Civil Air Patrol
  • Aircrew returing to base

Fort McHenry squadron welcomes new cadet commander

August 2017 — Arbutus, MD —  On August 9, 2017, Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol’s Fort McHenry Composite Squadron held a formal change of cadet command ceremony.  Maj. Don Ells, Group II commander, joined squadron members, families and friends, in this time honored military tradition. Cadet Maj. Collin Stiers, outgoing cadet commander, relinquished his command of the cadet corps with the presentation of the squadron’s guidon to Cadet 1st Lt. Jason McSweeney, who now begins a year of cadet command leadership.  The change of command ceremony is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility from one commanding or staff officer to another. The ceremony is rooted in military history dating back to the 18th century. The ceremony implies the end of one era and the beginning of the next and provides an opportunity for a renewal in progress of events and achievements for the unit. The new cadet commander takes his or her position with anxious anticipation and accepts the responsibility for the strategic leadership required to lead and challenge the cadet cadre.

A graduate of CAP’s Region Cadet Leadership School, the Hawk Mountain Ranger school, the 2016 Robert Ayers Memorial Flight Academy and the 2017 Northeast Region Power Flight Academy, McSweeney has gained knowledge and experience that affords him many opportunities to share lessons learned with the cadet unit. He is a rising senior at Oakland Mills High School and he looks forward to a command year of challenges and achievements.

McSweeney accepted the position of cadet commander with honor and commitment to excellence. “I expect challenges with this position, beginning with finding a flexible balance in an our increasingly busy schedules. I’ll focus on developing our great cadet staff and provide opportunities to help them reach new heights with their leadership skills and knowledge of the program. I hope to encourage more involvement of FMCS cadets in activities across the wing and nation. Ultimately, I want to help organize adventurous activities to continue and strengthen our support to our local community and fellow CAP squadrons.”

During the 2016-2017 tenure as cadet commander, Stiers excelled in providing leadership and support to Fort McHenry cadets and the cadet program. In addition to fulfilling the duties of the cadet command position, he participated in many of CAP’s national cadet special activities (NCSA). He participated in and held many encampment staff duties as well as served as staff at the National Emergency Services Academy and attended the Air Force Pararescue Orientation course. When asked to sum up his year of command, Stiers said, “I leave this position with a wealth of experience and success and plan to make use of all that I have learned as an Army ROTC cadet at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).”

NCSAs are cadet programs conducted by Civil Air Patrol. NCSAs are designed to give cadets direct hands-on experience with various features of the Civil Air Patrol program and provide meaningful insight into several aviation-related careers. There are approximately 30 different special activities that a cadet may attend. Each activity is approximately a weeklong, and all but two are offered during the summer. For more information about CAP and its NCSA program visit,

The Fort McHenry Composite Squadron, as part of Civil Air Patrol, America’s Air Force Auxiliary, is comprised of volunteers who are part of the nation’s finest force of citizens performing missions for America. The squadron meets weekly Wednesday nights from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the American Legion Post 109, 1610 Old Sulphur Spring Road, Arbutus, Md., 21227. Prospective cadets aged 12-18 with their parents are always welcome. Adults seeking volunteer opportunities are invited as well. Follow the Fort McHenry Squadron on Facebook at For more information about CAP and the squadrons in Maryland Wing, Group II, visit

Nearly 1,600 CAP members serve in Maryland. Last year wing members flew 13 search and rescue missions. The wing was credited with four finds. Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the state of Maryland. Members flew 2,245 hours in all mission categories. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For more information, contact the Maryland Wing at, like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program. Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit for more information.


By Capt. Alice Raatjes, Public Affairs Officer, Fort McHenry Composite Squadron.

Photo: Fort McHenry Composite Squadron outgoing cadet commander, Cadet Maj. Collin Stiers (left) passes the squadron guidon to incoming commander, Cadet 1st Lt. Jason McSweeney (right).  (Photo credit:  Capt. Alice Raatjes, CAP)


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