Civil Air Patrol

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

Col. Brian Ready Selected to Serve on CAP Board of Governors

Col. Brian Ready will serve as a member of the Civil Air Patrol Board of Governors.

Former Arizona Wing Commander Col. Brian Ready has been selected to serve on the Civil Air Patrol Board of Governors. Since completing his four-year term as wing commander in 2016, Ready has served as vice-commander (west) for Southwest Region and also on the national level as a member of CAP’s Information Technology Steering Committee.

Ready, who lives in Phoenix, was chosen June 25 by the CAP Senior Advisory Group to succeed Col. Dale Newell as an at-large member of the board. Ready’s term begins Aug. 28.

“All I have ever wanted to do in CAP is give back to our members and make a difference,” Ready said. “There is no greater calling than to be part of the team that develops the vision and future for the organization you serve. In CAP, the Board of Governors is that team.”

Ready said CAP’s volunteers are “the best in the country.”

“I am grateful for this opportunity to support them,” he added. “They are the best group of volunteers I have ever had the honor to be associated with. … I’m also thankful to be able to help the youth of today who will be our leaders of tomorrow.”

Ready’s new leadership role will be as a member of CAP’s top governing body. The Board of Governors generates strategic policies, plans and programs designed to guide and support the volunteer service of the organization’s eight regions and 52 wings.

The Board of Governors consists of four U.S. Air Force appointees, three members appointed jointly by the secretary of the Air Force and CAP’s national commander, and four members-at-large selected by the CAP Senior Advisory Group (CSAG). CAP’s national commander, national vice commander, executive officer and eight region commanders serve as voting members on the CSAG.

Read more of the Headquarters announcement.

Col. Martha Morris Named Southwest Region Commander

Col. Martha C. Morris, Southwest Region director of operations and former Arizona Wing commander, has been selected as the next commander of the Southwest Region.

Morris accepted the appointment by Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP national commander, and will succeed Col. Joe Smith, who has led the Southwest Region since August 2017. The change of command is expected to take place in late August.

Maj. Gen.-select Ed Phelka, national vice commander, who becomes national commander Aug. 26, led the selection committee.

“I have seen Col. Morris in action as a very talented and highly capable leader,” Phelka said. “Under her leadership, I am certain that Southwest Region will continue to excel.”

A 39-year member of Civil Air Patrol, Morris also serves at the national level as chair of CAP’s Uniform Committee.
Morris began her CAP service in 1981 as a check pilot with the Falcon Composite Squadron in Mesa, Arizona. Her early years in CAP were focused on mission check pilot and standardization and evaluation assignments.

Morris served as wing director of operations and commander of the Arizona Wing Operations Support Group before assuming command of the wing in January 2016.

“When I first joined CAP in 1981, both my squadron commander and the commander in Rocky Mountain Region were women, so I imagined my future in CAP was wide open,” Morris said.

“One area that I will focus on as region commander is recruiting and retention,” she added. “I am hoping to encourage members who left CAP during the pandemic to return, making sure that our organization is welcoming and inclusive.

Morris has received numerous awards, including the Del Rubi Leader/Mentor Award presented by the CAP-U.S. Air Force Southwest Liaison Region, Distinguished Service Award, Exceptional Service Award, Meritorious Service Award with four clasps, Unit Citation, Commanders Commendation with six clasps, and Aircrew Find award with propeller for finding two downed aircraft during search and rescue missions.

In 2020, she was selected to represent CAP on the Women in Aviation Advisory Board, which advises the Federal Aviation Administration on opportunities for women to pursue a career in aviation.

Morris is qualified in multiple emergency services positions, including incident commander, air operations branch director and operations section chief. In addition to aircrew qualifications as mission pilot, observer and scanner, she is a member of the Arizona Wing’s ground team. She holds ratings in six specialty tracks, including Master ratings in Command, Operations and Standardization and Evaluation.

Certified by the FAA as an airline transport pilot, Morris flies the Airbus 320/321 as a captain for JetBlue Airways. She also is a qualified check pilot for powered aircraft and gliders and a certified flight instructor for single- and multi-engine and instrument airplanes. She has totaled more than 22,000 flight hours.

