Civil Air Patrol
  • Aircrew returing to base

Members gather for 2017 Maryland Wing Conference

11/11/2017–CUMBERLAND, Md. –More than 225 Civil Air Patrol members from around the state recently gathered together for the annual Maryland Wing Conference. This year’s event was held over Veteran’s Day weekend at Rocky Gap Resort in Flintstone, Md.

The weekend began on Friday evening with a luau-themed welcome reception, providing an time for members and friends to gather in a social environment and cadets enjoyed group games, leadership challenges, and music.

The main portion of the conference was held on Saturday starting with the general session which opened with an invocation by Ch Lt. Col. Christopher Otten, chaplain of the 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard, followed by the Frederick Composite Squadron color guard posting the colors. The team won this year’s Maryland Wing Cadet Competition, Middle East Region Cadet Competition, and represented the wing and region at CAP’s National Cadet Competition.

Following the general session, members attended training sessions that were designed to meet the needs of the variety of duty assignments and interests. More than 24 sessions were presented including training in aerospace education, public affairs, emergency services, air operations, inspections, drug demand reduction, along with other topics. A full cadet conference coincided with the other sessions.

During the general session Col. Joe Winter, Maryland Wing commander, presented the State of the Wing address to the members. Successes and goals for the past year were reviewed.  Col. Eugene Egry, Middle East Region chief of staff, spoke on behalf of Col. John Knowles, MER commander.

Maryland Wing command staff recognized the accomplishments of the many members that have excelled throughout the year.

Col. Winter recognized four members for their service on staff at previous wing conferences.  First Lt. Michele Bell, Capt. Nadine Hartman, and Cadet Maj. Collin Stiers received Achievement Awards for their work.  Capt. Alice Raatjes was awarded a Commander’s Commendation for several years of designing the conference program book.

Winter acknowledged the hard work and dedication of a number of members for their service to the Wing with Commander’s Commendations:

  • Lt. Col Christopher Roche was awarded a Commander’s Commendation for his service as the wing public affairs officer.
  • Cadet Maj. Wyatt Hartman of the Glenn L. Martin Composite Squadron was awarded a Commander’s Commendation for his work during the past two Legislative Days.
  • Lt. Col. Frank Jarosinski of Group 2 Headquarters was presented a Commander’s Commendation for his efforts in establishing the wing’s newest squadron, The SEED School of Maryland Cadet Squadron.
  • Nine members were presented Commander’s Commendations for their service in North and South Carolina during Hurricane Matthew:  1st Lt. Michael Heuss, Captains Ron Glockner and Nadine Hartman, Majors Bob Thompson, Dennis Villar, and Scott Wise, and Lt. Cols. John Henderson, Brenda Reed, and Tony Vallillo.

Maj. Julie Holley was presented the Best in Show Balsem Award, announced during this year’s CAP national Public Affairs Academy, for her public affairs work during Hurricane Matthew.

Cadet Maj. Wyatt Hartman and Cadet 1st Lt. Riley Campbell made a special presentation to staff members from the Maryland Wing Solo School were recognized for their work through the years to make the activity a huge success. The following were presented personalized polo shirts as a thank you for their service to cadets:  Maj. Marty Sacks, Maj. Curtis Berry, Lt. Col. Pete Loewenheim, Lt. Col. Tony Vallillo, and Lt. Col. John Henderson.

Nine Maryland Wing squadrons were recognized for their success in earning the Quality Cadet Unit Award:   Arundel Composite, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite, Calvert Cadet, Col. Mary S. Feik Composite, College Park Composite, Cumberland Composite, Fort McHenry Composite, Hagerstown Composite, and St. Mary’s Composite Squadron.

The Grover Loening Award, Civil Air Patrol’s senior professional development award for Level III, the following members were recognized for their successful completion of this part of the program: Captains Brian Green and Kevin Harris.

The Paul Garber Award, CAP’s Level IV award in the professional development program, was awarded to Capt. David Argentieri, Lt. Cols. Don Ells, Pete Loewenheim, and James Williams.

1st Lt. Blake Pinder was presented the Amelia Earhart Award for achieving the grade of Cadet Captain. Pinder, a member of the Cumberland Composite Squadron, had his new grade pinned on by his parents.

Winter then presented the annual ‘of the year’ awards, recognizing the members that excelled during the past year in their duty assignments.

