Civil Air Patrol

Cadet Scavenger Hunt on Saturday

There are still some slots available for cadets who want to participate in this activity on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 11 a.m.

This is a “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”-style trivia game that will be customized for CAP.  It involves teamwork, critical thinking, and competition in a fun cadet team-building activity. The game is made up of three rounds of trivia, asked by the host via Zoom, and answered by participants in the cityHUNT app.

The activity will last approximately one hour.  There is a maximum of 30 cadets, so sign up quickly in eWing! You will need a cell phone, a computer that can access Zoom, and reliable internet.  All are required to play.

Cybersecurity Learn-a-Thon open to all CAP members

A new opportunity has been offered to all Civil Air Patrol members who are interested in learning more about cybersecurity.

CAP has partnered with Cisco Networking Academy (NetAcad) to make cybersecurity support, training and curriculum resources available for free to all 60,000 CAP members.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Thomas, National Cyber Mission Deputy for Cyber Operations, announced that Learn-A-Thon access to the NetAcad program is open. “CAP regions and wings will compete to have the highest number of cadets and senior members complete the 15-hour Introduction to Cybersecurity course,” Thomas wrote in an email to CAP members.

“We need as many as possible to participate,” Thomas wrote. “Please consider registering and learning something new about cyber security.” The competition ends on Oct 9th. 

CAP members who participate in the Learn-A-Thon and pass the introductory course will be rewarded with a Cisco Intro to Cybersecurity digital badge. In addition, all who participate in the Learn-A-Thon will be issued a Learn-a-Thon Experience badge.

Register at this link specifically to give Arizona wing credit. More information on the Cisco Networking Academy Partnership is available here.

Busting Through Blood Drive Goal With Two 9/11 Events

Arizona Wing supported its 24th and 25th Operation Pulse Lift blood donation center events in 149 days on September 11, surpassing the goal of collecting 750 units by November 1 more than seven weeks early. The two events came at the end of a week that included four blood donation drives at three locations: the 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale hosted two plus one each at Cochise and Falcon Composite Squadrons.

Incident Commander Lt. Col. Bob Ditch described the concurrent drives on 9/11 like a football game, seeing which squadron would have the 750th donor.

“The day began fast and furious (734 blood units at the start), with the 388th Squadron’s Blood Donor Center taking the field by 0700, and by 0930 they had supported the collection of 11 units of blood. But the Cochise Squadron, while starting two hours later, was not distracted and leapt to eight units in less than an hour. By 0935, Cochise Squadron had five units and the 388th had 10 with only one unit to go for the goal. At 0943, the goal line had been crossed, and by 1000 (three hours into the day), the Arizona Wing was at 757 units of blood and still welcoming more donors. 

“By noon, the tally was at  774 units of blood. At that point the Glendale donation center was done (24 units collected) for the day, but the Cochise Squadron still had three hours to go on the playing field. When the dust had all settled, and the Red Cross was all packed up, the total collected units stood at 792 (24 for Glendale and 34  for Cochise).”

That brought the weekly total to 107 units collected across four blood drives at three squadrons.

The strong push during the week brought kudos from Courtney Slanaker, executive director of Red Cross operations in Tucson. “Congratulations and much admiration to the entire wing for the incredible work to collect 750 units,” she wrote in an email to Ditch. “The regular blood drives are imperative to ensuring a stable blood supply especially during a pandemic. Thank you for the commitment to save lives!”

What’s next? The new goal for the Arizona Wing is 1,000 units of blood by Thanksgiving. “It will be a great way to celebrate a day of giving,” Ditch said. “Give a little of you; it goes a long way to save a lot of others.”

Four Blood Drives in One Week

Beginning September 5, the Arizona Wing will be hosting emergency blood drives at three squadron locations, supporting four COVID-19 Operation Pulse Lift events. Blood donation drives will take place:

  • September 5 – Falcon Composite Squadron, Mesa
  • September 9 – 388th Composite Squadron, Glendale
  • September 11 – Cochise Composite Squadron, Sierra Vista
  • September 11 – 388th Composite Squadron, Glendale

“I fully expect that, during one of these events, we will blow past our projected 1 November goal of 750 units of blood collected,” said Incident Commander Lt. Col. Bob Ditch. Currently, 681 units have been collected, amounting to 91% of the current goal.

“September will be — like July — one of our record-generating months with seven blood donation center events,” Ditch said.

Since mid-April, Arizona Wing has hosted 21 blood donation center events at six squadron locations. “This coming week will bring us up to an unprecedented 25 events in less than five months,” Ditch said. “We are the only wing in the nation that is doing this as part of this unequalled CAP COVID-19 response mission. This is the largest disaster relief response by CAP since WWII and longest specific mission in Arizona Wing history. At this time, the Wing’s Operation Pulse Lift mission is one of the longest ongoing CAP missions during the COVID-19 crisis.”

