Civil Air Patrol

Register to Attend 2019 AZ Wing/SW Region Conference

The lobby of the Wild Horse Pass Hotel in Chandler, Arizona.

Registration is now open for the April 26-28 combined Arizona Wing and Southwest Region Conference, which will take place at Wild Horse Pass Hotel in Chandler, Ariz. Register via Eventbrite here.

The Civil Air Patrol Board of Governors also will be meeting in Arizona prior to the conference, and several Board members are planning to stay through the weekend. Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP CEO and National Commander, will speak at the opening general session on Saturday, April 27. Wing Commanders and members from Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas Wings also are expected to participate.

New this year: a variety of activities specifically for cadets, including CyberPatriot, sUAS, and color guard workshops. Cadets will have their own pizza party on Saturday evening, after the workshops end.

A typical room at Wild Horse Pass Hotel.

Rooms at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel are discounted for the conference at the rate of $135 for a standard room and $195 for a suite. Reservations must be made by March 29 to guarantee these rates. Call hotel reservations at 520.796.4900 and mention “Civil Air Patrol BOG & AZ Wing Conference.” You will need to provide your own credit card number to hold your reservation at the time of booking.

Additional details about workshops and speakers will be released soon.

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.

Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP, in Airman Magazine

Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, National Commander, Civil Air Patrol.

In December 2018, Airman Magazine interviewed Maj. Gen. Mark E. Smith, the Civil Air Patrol’s 24th national commander. In the interview, Gen. Smith talks about his childhood dreams of becoming a pilot, his 26 years in the Air Force, and how he has continued to serve as a member of CAP.

A 4½-minute video and a transcript of a portion of Gen. Smith’s interview have been posted on Airman Magazine‘s website. A link to the video and transcript can also be found on  

SW Region Fly-By Features AZ Wing Squadrons

The January 2019 issue of the Southwest Region Fly-By is now available and includes eight stories submitted by Arizona Wing squadrons. The articles include:

Cadet 2nd Lt. Tristan Obregon, CAP, (left) salutes a Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sergeant from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma during the ceremonial placement of wreaths honoring U.S. military service branches. (Photo: Cadet Tech. Sgt. Elena Paz, CAP)
  • A story by Cadet Tech. Sgt. Elena Paz about the Yuma Composite Squadron’s participation in Wreaths Across America on page 4.
  • A combined article by Lt. Col. Robert Ditch, Falcon Composite Squadron, and Capt. Margot Myers, Deer Valley Composite Squadron, about the squadrons’ involvement in Veterans’ Day activities on page 8.
  • On page 14, a story about the Scottsdale Senior Squadron and the Paradise Valley Cadet Squadron working together on two events at the Scottsdale Airport.
  • A CAP-cadet-turned-Naval-aviator is the focus of a story by Staff Sgt. John Horne, Sky Harbor Composite Squadron, on page 24.
  • Majors Dave Girolami and Steve Hulland contributed a story about events that brought CAP members together with two Tucson-based military units on page 26.
  • On page 29, Lt. Col. Ditch submitted an article about a search and rescue mission in the Hualapai Mountains of northwestern Arizona that involved AZ Wing air crews, incident command and ground team members, along with the Arizona-based National Cell Phone Forensics Team.
  • A story on page 32 describes the recognition of five Arizona Wing cadets who earned the Billy Mitchell Award at the State Capitol by a representative of Gov. Doug Ducey.
  • Finally, on page 35, 2nd Lt. Roy Morales, Willie Composite Squadron, contributed a story about the change of command ceremony that took place in December.

Read these stories, plus more from across the Southwest Region, in the new Fly-By.

CAP Celebrates 77th Anniversary of Volunteer Service

Civil Air Patrol’s rich heritage of volunteer service will be celebrated this coming weekend, as the longtime U.S. Air Force Auxiliary observes its 77th anniversary. See the 77th Anniversary video here.

“Our legacy is well worth celebrating,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP’s national commander and chief executive officer. “Each year, on the first day of December, we are reminded of the sacrifices of CAP’s earliest members, whose extraordinary contributions to America continue today in our citizen volunteers’ vigilant service to country and community.”

CAP was founded on Dec. 1, 1941, less than a week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor led to America’s involvement in World War II. Its members quickly proved their worth by conducting aerial patrols on their own, heroism that discouraged and eventually helped stop deadly German U-boat attacks along U.S. coastlines and waterways.

The wartime service of CAP’s “subchasers” helped stop the loss of American and Allied merchant vessels, saving the lives of untold thousands of sailors and countless millions of dollars of war materiel destined for the battlefields in Europe and the Pacific.