  • Administrative Officer of the Year – 2nd Lt. Crystal Joy, Cumberland Composite Squadron
  • Aerospace Education Officer of the Year – 2nd Lt. David Cox, Carroll Composite Squadron
  • Character Development Officer of the Year – Capt. David Webster, St. Mary’s Composite Squadron
  • Communications Officer of the Year – Maj. Martin Brown, College Park Composite Squadron
  • Deputy Commander for Cadets of the Year – Lt. Col. Glenn Rioux, St. Mary’s Composite Squadron
  • Deputy Commander for Seniors of the Year – Lt. Col. Ron Tucker, Charles Composite Squadron
  • Drug Demand Reduction Officer of the Year – Capt. Agatha Vogelgesang, Glenn L. Martin Composite Squadron
  • Emergency Services Officer of the Year – Capt. Victor Santos, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron
  • Finance Officer of the Year – 2nd Lt. Patti Messick, Mt. Airy Composite Squadron
  • Ground Team of the Year – Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron
  • Historian of the Year – Capt. Patrick Whang, Maryland Wing Headquarters Squadron
  • Incident Command Staff Officer of the Year – Maj. Jim Holcomb, Maryland Wing Headquarters Squadron
  • Information Technology Officer of the Year – Lt. Col. Glenn Rioux, St. Mary’s Composite Squadron
  • Logistics Officer of the Year – 1st Lt. John Roberts, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron
  • Operations Officer of the Year – Maj. Derek Rustvold, Apollo 1 Senior Squadron
  • Personnel Officer of the Year – Lt. Col. Dwight Hall, St. Mary’s Composite Squadron
  • Professional Development Officer of the Year – 1st Lt. Michael Heuss, Apollo 1 Senior Squadron
  • Public Affairs Officer of the Year – Capt. Alice Raatjes, Group 2 Headquarters
  • Recruiting and Retention Officer of the Year – 1st Lt. Catrina Johnson, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron
  • Safety Officer of the Year – 2nd Lt. Mark Zablotny, Apollo 1 Senior Squadron
  • Transportation Officer of the Year – Lt. Col. Dean Trombley, Mt. Airy Composite Squadron
  • Cadet Programs Advocate of the Year – 1st Lt. Hannah Schmitz, Arundel Composite Squadron
  • Cadet NCO of the Year – Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Kalei Hayes, Arundel Composite Squadron
  • Cadet Junior Officer of the Year – Cadet Daniel Flanick, Mt. Airy Composite Squadron
  • “Ace of the Base” for most pilot hours overall – Maj. Derek Rustvold, Apollo 1 Senior Squadron
  • “A-Mission Ace” for most pilot hours in USAF assigned missions – Maj. Derek Rustvold, Apollo 1 Senior Squadron

Maryland Wing Banquet

Following an afternoon of training sessions, members and friends joined together for the annual Maryland Wing banquet, preceded by the Commander’s Reception, hosted by Col. Joe Winter, Maryland Wing commander.

The tradition of the parade of group flags and squadron guidons by cadets from around the wing provides the opportunity to recognize each unit in the wing.

Three members were recognized for earning the highest award in the CAP professional development program, the Gill Robb Wilson Award: Lt. Col. Ronald Tucker, Lt. Col. Frank Jarosinski, and Lt. Col. Richard Hoerner.

Lt. Col. George “Buddy” Murray, Jr., was presented the National Professional Development Officer of the Year Award by Col. Winter.  The award was announced earlier in the year at the Civil Air Patrol national conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Lt. Col. Don Ells was presented the Distinguished Service Medal for his years of service in cadet programs as director of the national Air Force Space Command Familiarization Course.

The evening culminated in the presentation of a number of awards by Col. Winter to deserving members.

Lt. Col. Charles “Bob” Midkiff was named Maryland Wing Staff Officer of the Year for his work as the emergency services ground operations officer.

Lt. Col. Brenda Reed of the Maryland Wing Headquarters Squadron was named Senior Member of the Year. Reed is currently the wing chief of staff.

Cadet Maj. Wyatt Hartman, of the Glenn L. Martin Composite Squadron, was named Cadet of the Year.

Each year, the Cadet of the Year selects one member that has been the biggest influence in their CAP career. Hartman named Maj. Marty Sacks as his mentor. Sacks was awarded the CAP-USAF Torch Award for his mentorship and guidance of Hartman as he progressed through the cadet program and his recent achievement of private pilot.

Group Commanders joined Winter in presenting their choices for Group squadron of the year awards. Squadron guidons were presented as the Group Commander tied on the award streamer for the units.

Group I Squadron of the Year – Cumberland Composite Squadron

Group II Squadron of the Year – Osprey Composite Squadron

Group III Squadron of the Year – Arundel Composite Squadron

The Cumberland Composite Squadron was also named Squadron of the Year for the Wing by Winter.

1st Lt. Will Pinder, commander of the Cumberland Composite Squadron, was named Squadron Commander of the Year.

The Group of the Year Award went to Group III, commanded by Lt. Col. Charles Davis.

Following the awards, Winter presided over a change of command ceremony where Lt. Col. Rory Garnice, outgoing Group I commander, relinquished command of the group, and Maj. John Strong, incoming Group I commander, accepted command.

Nearly 1,500 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 or follow the wing on Facebook 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.

Photos from the 2017 Maryland Wing Conference can be found on the wing’s Flickr site:

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