Civil Air Patrol

41 Blood Drives, 1,291 Blood Units Donated to Save Lives

The 41st Operation Pulse Lift Blood Donation Center (BDC) operation since mid-April took place on November 25 at the Cochise Composite Squadron in Sierra Vista. Since the COVID blood donation mission began, 1,291 units of blood have been donated.

“Today again, the Cochise Squadron went far over the donor average (27) to help collect 35 units of blood,” said Incident Commander Lt. Col. Bob Ditch. “This took the total amount of blood donated to 91 units over the planned annual goal of 1,200.”

Ditch expressed his thanks to the 157 members from across the Arizona Wing who helped to make a difference in the lives of 3,873 people who benefited from the donated blood. He especially noted the work of Arizona Wing Safety Team members for their efforts to ensure that all 41 blood drives were conducted safely.

Members of the Arizona Wing, who supported the ongoing COVID-19 blood donation mission received an unexpected recognition and Thanksgiving gift from the national and regional headquarters of the American Red Cross. All members who have worked on the mission will be presented with an Operation Pulse Lift commemorative challenge coin, designed and produced by the Red Cross/ This is in recognition of the Arizona Wing’s peerless service during the largest, longest-running blood donation mission in the nation, collecting 1,291 units of blood through an unprecedented 41 blood donation events.

Ditch is still asking for anyone in the wing who has donated blood independently (outside a CAP-sponsored blood drive) to contact him (rditch@cap.gov) so those donations may be added to the total.

The November 25 blood drive concluded the 2020 schedule of donor events, but the Wing remains on-call for the rest of the year, to support its partners at the American Red Cross, for no-notice and backfill needs. The next scheduled blood drive will be in early January in Tucson.

The current Operation Pulse Lift stats are as follows:

  • Total blood units collected over three years prior to COVID missions: 527
  • Total blood units collected during seven-month COVID mission: 1,291
  • Total blood units collected via Operation Pulse Lift: 1,818 
  • Total lives potentially saved: 5,454
  • Total person encounters in 2020: 1,613 (Includes those screened and not approved to donate for various reasons)
  • Total COVID cross-infections to CAP personnel: 0   

AZ Wing Blasts Past Thanksgiving Blood Donation Goal

With simultaneous blood drives at the 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale and the Falcon Composite Squadron in Mesa on November 17, the Arizona Wing soared past its goal of having 1,200 units of blood donated by Thanksgiving. The total for the COVID-related mission was 1,226 units collected since mid-April.

These are two of the 24 donors at the 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale, who helped push Arizona Wing past its goal of 1,200 units of blood donated by Thanksgiving.

An additional blood drive on Nov. 19 at the 388th added 30 more blood units and raised the total to 1,256. With 16 blood drives, the 388th is responsible for the collection of a total of 435 units of blood.

One more blood drive this year is scheduled for Nov. 25 at Cochise Composite Squadron in Sierra Vista. Operation Pulse Lift Incident Commander Lt. Col. Bob Ditch says, “Knowing that they have always gathered record collections (once 42 units), I would not be at all surprised to see them push the Arizona Wing’s total over 1,300 units (100 units over the annual goal).”

Any wing members (or their family members) who have donated blood at any non-CAP-sponsored location may add those donations to the total number. Email Lt. Col. Ditch (rditch@cap.gov) to make your donations count.

Congratulations to Recently Promoted Wing Members

The following members of the Arizona Wing have achieved cadet milestone awards or senior member promotions in the last 90 days. Congratulations to all on these achievements.

Wright Brothers Award — promotion to Cadet Staff Sergeant

Evangelia BirnbaumSky Harbor
Samuel Dalgliesh388th
Ellie GarrisonShow Low
William HeapsLondon Bridge
Troy HolderbyDeer Valley
Cameron KenyonShow Low
Kailee Marshall-LevitchSky Harbor

Billy Mitchell Award — promotion to Cadet 2nd Lieutenant

Dean KearnEloy
Liam ProctorWillie
Colten QuackenbushDavis-Monthan

Amelia Earhart Award — promotion to Cadet Captain

Ram BubbyScottsdale
Siva BubbyScottsdale
Brenden MillerDeer Valley
Johnathon Wilmoth388th

The following senior members were recently promoted:

Stephen BarnesCaptainDeer Valley
David BarryTech SergeantPayson
John HulsCaptainScottsdale
Maria Lopez2nd LieutenantYuma
Matthew McGuireLt ColonelWm Rogers
Gregory RobertsMajorWm Rogers
William SeamanCaptainWm Rogers
John SpilotroCaptainWm Rogers

Aerospace Education Award Winners Announced

Six Arizona Wing squadrons earned the Aerospace Education Achievement Award for fiscal year 2020.

