In the run-up to the CAP national conference on August 14-15, Arizona Wing has been notified of two national award winners. The Wing’s safety program was selected for the Paul Turner Safety Award and Wing Public Affairs Officer Capt. Margot Myers was selected as the Col. Robert V. “Bud” Payton Public Affairs Officer of the Year.
Each year, the Arizona Wing nominates members and programs for national recognition during the annual conference. Wing nominees compete against their peers in the other five Southwest Region wings for the regional awards in their categories and the regional nominees then go up against their counterparts from the other seven regions in the quest for the national awards.
This year, three Arizona Wing members and one program were selected to represent the Southwest Region:
- Senior Member of the Year: Maj. Peter L. Iannone, Jr., Prescott Composite Squadron
- Safety Officer of the Year: Capt. Dolly M. Mickle, Group 7
- Col. Robert V. “Bud” Payton Public Affairs Officer of the Year: Capt. Margot A. Myers, Deer Valley Composite Squadron and Arizona Wing
- Paul Turner Safety Award: Arizona Wing
This is the second time in recent years that Arizona Wing has received the Paul Turner Safety Award. This is an annual award, named for a former CAP national commander, presented to the CAP wing with the most outstanding safety program based on a demonstrated emphasis on risk management and mishap prevention. The wing also received this award in 2017.
“Lt. Col. Corey Stohlquist and his team have done an outstanding job managing the safety program in Arizona Wing,” said Wing Commander Col. Rob Pinckard. “The safety team focuses on ensuring safe operations for our people and equipment, both during CAP activities and in members’ everyday lives.”
Myers currently serves as PAO for the Deer Valley Composite Squadron and Arizona Wing. She also is a member of the Arizona-based National Cell Phone Forensics Team, serving as the team’s public information officer. The award nomination cites her work publicizing the work of Arizona Wing members at the local, regional, and national levels; working with squadron PAOs to develop their public affairs plans; managing the 2019 Arizona Wing/Southwest Region annual conference including a meeting of the CAP Board of Governors; and serving as the PIO on a virtual incident management team for the Puerto Rico earthquake disaster relief mission.
When the Arizona Wing began its mission to support the Red Cross during the COVID-19 pandemic by opening its squadron facilities as emergency blood donation centers on March 20, the goal was to collect 500 units of blood by Aug. 31. That goal was exceeded a month early, on July 30, when 31 units donated at the 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale brought the overall total to 519 units.
“This was the 15th blood donor center mission in 106 days. That’s unprecedented,” said Lt. Col. Bob Ditch, incident commander for the Arizona Wing’s effort. “But we still have more lives to help save,” he said, noting that six more blood drives are already scheduled for August.
Bo Schultz-Andersen of Sun City West donated the 500th unit. When he walked into the squadron building wearing a Red Cross “We’re All in This Together” T-shirt, it was clear he wasn’t a first-time donor.
“I began donating as a member of the Danish Army in the late ‘60s and have continued to donate over the years,” Schultz-Andersen said. Many of his fellow soldiers weren’t eager to donate blood, he recalled. “When we offered them a beer in return for donating, they changed their minds,” he said.
Kurt Kroemer, the Red Cross regional CEO for Arizona and New Mexico, visited the blood drive along with Donor Recruitment Manager Rita Anderson, who brought some gifts from the Red Cross for the 500th-unit donor. Schultz-Andersen also received a CAP Operation Pulse Lift challenge coin and an Arizona Wing patch.
Both Kroemer and Anderson thanked the wing for its continuing support. “Many of our partners will host a blood drive once a year,” Kroemer said. “The fact that you have sponsored 15 blood drives since mid-April is remarkable.”
Brig. Gen. Ed Phelka, CAP’s national vice commander, was impressed to hear about the wing’s blood donation efforts. “The Arizona Wing has demonstrated the powerful reach our lifesaving missions can have when Civil Air Patrol cooperates with partner organizations like the Red Cross,” he said. “Well done!”
