Civil Air Patrol

Col. Rob Pinckard Assumes Command of AZ Wing

On January 4, 2020, Col. Robert C. Pinckard assumed command of Arizona Wing from Col. Martha Morris. Southwest Region Commander Col. Joe Smith presided over the traditional military change of command ceremony, which was held at the Scottsdale Airport Aviation Business Center.

Col. Robert C. Pinckard (left) takes the oath of office from Southwest Region Commander Col. Joe Smith during the change of command ceremony. (Photo by Maj. Rick Yang, CAP)

“It’s a great honor for me to have been chosen to lead the Arizona Wing,” Pinckard said. “I’m following in the footsteps of some exceptional wing commanders.”

Approximately 200 Arizona Wing members, their families and invited guests attended the ceremony.  Several awards were presented to CAP members, including a Certificate of Commendation for Lifesaving to 2nd Lt. Frank Arvizu, Deer Valley Composite Squadron, for rescuing five people from a vehicle involved in a five-car accident.

Pinckard assumes command of a wing that highly rated and well respected. “This is a great team of top performers,” Pinckard said. “I look forward to working with you to achieve continued success.” 

Pinckard joined Willie Composite Squadron in Chandler, Arizona, in 2001 and served as the squadron finance officer and cadet programs officer. In 2007, he assumed command of the squadron. Subsequently, he was promoted to group and sector commander positions before becoming the wing chief of staff in January 2016 and vice commander in July 2018.

He is an active incident commander, ground branch director, and ground team leader, with a master rating in emergency services and has three additional master ratings, one senior rating, and five technician ratings in a wide variety of CAP specialty tracks.

During his CAP career, Pinckard has been credited with more than 100 finds and three saves during Arizona Wing operational missions and has assisted with the physical rescue and recovery of the victims of multiple air crash and missing persons missions.

Pinckard has organized, conducted and taught at numerous ground and combined air/ground search and rescue and wilderness survival courses throughout Arizona Wing. He has trained and qualified numerous CAP ground team search and rescue and wilderness first aid members as well as many representatives of Arizona county sheriffs’ SAR teams who have participated in Arizona Wing ground team training. Pinckard also has instructed at several Unit Commander Courses, Squadron Leadership Schools, and Corporate Leadership Courses, as well as at Regional Staff College.

By day, Pinckard is a founder, owner and CEO of Allen & Pinckard Industrial Contractors, Inc., a 25-year-old, $8 million/year, multi-licensed specialty contractor operating in the western U.S. Pinckard and his wife, Pat, reside in San Tan Valley, Arizona, where they breed and train prize-winning Appaloosa horses.

Maj. Gen. Mark Smith Issues 2019 Holiday Message

In a video message to all CAP members, National Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith addressed several topics including:

  • How CAP is part of a broad effort to develop more pilots who can help meet the aircrew shortage the Air Force is facing.
  • His participation in the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Gen. Smith called these two items “bookends” because CAP is supported by funding from the Air Force at a national level and fundraisers like Wreaths Across America at the squadron level. Between those two, Gen. Smith said, there is an opportunity for members to consider CAP when making decisions about end-of-year charitable donations.

Pinckard Named Next AZ Wing Commander

On December 3, 2019, Southwest Region Commander Col. Joe Smith announced the selection of Lt. Col. Robert C. Pinckard to serve as the next Arizona Wing commander. Pinckard, an 18-year member of CAP, served most recently as the wing vice-commander.

Pinckard joined Willie Composite Squadron in Chandler, Arizona, in 2001 and served as the squadron finance officer and cadet programs officer. In 2007, he assumed command of the squadron. Subsequently, he was promoted to group and sector commander positions before becoming the chief of staff in January 2016 and vice-commander in July 2018.

Summer encampment featured in Sierra Vista paper

Cadet Master Sgt. Nathan Poulton, Neotoma Composite Squadron 109 in Tucson, tackles the Rappel Tower at Fort Huachuca during AZ Wing Summer Encampment. Photo: Mark Levy, Herald/Review.

The largest-ever group of cadets completed the Arizona Wing summer encampment at Fort Huachuca in late June. The event was featured in an article in the local newspaper, the Sierra Vista Herald/Review. Read the full article here.

sUAS Class Offered via ‘Telepresence’

William Rogers Memorial Squadron 104 in Tucson offered an FAA Basic Drone Class on June 22. The course covered basic information leading to potential CAP sUAS Pilot qualification. The course is required for FAA and CAP sUAS Certification.

The course was held at the University of Arizona College of Education. Members unable to attend in person could participate via telepresence.

CAP Memorial Day Video

National Command Chief Master Sergeant Robert Dandridge talks about what Memorial Day means to him in a new video from CAP National Headquarters.

As you remember family members and friends who made the ultimate sacrifice, please watch this new CAP Memorial Day video. The interviews were recorded as the CAP National Command Staff and Board of Governors met in Phoenix last month in conjunction with the Southwest Region/Arizona Wing Conference.

Air Force Team Finds Arizona Wing is Ready to Conduct Disaster Relief/Search and Rescue Missions

Arizona Wing’s use of an sUAS team during an Evaluated Exercise was a first for the CAP-USAF evaluation team. This image, shot from a CAP sUAS, shows sUAS team leader 1st Lt. Don Fry portraying a search target lost in the desert.

