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