A July 21, 2020, memo from National Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith discusses a continuing pause in CAP activities for Wings that have begun remobilization. Arizona Wing is not directly affected because COVID-19 statistics in Arizona have kept the Wing from entering into Phase I of remobilization.
This means in-person squadron meetings will continue to be prohibited. Essential missions, including the three COVID-19 related missions assigned to Arizona Wing by the Air Force, will continue.
Here is a portion of Gen. Smith’s memo
As we have all seen over recent days, there are many States experiencing negative trends, and this has forced several Wings to stop or at least slow their remobilization efforts. Our COVID-19 Planning Team continues to monitor activity across the country, and though we continue to make progress, they have recommended, and I concur that we need to proceed
carefully in order to protect our membership. To that end, we are implementing the following:
a. CAP will pause any movement from Phase II to III until 1 September 2020.
b. In order for a Wing to move from Phase II to III, CAP will require a 4-week downward trend in cases within the State.
It is also likely that we will continue to deal with COVID-19 issues for several more months across the country, if not longer. That means that we will likely have to respond to what could be a record hurricane season as well as other disasters while contending with COVID-19. In order to be sure that CAP is prepared, the COVID-19 Planning Team will be helping the CAP and CAP-USAF Operations staff create an operations plan for what we consider to be the worst-case scenario at this point: a hurricane impacting Southeast Region requiring a large-scale CAP response where most Wings are still in Phase 0.
Civil Air Patrol’s Cochise Composite Squadron opened its facility in Sierra Vista as an emergency Red Cross blood donation center on July 7, 2020, for the first time. Forty-four donors responded, resulting in 42 units collected to help keep critical blood supplies available during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Incident Commander Lt. Col. Bob Ditch congratulated the squadron on the success of the effort. “Your blood donor center broke all existing records. The 42 units of blood collected today is unprecedented.” With today’s donations, CAP has collected 397 units of blood in 83 days on the way to a goal of 500 units by the end of August.
Donors ranged from first-timers to seasoned veterans, including Sgt. 1st Class Brett Cowan, currently serving on active duty with the U.S. Army at Ft. Huachuca. “I have donated before,” Cowan said, “and saw the opportunity advertised on the Red Cross website.”
Another frequent donor, educator Roger Hill, told Whitworth, “My goal is to give 200 pints by the time I reach 60 years old.” He has already donated 160 pints.
Emergency blood donation centers hosted by the Eloy Composite Squadron on July 1 and the 388th Composite Squadron on July 5 pushed total for the Arizona Wing COVID-19 blood donation mission to 354 units collected.
The 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale exceeded all expectations for a single day of blood donations while hosting the Arizona Wing’s 10th COVID-19 Operation Pulse Lift blood donor center.
“With a goal of 25 units of blood, the squadron hosted a record surge of 33 units collected in only five hours,” Incident Commander Lt. Col. Bob Ditch said. “From what I have been told, this is a new American Red Cross record for a blood donation site like Glendale.”
Ditch said that the 354 blood units collected so far brings the Wing to 71% of its goal of 500 units by August 31.
Future dates for blood donation centers include:
- July 7 – Cochise (Full)
- July 12 – 388th (Full)
- July 27 – Falcon (Slots available)
- July 28 – Falcon (Full)
- July 30 – 388th (Slots available)
- August 11 – Falcon (Slots available)
Wing members who are not close to one of the the scheduled donation centers may donate at any Red Cross or Vitalant collection center and have the donation count toward the mission total. (Email email@example.com to have your donation added to the count.)
Eloy Composite Squadron hosted its first Red Cross blood drive today at Eloy Jr. High School. A total of 27 units of blood were donated, seven above today’s goal of 20.
This blood drive brings the total units collected in Arizona Wing as part of its COVID-19 emergency blood donation mission to 316. That’s 63% of the mission goal to reach 500 units donated by the end of August.