A U.S. Air Force Southwest Liaison Region (SWLR) evaluation team found that the Arizona Wing is ready to respond during an actual emergency. Along with the top rating of “Ready,” the evaluators noted six “commendables,” activities or processes that enhance mission readiness and allow for more effective and efficient mission accomplishment.

Sharing the final report from the Air Force evaluation team on the Evaluated Exercise (EvalEx), Arizona Wing Commander Col. Martha Morris wrote: “It is with great pride and honor that I forward to you the final report from SWLR. It states what we already know. Arizona Wing is second to none. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to our program.”

Read the full article…

AZ Wing Conference Award Winners

At the conclusion of the 2019 Arizona Wing Conference, awards were presented to members from across the wing for their achievements The Arizona Wing of the Year Awards winners are:

Administrative Officer – Capt Klara G. Olcott

Aerospace Education Teacher – Capt Nancy R Parra-Quinlan

Aircraft Maintenance Officer – Capt. Russell Miller

Cadet Aerospace Education Award – C/SSgt Anthony Orlando

Cadet Programs Officer – 2nd Lt Elizabeth Schmitt

Communication Officer – Maj William “Scotty” Haskell

Counter Drug Officer – Captain Russell Miller

Emergency Services Officer – Maj Christopher Dusard

Finance Officer of the Year – Capt Douglas K Isaly

Health Service Officer – Maj Dr. Larry Schappa

New Member – 1st Lt Joel (Michael) Ricker

Public Affairs Officer – Lt Col Robert Ditch

Senior Member – Capt. Gordon Helm

Two Arizona Wing members also were recognized with Southwest Region Awards:

Aerospace Education Award – Maj Dr. Robert Kaye

Character Development Instructor/Officer – Maj Edwin Segura

Death of Lt. Col. Arthur Weisberger

Arizona Wing Commander Col. Martha Morris today announced the death of long-time Arizona Wing member Lt. Col. Arthur Weisberger, 87. “Lt. Col. Weisberger was a pilot, observer and airborne photographer for us, excelling in each,” Col. Morris said in the announcement.  “He was quite a character and full of stories. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”

(L-R) Southwest Region Commander Col. Joe Smith, Weisberger, Arizona Wing Commander Col. Martha Morris.

At the 2018 Arizona Wing Conference, Weisberger received the Congressional Gold Medal based on his service during World War II. He grew up in Tucson and joined the Civil Air Patrol in June 1944, at the age of 13.  Squadron meetings were held at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, so Cadet Weisberger had to hitchhike the 14 miles from Tucson to Davis-Monthan.

In 1945, a lieutenant from the U.S. Army Air Force came to one of the squadron’s meetings and explained that they needed help disarming and overhauling the .50-caliber machine guns on all of the aircraft returning from Europe and Asia.  He asked if any of the cadets would be interested in helping and explained that they would first have to go through Aerial Gunnery School.

Weisberger volunteered along with six other cadets. They joined 19
Army Air Force members in learning how to disassemble and reassemble the .50-caliber machine guns; how to lead a target on the shotgun range; and finally, flying in a B-17 and shooting at a target at 17,000 feet. Weisberger said that somehow he managed to get enough hits to qualify as an Aerial Gunner and he proudly wore the badge on his CAP Cadet uniform. 

Read the full article…

Cell Phone Team Helps Searchers Find Missing Boy, Father in Montana

Gallatin County Search and Rescue Team members arrange to transport a 12-year-old boy rescued in the Spanish Peaks area near Bozeman, Montana. Photo courtesy of Gallatin County, Montana, Sheriff’s Office.

Information provided by Civil Air Patrol’s National Cell Phone Forensics Team helped lead searchers late Tuesday to a 12-year-old Utah boy and his father lost in subzero temperatures and near-blizzard conditions in the Spanish Peaks area southwest of Bozeman, Montana.  

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center alerted the cell phone team after the child’s mother reported the pair overdue at 6:30 p.m. local time. Col. Brian Ready took the lead on the mission for the team.

By then 20 members of the Gallatin County, Montana, Search and Rescue Team – volunteers within the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office – were searching on snowmobiles and skis.

Searchers found the boy about 10 p.m. Hypothermic and dazed, he was transported to a nearby hospital. As he warmed up, a sheriff’s deputy asked him questions to try to get a better idea of where to continue the search.

“Gallatin SAR had a pretty good idea about where to look for the father, but the cell phone forensics helped to narrow down the search area to about 1 square mile,” Ready said.

“It was our privilege to work with the dedicated volunteers from Gallatin SAR and help them reunite father and son.”

The father was found shortly after midnight. Despite frostbite, he and his son were in reasonably good condition, according to the sheriff’s office, especially considering conditions.

A member of the Gallatin SAR team emailed Ready a photo of two members of the sheriff’s team with the boy at the hospital. “I was asked to pass a photo on to you and your team,” the accompanying message said. “It’s a picture of one of the individuals you helped us find this evening. Our captain wanted to let you know that what you do matters, and that we appreciate it. And I know there’s a family out there tonight that appreciates you as well.”

Passing along the message to the team at the AFRCC, Ready wrote, “A great result to an awesome team effort. The reason we all do SAR. Please know how much we appreciate your efforts.”

The AFRCC credited the cell phone team with two saves, bringing to 48 the total number of saves for CAP in fiscal 2019.

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