”

Lt. Col. Revone Bauwens is the Show Low squadron’s Aerospace Education Officer and worked with the team on its award-winning project. “I was so impressed with the direction that Lt. Col. Bauwens provided the cadets in their scientific process,” Schaubschlager said. “It was her idea to take them to Northland Pioneer College to visit with Professor Lopez on one of their experiments, the fungus that attacks the Ponderosa pine, which is native to our area.”

Professor Patricia Lopez, who teaches biology at Northland Pioneer College, assisted Cadet Airman Gavin Zimmerman and Cadet Staff Sgt. T.J. Hess with their High-Altitude Balloon Challenge project.

Cadet Airman 1st Class Kaden Lucas was one of the six cadets on the team. “It was a lot of fun,” Lucas said. “I felt like I was able to learn more about the other cadets that participated. I also enjoyed the teamwork aspect, as well as the experiments we were able to do.”

The value of teamwork also appealed to Cadet Airman Gavin Zimmerman. “The project was really fun and we learned a lot,” he said. “We especially learned about teamwork. We also learned that you can’t just not do much work and hope to get first place. You have to work for it.”

“It was one of the best programs I have participated in and I’m very excited with the outcome,” Cadet Staff Sgt. T.J. Hess said. “I will definitely be participating next year if possible.”

“I was so flabbergasted to see our name as a finalist in the four out of 139 teams,” Schaubschlager said. “That in itself is a great honor. It only tells you that with hard work and dedication the only way you can go is up!”

The other members of the Show Low squadron team were Cadet Airman 1st Class Kyler Owens, Cadet Airman Trevor Owens, and Cadet Airman Levi Owens. Bauwens and 2nd Lt. Jeff Hess were the senior members who supported the team.

Capt. Michael Griffith is the squadron commander and assistant AEO at Davis-Monthan squadron. “We had such a great time exploring the potential questions and experiments that we could have pursued during the flight,” Griffith said. “While we did this activity as a whole squadron (41 cadets), we broke into small groups often to work on different aspects of the project development. It was a great project for us and I hope our squadron will be able to participate again.

“I’m honored, on behalf of my squadron and cadets, to have been selected for the Project of Distinction award. The cadets worked together from picking a branch of science to explore through analysis of the data we got back from the flight. I loved that multiple cadets submitted candidates for the final science slide we had to submit.  It showed both their understanding of the material and their eye for design.”

Several of the Davis-Monthan Composite Squadron cadets submitted designs for the final science slide that was submitted with their High-Altitude Balloon Challenge project.

Marks also thanked Arizona Wing AE Project Leader Capt. Brett Russo of Sky Harbor Composite Squadron who led this effort wingwide in addition to coaching a team from his squadron.  

The Kittinger trophy and a $5,000 cash prize for the most outstanding project were awarded to a team representing two Massachusetts Wing squadrons that combined forces to work on their project. Col. Joe Kittinger, USAF (retired) is a former fighter pilot and aeromedical high-altitude researcher and was an early pioneer in the exploration of human high-altitude experience.

Read more about the National High-Altitude Balloon Challenge here.

See the 80th Anniversary Video

If you didn’t get a chance to see the 80th Anniversary video that was shown at the CAP National Conference in August, it’s now available to watch on YouTube. In just over three minutes, you’ll see how CAP’s proud past has enabled the organization to envision the future.

Uniform Manual Changes are Effective August 9, 2021

An interim change letter issued on August 9, 2021, covers wide-ranging changes to the CAP Uniform Manual, CAPR 39-1.