Before joining JetBlue in 2011, Morris was the chief pilot for Hensley Budweiser in Phoenix for 15 years.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University in 1985, Morris earned a master’s degree in aeronautical science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in 2002.

Two Cadets Honored as Spaatz Award Recipients

Cadet Colonel Weiss O’Connor (left) and Cadet Colonel Viet Zaengle were honored as Spaatz Award recipients during a ceremony at Arizona National Guard Headquarters on June 17, 2021.

Two Arizona Wing cadets were honored during a ceremony at Arizona National Guard headquarters on June 17. Cadet Col. Weiss O’Connor, Deer Valley Composite Squadron, and Cadet Col. Viet Zaengle, Willie Composite Squadron, received their Spaatz Award certificates from Maj. Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck, Adjutant General of Arizona and director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs. The Spaatz Award is Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet honor and recipients are promoted to the grade of cadet colonel.

O’Connor is a 2021 graduate of Boulder Creek High School in Anthem. He is a member of Deer Valley Composite Squadron in Phoenix. He joined CAP in 2016 and became the cadet commander at Deer Valley in February 2020. He has served on the Cadet Advisory Council at the squadron, wing, regional, and national levels. In 2020, he was selected to attend the Civic Leadership Academy in Washington, DC. At Boulder Creek High School, O’Connor played in the concert and marching bands and was co-captain of the soccer team. Earlier this year, he was named the 2020 Arizona Wing Cadet of the Year. On June 23, he will report to Colorado Springs as a member of the class of 2025 at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Zaengle joined CAP in 2016 and currently serves as the cadet commander for his squadron. He just completed his junior year at Hamilton High School in Chandler, where he also holds the grade of major in the Junior ROTC and is a member of the choir and cross-country team. He also is an Eagle Scout. A recipient of the 2021 Air Force Chief of Staff Private Pilot scholarship program, Zaengle currently is attending a flight academy at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott where he will earn his private pilot certificate and six college credits.

Muehlenbeck spoke about Civil Air Patrol as part of the Total Force, a designation that came six years ago. “The National Guard is ‘always ready, always there’ and then I look at the Civil Air Patrol’s mission, which is ‘always vigilant,’ and we see you and we use your resources and we partner with you in the context of civil support during emergencies,” Muehlenbeck said. “I think we take for granted that you are always vigilant, you’re always prepared, you’re always there.”

Maj. Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck, Adjutant General of Arizona and director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs presented Spaatz Award certificates to two Arizona Wing cadets during the ceremony

She described some of the missions the Arizona Wing has undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as flying National Guard members across the state to scout areas for vaccination and testing sites, transporting personal protective equipment, and volunteering at mass vaccination sites.

“It always amazes me when organizations continue to do their mission, and at the same time, they pivot and they give more,” Muehlenbeck said. “In the time of this pandemic, Civil Air Patrol did exactly what we needed them to do in the context of supporting the community – its regular mission, but then, of course, pivoting to take on this new mission as well.”

“Working with cadets, watching them develop their leadership skills, seeing them choose to continue to serve as CAP volunteers as Colonels O’Connor and Zaengle are doing – it just doesn’t get much better than that,” said Arizona Wing Commander Col. Rob Pinckard. “CAP cadets like these two give me hope for the future of our country.”

On average, only 0.5% of CAP cadets earn the Spaatz Award. It is presented to cadets who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, character, fitness, and aerospace education. Cadets qualify for this prestigious award after devoting an average of five years to progress through 16 achievements in the CAP Cadet Program.  Along the way, they develop self-discipline, a strong sense of personal responsibility, the ability to lead and persuade, and the foundations necessary for pursuing a career in aviation, space, or technology.

The final step a cadet must complete to earn the Spaatz Award is a rigorous four-part exam consisting of a challenging physical fitness test, an essay exam testing their moral reasoning, a comprehensive written exam on leadership, and a comprehensive written exam on aerospace education. Upon passing the Spaatz Award exams, the cadet is promoted to the grade of cadet colonel.

© 2021 Arizona Wing. All rights reserved.