“Great job, Blue Devils,” said Incident Commander Lt. Col. Bob Ditch.
Arizona Wing added a second COVID-19 mission in mid-June in response to a request from the Maricopa County Department of Health that was tasked through the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs. The mission involves transporting food to two facilities where people who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are quarantined.
A minimum of two CAP members are required to carry out the mission, driving a CAP van to the UMOM Helping Hand Café in downtown Phoenix on Saturday and Sunday afternoons to pick up containers filled with prepared meals. The containers are delivered to two hotels and handed off to Health Department employees who remove the meals and return the empty containers to the CAP members. The empty containers are then returned to UMOM and the day’s “sortie” is complete.
Lt. Col. Paul Rehman is serving as the incident commander. “This particular tasking is exceedingly simple and extraordinarily important,” Rehman said. “If we fail to deliver on our promise of fulfilling this mission, we’ll have left hungry people without meals. This is our chance to demonstrate to our county and state partners that we are a resource they can count on today and in the future when other mission needs arise.”
Squadrons throughout the Phoenix area were asked to volunteer teams to handle the deliveries. Currently, the mission has no end date and initial recruiting called for crews until the end of August.
As of June 17, when the eighth Arizona Wing-sponsored blood drive was held, a total of 286 units of blood have been collected. The wing’s COVID-19 mission to support the American Red Cross with emergency blood donation centers began in mid-April. The goal is to reach 500 units by the time the mission is slated to end on August 31.
Drives have been held at the Falcon Composite Squadron in Mesa and at the 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale.
Additional drives are scheduled at Eloy Jr. High School (Eloy Composite Squadron) on July 1, Cochise Composite Squadron in Sierra Vista on July 7, at Falcon Squadron on July 28, and the 388th on July 30. Visit the Red Cross website to make an appointment to donate.
Arizona Wing members are encouraged to donate blood at any Red Cross or Vitalant location that is convenient. Notify Incident Commander Lt. Col. Bob Ditch (firstname.lastname@example.org) of your donation so it can be added to the total number of units donated through CAP.
The 2020 Arizona Wing Conference will be virtual. Originally scheduled as an in-person meeting in May at the Prescott Resort and Conference Center, the conference was postponed to October due to COVID-19 restrictions.
As the three-phase reopening plan for AZ Wing remains a work in progress and the daily stats from the AZ Dept of Public Health show some indicators going in the wrong direction, wing leadership decided not to plan for a face-to-face meeting this year.
A plan is being developed for a virtual conference but there are no details at this time. The meeting date and further information will be announced when available.
Lt. Col. Fred G. (“Fritz”) Seifritz, a mainstay of Arizona Wing’s Aerospace Education program for more than 20 years, died on June 4. The initial notification came from AZ Wing Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Thomas Bauder who said, “It is with sorrow that I report the passing of Fred Seifritz. Many of you knew Fred as the fellow who would do anything he was asked. Since his passing was sudden and unexpected, his family will keep us informed regarding services for him.”
Seifritz joined Civil Air Patrol in January 1988 and served in aerospace education, cadet programs, and emergency services positions at the squadron, group, and wing levels. He assembled and managed several extensive displays of CAP uniforms and memorabilia, as well as aerospace education materials, which he set up at air shows and other aviation-related events.
He held master ratings in four specialty tracks — aerospace education, cadet programs, emergency services, and plans and programs — in addition to being a mission observer and ground team member.
Seifritz relocated to Arizona from Chicago and attended Phoenix College and Northern Arizona University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1973. He served for four years in the U.S. Air Force and later worked as a ranger for the National Park Service and held positions with Maricopa County, the city of Glendale, and as a faculty associate for Arizona State University.
His long-time partner in the Arizona Wing aerospace education program, Lt. Col. Peter Feltz, said this is “a great loss to CAP and Aerospace Education and (he) will be greatly missed.”