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. 

Red Cross CEO Lauds Ariz. Wing for Pandemic Blood Drives’ Success

After collecting more than 600 units of blood at 18 Civil Air Patrol-sponsored emergency donation centers since mid-April, the Arizona Wing’s COVID-19 blood donation mission has been singled out by American Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern as “an example for others to emulate.”

The 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale has hosted multiple emergency blood drives since the COVID-19 mission began in April.

Jason Benedict, regional donor services executive for the Red Cross Arizona/New Mexico region, called the numbers “compelling both nationally and for the region.”

“Of over 17,000 blood drive sponsors from March-June of 2020, the Arizona Wing of Civil Air Patrol was in the top 500 sponsors for blood collections,” Benedict said. “Remember, that number includes a lot of our community drives across the entire nation that run much more frequently, so that is an amazing accomplishment for your organization!”

For the Red Cross Arizona/New Mexico Region, he added, no other organization has collected more units during the COVID-19 pandemic than CAP.

Since mid-April, 18 blood drives hosted by four Arizona Wing squadrons in Eloy, Glendale, Mesa and Sierra Vista have netted 603 units of blood. Three additional drives hosted by the Show Low Composite Squadron took place last week in Springerville and Show Low.

“The Red Cross requested and we have been granted authorization to extend the mission until Sept. 30,” said Lt. Col. Robert Ditch, incident commander for the wing. “We surpassed our original goal of 500 units at the end of July – a month early – and we are already at 90% of our increased goal of 750 units. We still have more lives to help save.”

“This is the longest and largest Arizona Wing disaster relief operational response in history and the biggest since World War II,” Ditch said. “It is also one of the longest-running missions among the many Civil Air Patrol disaster relief efforts related to the pandemic.”

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.  

Two National Awards for Arizona Wing

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.

Wing Safety Officer Lt. Col. Corey Stohlquist (center) and members of the Arizona Wing safety team (in yellow vests) during the 2019 Compliance Inspection. At left is Capt. Dolly Mickle, the SW Region Safety 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.

Arizona Wing Achieves Blood Donation Goal 32 Days Early

When the Arizona Wing began its mission to support the Red Cross during the COVID-19 pandemic by opening its squadron facilities as emergency blood donation centers on March 20, the goal was to collect 500 units of blood by Aug. 31. That goal was exceeded a month early, on July 30, when 31 units donated at the 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale brought the overall total to 519 units.

Bo Schultz-Andersen (center) donated the 500th unit of blood in the Arizona Wing’s COVID-19 mission to support emergency blood donation centers in partnership with the Red Cross. Present for the occasion were (from left) Cadet 2nd Lt. Julian O’Connor; Kurt Kroemer, Red Cross regional CEO; Rita Anderson, Red Cross donor recruitment manager; Schultz-Andersen; Arizona Wing incident commander Lt. Col. Bob Ditch; and Roy Rodriquez of the Red Cross.

“This was the 15th blood donor center mission in 106 days. That’s unprecedented,” said Lt. Col. Bob Ditch, incident commander for the Arizona Wing’s effort. “But we still have more lives to help save,” he said, noting that six more blood drives are already scheduled for August.

Bo Schultz-Andersen of Sun City West donated the 500th unit. When he walked into the squadron building wearing a Red Cross “We’re All in This Together” T-shirt, it was clear he wasn’t a first-time donor.

“I began donating as a member of the Danish Army in the late ‘60s and have continued to donate over the years,” Schultz-Andersen said. Many of his fellow soldiers weren’t eager to donate blood, he recalled. “When we offered them a beer in return for donating, they changed their minds,” he said.

Kurt Kroemer, the Red Cross regional CEO for Arizona and New Mexico, visited the blood drive along with Donor Recruitment Manager Rita Anderson, who brought some gifts from the Red Cross for the 500th-unit donor. Schultz-Andersen also received a CAP Operation Pulse Lift challenge coin and an Arizona Wing patch. 

Both Kroemer and Anderson thanked the wing for its continuing support. “Many of our partners will host a blood drive once a year,” Kroemer said. “The fact that you have sponsored 15 blood drives since mid-April is remarkable.”

Brig. Gen. Ed Phelka, CAP’s national vice commander, was impressed to hear about the wing’s blood donation efforts. “The Arizona Wing has demonstrated the powerful reach our lifesaving missions can have when Civil Air Patrol cooperates with partner organizations like the Red Cross,” he said. “Well done!”

© 2020 Arizona Wing. All rights reserved.