Some of the changes include:

  • Medical waivers related to beards
  • Guidance on acceptable face coverings to be worn with various CAP uniforms
  • Changes to hair standards for both male and female members. For females with long hair, the CAP regulation aligns with recent changes to Air Force standards, allowing single or double braids or a ponytail that falls below the shoulders.
  • An option for females to wear trousers as part of the mess dress uniform
  • A new Volunteer University Instructor badge
  • New aviation insignia for sUAS technicians and pilots

Leaping Past 5,000: Operation Pulse Lift Reaches Goal Two Months Early

On July 27, 2021, Desiree Edwards of Pinetop, Arizona, donated the 5,000th unit of blood collected in Arizona Wing’s Operation Pulse Lift mission during an emergency blood donor center hosted by Show Low Composite Squadron.

The morning began with a base of 4,956 units of blood collected under Operation Pulse Lift, the COVID-19-related mission that began in April 2020. By the end of the day, the count had gone to 5,007 units, surpassing the goal originally set for the end of Civil Air Patrol’s fiscal year on September 30, 2021.

Show Low and Falcon Composite Squadrons both hosted blood donation efforts on Tuesday and, according to incident commander Lt. Col. Bob Ditch, were “neck and neck throughout the day in blood collections.”

Desiree Edwards of Pinetop, Arizona, was the 5000th donor in Civil Air Patrol’s Operation Pulse Lift mission. She donated blood on July 27 at a blood donation center sponsored by Show Low Composite Squadron.

This was the Show Low Squadron’s seventh COVID-19 blood donor center event. The squadron went on to support the collection of 25 units, while the blood donation center at Falcon added 24 more units to the total. Show Low Squadron hosted its eighth blood donor center on July 28, yielding 20 additional units. With personal donations reported by Civil Air Patrol members, that brought the weekly total at CAP-sponsored blood drives to 69 units and the overall mission total to 5,047.

Since it began, Operation Pulse Lift has supported 95 blood donor center events in five states, collecting enough blood to potentially save 15,141 lives during the COVID-19 pandemic response. In addition to the blood donated at these CAP-sponsored events, members from the across the organization have reported independent blood donations to be added to the total.

A little more than a year ago, on July 31, 2020, Operation Pulse Lift celebrated the donation of the 500th unit of blood.

Jason Benedict, Donor Services Executive for the Red Cross Arizona and New Mexico Region, praised the work being done through Operation Pulse Lift. “Please know that you all are doing something here that is extremely extraordinary! While we work with many blood sponsors throughout the country and are grateful for each and every one of them, it is different when you have an organization who has made it their personal mission, “Operation Pulse Lift,” to answer the need in the way that you all have,” Benedict said.

Ditch was quick to note that even though the 5,000-unit goal was reached, Operation Pulse Lift will continue, with eight blood donor centers scheduled in Mesa, Show Low, Sierra Vista, and Tucson before the end of September. The current need for blood donations is critical as the Red Cross has only a one-day supply of blood on its shelves.

Critical Need for Blood Donors

The American Red Cross reports that its blood reserves are at critical levels, with only a one-day supply. To encourage donations, until the end of July, donors will receive a $10 Amazon e-gift card from the Red Cross and be entered in a drawing to win gas for a year (a $5,000 value).

Arizona Wing’s Operation Pulse Lift is responding by adding an emergency blood donation center on Tuesday, July 27, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Falcon Composite Squadron in Mesa. Visit and use sponsor code CAP to schedule an appointment to donate. If you are unable to participate in the Falcon blood drive, find a location and time convenient for you using that same website.

If you donate at a non-CAP-sponsored Red Cross site, email to have your donation count toward the Operation Pulse Lift total. Nearly 4,700 units of blood were donated at CAP-sponsored blood drives as of July 18, as this long-running COVID-19 mission aims to reach 5,000 units donated by September 30.

Arizona Wing’s Sian Proctor Trains for Space Mission

Maj. (Dr.) Sian Proctor, a member of Sky Harbor Composite Squadron, is spending her summer training as the pilot for a mid-September flight to space on the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission. Geologist, explorer, South Mountain Community College professor, former CAP cadet and current aerospace education officer, Proctor’s story is all about dreams coming true.

Read the full story of Proctor’s journey from cadet to astronaut on

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