Civil Air Patrol

Eloy Blood Drive a Success

Eloy Composite Squadron hosted its first Red Cross blood drive today at Eloy Jr. High School. A total of 27 units of blood were donated, seven above today’s goal of 20.

Cadet Lt. Col. Jacob Kottraba and Cadet Master Sgt. Michael Rodriguez from Eloy Composite Squadron directed donors to the Eloy Jr. High gym where the American Red Cross was set up to accept blood donations.

This blood drive brings the total units collected in Arizona Wing as part of its COVID-19 emergency blood donation mission to 316. That’s 63% of the mission goal to reach 500 units donated by the end of August.

“Great job, Blue Devils,” said Incident Commander Lt. Col. Bob Ditch.  

Eloy Squadron Commander Capt. Kevin Rattey set the example by donating blood at the CAP-sponsored blood drive at Eloy Jr. High.

Arizona Wing Adds Second COVID-19 Mission

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.

Lt. Col. David Gregor (left) and Maj. Ed Segura, of the 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale offload a container of prepared meals for delivery as part of Arizona Wing’s second COVID-19 mission. (Photo by Capt. Klara Olcott.)

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.

Blood Donations Reach 286 Units

As of June 17, when the eighth Arizona Wing-sponsored blood drive was held, a total of 286 units of blood have been collected. The wing’s COVID-19 mission to support the American Red Cross with emergency blood donation centers began in mid-April. The goal is to reach 500 units by the time the mission is slated to end on August 31.

Drives have been held at the Falcon Composite Squadron in Mesa and at the 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale.

Additional drives are scheduled at Eloy Jr. High School (Eloy Composite Squadron) on July 1, Cochise Composite Squadron in Sierra Vista on July 7, at Falcon Squadron on July 28, and the 388th on July 30. Visit the Red Cross website to make an appointment to donate.

Arizona Wing members are encouraged to donate blood at any Red Cross or Vitalant location that is convenient. Notify Incident Commander Lt. Col. Bob Ditch (rditch@cap.gov) of your donation so it can be added to the total number of units donated through CAP.

2020 AZ Wing Conference Will be Virtual

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The 2020 Arizona Wing Conference will be virtual. Originally scheduled as an in-person meeting in May at the Prescott Resort and Conference Center, the conference was postponed to October due to COVID-19 restrictions.

As the three-phase reopening plan for AZ Wing remains a work in progress and the daily stats from the AZ Dept of Public Health show some indicators going in the wrong direction, wing leadership decided not to plan for a face-to-face meeting this year. 

A plan is being developed for a virtual conference but there are no details at this time. The meeting date and further information will be announced when available.

Death of Lt. Col. Fred “Fritz” Seifritz

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.”

In this November 2015 photo, Lt. Col. Fritz Seifritz (second from left) is shown with the Arizona Wing Aerospace Education Team at the CAP booth during the Arizona Science Teachers’ Association Conference. The other members of the team included (L-R): Capt. Angelo Rossetti, Lt. Col. Pete Feltz, Capt. Jean Nixon and Maj. Patrick Nixon.

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.”

A Message From the Wing Commander

These days, our lives are filled with news that’s hard to face – a global pandemic, divisive politics, and civil rights issues. These concerns have forced their way into our personal lives, and in many respects, this is probably a good thing. Our country may be struggling, but I am confident we will emerge from these trials stronger than ever. 

Your continuing support of the Civil Air Patrol and Arizona Wing is key to our future. We’re still probably months away from face-to-face meetings, but we’re not dead in the water in terms of moving about our communities and our state and influencing people we encounter. We respond to SAR missions, we sponsor and assist with blood drives, we travel to and from our airports, we relocate equipment, and in the coming months, I anticipate that our involvement in these and even new types of activities will only increase. The most important six inches on our road to full remobilization are between your ears. As your commander, I can’t tell you how important it is, and how proud I am, that you use that distance well!

As American citizens and Civil Air Patrol members, we represent the whole spectrum of political ideologies that comprise this nation’s culture. Our national commander says, “We strive, always, to be an inclusive organization that values and respects all our members.” Our core values as CAP members drive us to demonstrate integrity and respect in everything we do, both within CAP and as citizens in the communities where we serve. 

You are, of course, entitled to your personal perspective, but don’t let the line blur between your personal and CAP lives. When you wear the CAP uniform, when you display your CAP affiliation on your social websites, you are representing the whole organization, including the U.S. Air Force, our Total Force parent organization. It is not appropriate to wear your uniform at a political event or a demonstration. It’s deeply inappropriate to strike a hard ethnic opinion which can, in any manner, reflect poorly upon the Civil Air Patrol –- especially in light of our organizational equal opportunity and diversity mandates. Remember that CAP takes no side in the issues we are facing today, and when you’re representing CAP, you shouldn’t either.