The Award winners for FY2020 are:

  • Deer Valley Squadron 302
  • Eloy Composite Squadron 131
  • Falcon Composite Squadron 305
  • Prescott Composite Squadron 206
  • Scottsdale Composite Squadron 314
  • Yuma Composite Squadron 508

“Through their dedicated efforts these squadrons completed the necessary requirements for earning this award,” said Maj. Ron Marks, Director of Aerospace Education, Arizona Wing. “In addition to achieving the AEX award, these units showed a great commitment to achieving the 8 of 12 additional tasks and activities outlined in 39-1. Thank you for your active and successful involvement in helping accomplish the AE mission and for promoting an interest in aerospace, aviation and STEM.

A certificate will be sent to the squadrons to be displayed and the awards will be presented awards virtually at some point in the future.

New Fly-By Released

The latest quarterly issue of The Fly-By, the Southwest Region electronic newsletter is now available. It includes nine stories from Arizona Wing, plus stories from throughout the region. Arizona Wing articles include:

  • Blood Donation Centers Sustain Arizona Wing’s Longest Disaster Relief Mission
  • Seeing and Sharing the Big Picture – Arizona Wing Members Develop the ‘Beacon Hunter’ – A Web-Based App for Plotting ELT Search Bearings into a Visible Database
  • Arizona Wing Cadet Earns Private Pilot Scholarship, about C/Lt. Col. Jacob Mieding from London Bridge Composite Squadron
  • Arizona Wing Squadron Embraces: Practice! Practice! Practice!, about Deer Valley Composite Squadron’s operations training in searching for 406 MHz ELTs
  • Arizona Wing Cadets Compare Notes with International Counterparts, regarding a video meeting between Prescott Composite Squadron cadets and their counterparts in the UK
  • Arizona Wing Completes Second COVID-19 Mission, about the meal delivery mission carried out for Maricopa County’s public health department
  • Arizona Wing Hosts Virtual Aerospace Education Officer School for Southwest Region, regarding the efforts of Wing AE Director Maj. Ron Marks to conduct a virtual AEO school
  • Arizona Wing Supports Transport Mission for Arizona National Guard, about the third COVID-related mission undertaken by the wing at the request of the Dept. of Emergency & Military Affairs
  • On the Road with Arizona Wing’s ‘Dr. Bob’ in Mesa, Arizona — a guest editorial from Lt. Col. Bob Ditch about the Commemorative Air Force Museum

You’ll find the Fly-By here.

Wing Conference Follow-up

Thanks to all who participated in the Arizona Wing Virtual Conference on Oct. 24. Info will be posted soon on how to watch recordings of sessions you missed (or want to watch again) and how anyone who needs credit for attending will get that credit.

Here are a few behind-the-scenes photos from the VideoWest production facility where the magic happened. That’s C/1st Lt. Deon Bryant on camera and Capt. John Bryant on teleprompter, both from Falcon Squadron 305. From Deer Valley Squadron 302, Lt. Col. Gordon Helm as emcee and Capt. Margot Myers in the control room directing the TV broadcast. (Not pictured, because he took most of these photos, is Capt. Aaron Feller from Scottsdale Squadron 314, who managed all of the technical aspects of the conference.)

There were dozens more members from across the Wing who contributed as speakers, moderators, and members of the tech support team. If you liked what you saw, it was because of all of them.

Arizona Wing, American Red Cross Reach Blood Donation Milestone

Arizona Wing met its goal of collecting 1,000 units of blood for the American Red Cross on Wednesday, more than a month before the Thanksgiving target date.

The wing passed the 1,000-unit mark in Glendale, where the 388th Composite Squadron hosted the wing’s 32nd emergency blood donation drive with the Red Cross in six months. The wing stepped in when pandemic-related restrictions prevented the Red Cross from collecting blood at its usual sites for doing so.

“Since the evening of March 17, when the surgeon general noted the critical need for blood donations during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, and the closure of nearly 4,000 blood donation centers, the Arizona Wing has been engaged in the coordination, planning and execution of the longest series of blood donation center operations in the nation by a single organization,” said Lt. Col. Bob Ditch, the wing’s incident commander for the blood drive mission..

Kurt Kroemer, Red Cross CEO for the Arizona-New Mexico-El Paso Region, cited the importance of a steady supply of much-needed blood. “Many of our partners will host a blood drive once a year,” Kroemer said. “The fact that you have sponsored more than 30 blood drives since mid-April is remarkable.”

The first two blood drives were held in April by the 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale and the Falcon Composite Squadron in Mesa. Since then, squadrons in Eloy, Show Low and Sierra Vista have joined the mission.

Capt. Klara Olcott, commander of the 388th Composite Squadron, not only manages the blood drives at her squadron’s facility but is also a blood donor.

Capt. Klara Olcott was seven days into commanding the 388th Composite when the blood donation mission started to take shape. “Putting on blood drives is a large time investment,” Olcott said, “but when our squadron took on this mission, I was confident we would be able to support it because we have capable leaders and a cohesive team. I fully credit them for stepping up to the call.”

The mission is ongoing, with another blood drive slated for the Falcon Composite Squadron on Oct. 21 and five additional drives scheduled into mid-November. “The Arizona Wing will continue this critical lifesaving mission into 2021,“though likely at a reduced pace,” Ditch said.