In addition to coastal patrols, CAP aircrews assisted with other essential wartime missions on the home front, such as search and rescue, disaster relief, border patrol, forest fire patrol, target towing for military practice and transporting critical supplies. Members also managed hundreds of airports and trained aviators – many of them teenage cadets – for future service in CAP and the military.

Read the full article…

Cell Phone Forensics and Radar Analysis Teams Help Locate Missing Aircraft

This image shows the radar track of the air ambulance, from takeoff to 12,000 feet and then a rapid descent that resulted in three fatalities

Members of the CAP National Cell Phone Forensics and Radar Analysis teams were activated at 2 a.m. EST on Monday, Nov. 19, to assist with the search for a missing Cessna 441, twin-engine air ambulance that disappeared from Federal Aviation Administration radar screens shortly after takeoff from Bismarck, N.D. The plane, carrying a pilot, paramedic, and nurse, was bound for Williston to pick up a patient.

“Combining and analyzing data from both the Cell Phone Forensics and Radar Analysis teams allows us to pinpoint the most likely area to search for a missing aircraft,” said Major Justin Ogden, a technical specialist on the cell phone team. “Within two hours of being assigned the mission, CAP was able to provide highly accurate location information to first responders.”

Unfortunately, there were no survivors of the crash. Read more on

About the National Cell Phone Forensics Team

The concept of using historical cell phone data to support Civil Air Patrol search and rescue (SAR) missions originated in 2006 when Maj. Justin Ogden, CAP, developed software that helped predict the most likely area to search for a missing person. Ogden was joined by Col. Brian Ready and Maj. Jerad Hoff, and the three became the core of the National Cell Phone Forensics Team, which was designated a national CAP asset in 2009. As the number of missions has grown, the team now includes eight members, all of whom are members of Arizona Wing. 

Mohave Valley Cadet Achieves Spaatz Award

Katherine (Katie) Hamiel, of the Mohave Valley Composite Squadron has received the General Carl A. Spaatz award, which places her among the top 1 percent of CAP cadets nationwide. This achievement comes with promotion to the grade of cadet colonel, the highest grade attainable for a CAP cadet. Hamiel didn’t have much time to be a cadet colonel before her 21st birthday arrived, automatically making her a senior member with the grade of captain.

Hamiel is a student at Mohave Community College and a licensed realtor with Best Results Real Estate, LLC, in Bullhead City. She recently earned her private pilot certificate.

About the Spaatz Award

The General Carl A. Spaatz Award is Civil Air Patrol’s highest cadet honor. 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 sixteen 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 foundation 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.The Spaatz Award is named in honor of Carl “Tooey” Spaatz, the first Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force.

Maj. Gen. Mark Smith on Cadet Lift Program

CAP’s National Commander and CEO Maj. Gen. Mark Smith talks about the new Cadet Lift Program, part of the Youth Aviation Initiative designed to inspire CAP cadets to pursue careers in STEM-related fields, including aviation. With funding from the Air Force, more CAP cadets will have opportunities to pursue flight training, including acquiring their private pilot certificates.

See the YouTube video here.


Mohave Valley Cadet Earns Eaker Award

Cadet/Lt. Col. Abigail Brown received the Gen. Ira C. Eaker award during a ceremony at the Mohave Valley Composite Squadron in Bullhead City, Ariz., on September 18. In addition to squadron members, family, and friends, the award and promotion ceremony was attended by U.S. Representative Paul Gosar and Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady.

Brown is currently the cadet commander in her squadron and also served as the chairperson of the Arizona Wing Cadet Advisory Council for the past year. The 17-year-old cadet is a senior at Mohave High School where she also is the corps commander of the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. She has devoted 370 hours to community service, is an honors student, athlete, and still manages to hold down a job.

This summer, Brown attended the CAP Cadet Officers School. Her goal is to enter the U.S. Naval Academy after graduation.

Wilson, Secretary of Air Force, Hails CAP’s 70-Year Role as Auxiliary

Maj. Gen. Mark Smith (left), CAP national commander, and Brig. Gen. Ed Phelka, national vice commander, flank Wilson in a photo taken during the National Commander’s Reception.

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Civil Air Patrol National Conference in Anaheim, Calif. She related the story of her grandfather, who was a CAP member during World War II, talked about her experience learning to fly as a young woman, and laid out her expectations for the members of the 70-year-old Air Force auxiliary. Read the story, see photos and listen to Secretary Wilson’s keynote speech in

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