Acknowledge the risks related to activities at certain locations at certain times and don’t go there. If you haven’t heard from a fellow member in a while, give him or her a call, just to check in and share some stories. Abide by CAP’s COVID-19 protocols and help our fellow members do the same. 

I am profoundly proud that my comments likely will come as news to no one reading this. I’m equally proud of how your behavior has honored this wing, the Civil Air Patrol, and our communities, state and nation in recent weeks.

Col. Rob Pinckard, CAP
Commander, Arizona Wing

AZ Wing Offers Virtual Squadron Leadership School

More Blood Drives Scheduled

Arizona Wing continues its support of the American Red Cross during the COVID19 pandemic by scheduling four additional emergency blood drives. The schedule includes:

  • June 9-10, Falcon Composite Squadron in Mesa, from 9 am – 2 pm on the 9th and from 10 am – 3 pm on the 10th
  • June 15 and 17, 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale, from 10 am – 3 pm
  • July 7, Cochise Composite Squadron in Sierra Vista, from 9 am – 3 pm

Reservations are required for all blood drives. Click on this link to go the American Red Cross site to sign up for a donation time.

In three blood drives held so far under the Arizona Wing’s Operation Pulse Lift banner, 126 units of blood were donated.

Donate blood at any American Red Cross or Vitalant blood drive or donation center. Find Red Cross locations here and Vitalant locations here. Once you have donated, send an email to Lt. Col. Bob Ditch, Incident Commander for the AZ Wing COVID-19 response mission (rditch@cap.gov). Let him know that you donated and your contribution will be credited toward the total amount of blood collected through CAP.

AZ Wing Members Recognized for Lifesaving Efforts

Maj. Randy and 1st Lt. Kelli Hammit of the 388th Composite Squadron rendered first aid to two teenage shooting victims in the mass shooter incident at Westgate Mall in Glendale on May 20.

Maj. Randy Hammit (left) and 1st Lt. Kelli Hammit during their interview with 12News.

Their story was told today in an interview with 12News reporter Erica Stapleton. You can see the interview on the 12News website.

2020 Summer Encampment Cancelled

Message from Maj. Jerad Hoff, AZ Wing Chief of Staff:

After consultation with Col Rob Pinckard, the Arizona Wing Commander along with Maj Joanna Moseley, the Arizona Wing Director of Cadet Programs, I am announcing the cancellation of the 2020 Arizona Wing Summer Encampment. While the decision is unbelievably disheartening, our commitment to the safety of our cadets made the decision itself a fairly easy one to make. Following the requirements put forward by our National Headquarters to safely re-mobilize the Civil Air Patrol, which require certain federal and state conditions to be met along with metrics related to the virus infection rate, we won’t be able to meet minimum requirements to have an activity with a large number of participants. Additionally, necessary social distancing requirements would have significantly interfered with our plans for housing, transportation, and dining.

I know this decision is extraordinarily disappointing. The Cadet Commander for encampment was supposed to be C/Lt Col Jacob Little. Representative of the exceptional dedication to servant leadership our cadets are known for, C/Lt Col Little’s first response to the news was to ask if he and the cadet cadre could develop a plan that would still provide a virtual opportunity to teach, mentor, and guide cadets who would be interested in advancing their skills and knowledge. I’ll be sure to let everyone know what our exceptional cadet leaders come up with.
I have already begun working with the U.S. Army on coordinating dates for 2021. We are also investigating possible smaller activities that could occur at Fort Huachuca and around the state once the wing gets the green light to engage in larger activities with large groups.   

If you are concerned about how cancelling encampment impacts your promotion path, there is a waiver in place to assist cadets who are ready to earn their Mitchell and don’t want to wait for another encampment. For details, here is the memo from NHQ: https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/media/cms/CAPR_601_Waiver_Memo_6_May_20_50DCAF5871E92.pdf

As I am each year, I am extremely grateful to Maj Joanna Moseley, Maj Ken Smith, and Capt Jim Seeds for their dedication to encampment. They’ve been planning for months to get ready for this summer and unfortunately that planning won’t come to fruition this year. They are phenomenal members of the encampment team and we are fortunate to have them in our wing.

To the cadets and seniors that were planning on joining me for one of the most unique, challenging, and rewarding experiences found anywhere, I’m sorry we won’t be getting together this summer like planned. I urge you remain engaged in CAP and lean on your CAP family as needed to get through these unique challenges we’ve all been facing. A virus isn’t going to keep us for being there for one another.

© 2020 Arizona Wing. All rights reserved.