The blood donated in Arizona goes wherever it is needed most. Recently, some of the blood has been sent to hospitals in California treating people injured by wildfires.

AZ Wing Members Support Hurricane Laura Mission

CAP’s Southwest Region activated three incident command posts and one area command post to support state and local emergency management operations in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Over 100 CAP members have been activated to support hurricane-related missions as assigned by FEMA and state and local emergency services agencies in those three states.

Three Arizona Wing members served in the virtual area command post that operated during the first few days following Hurricane Laura’s landfall: Assistant Area Commander for Planning Lt. Col. Bob Ditch, Public Information Officer Lt. Col. Jim Nova, and Assistant PIO Lt. Col. Gordon Helm.

The Louisiana Wing is flying damage assessment photo missions over storm-devastated areas in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.

Lt. Col. Amos Plante (left) and 1st Lt. Rudy Franklin, both of the Louisiana Wing, prepare the WaldoAir imaging system for flight.

On Sunday, three wing aircrews flew over areas the Federal Emergency Management Agency identified as targets, using specialized photographic and navigational equipment. A fourth aircrew flew over Alexandria, using conventional cameras to produce damage imagery requested by city emergency managers.

A fifth airplane served as a high bird, flying at a relatively high altitude between the photo airplanes and their Baton Rouge mission base in order to serve as an aerial relay station for radio messages between the other planes and mission base.

Arizona and California Wings Work Together on Fire Detection Mission

The following is from a news release issued by California Wing:

Screen view of the images obtained from the TASE™ electro optical infrared imaging system in an Arizona Wing Cessna 182 CAP aircraft.

High-Tech Fire Detection Mission May Be in CAWG’s Future

FRESNO, Calif. – In a state ravaged by wildfires, the California Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), is cross-training this week with the Arizona Wing of CAP at the request of the National Guard. The mission: Use some high-tech equipment in CAP aircraft to spot fires started by lightning strikes. It’s hoped that this can head off forest fires in the future. 

Thundershowers in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California regularly produce numerous lighting strikes. Sometimes those strikes start small fires in trees, that smolder for a few days. Some of these burning trees start massive forest fires. To detect these hot spots, the National Guard has been flying aircraft to detect and report to the United States Forest Service so that they can extinguish them at an early stage. The National Guard looked at Civil Air Patrol capability and wanted to see if using CAP aircraft was a viable option for this mission. 

To that end, the California Wing teamed up with the Arizona Wing, which flew a specially equipped Cessna 182 to the Fresno airport this week. The aircraft, equipped with a TASE™ electro optical infrared imaging system, is from the Deer Valley Composite Squadron 302 near Phoenix, Arizona. Due to its proximity to Yosemite National Park and the Sierra National Forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the base for the trial period of training is the Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

On Friday, Maj. Pat DeWees, from the Merced County Composite Squadron 147, trained alongside the crew from the Arizona Wing. DeWees is a Green Flag Mission Coordinator and Sensor Operator. The training with Arizona Mission Pilot Maj. Chris Shehi and Sensor Operator Maj. Roger Yaeger was productive as DeWees and the crew found a hot spot in the forest, more than likely started by lightning. Immediately, the team reported the fire to the Forest Service. 

The CAWG Emergency Services Team is hoping this cross-training will provide enough information to see if this will be a viable option to the National Guard. The Civil Air Patrol in California could be an essential asset in the fight against wildfires in the state. Every tool is needed to prevent loss of life, protection of property and economic damage. 

Four Wing Members Recognized for NESA-MTT Contributions

Four members of the Arizona Wing were recently recognized by Southwest Region Commander Col. Joe Smith for outstanding service in the standup of the “Global Campus” of the national headquarters-sponsored National Emergency Services Academy through the employment of  Mobile Training Teams.

Lt. Cols. Gordon Helm, Paul Rehman, and Linda Yaeger and Capt. Margot Myers received the Civil Air Patrol Exceptional Service Award. This award is presented to Civil Air Patrol members who provide “exceptionally outstanding service to CAP … while serving in any capacity with CAP.” 

“These individuals were instrumental in forming the initial teaching team –which now has over 72 instructors across the nation – that has provided peerless emergency services instruction,” said Lt. Col. Bob Ditch, who manages the NESA-MTT program. “Since last August, over 689 CAP members from 48 states have received the delivery of 47 classes. From Alaska and Hawaii to Puerto Rico and the New England states, the NESA-MTT instructor cadre has demonstrated academic excellence and peerless instructional rigor, saving CAP an estimated $328,000 in education expenses.”

Ditch also noted that Lt. Col. Yaeger supported an ICS 400 class (virtually) for the CAP Southeast Region and Lt. Col. Rehman did the same for the Mid-Atlantic Region recently. Between the two courses, 48 students from 10 wings received the training.

Visit the NESA-MTT page on the national website for more information.  

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