Civil Air Patrol
  • Aircrew returing to base

Mount Airy Composite Squadron celebrates a dual change of command

1/8/2018 – MOUNT AIRY, Md. — “Sir, I accept command.” With these words, Civil Air Patrol’s Mount Airy Composite Squadron, a unit of the Maryland Wing, held change of command ceremonies at the Mt. Airy Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 10076. The ceremony is a time-honored military tradition designed to mark the occasion when responsibility of command is passed from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander. On this night, the occasion was marked with a dual change of command.

The evening began with the ceremony to mark the change of the squadron’s commander. As master of ceremonies, 2nd Lt. Mary Alvarado began with a brief military history and description of the symbolism behind the “passing of the flag.” Cadet Chief Master Sgt. James Buchheit served as the squadron guidon bearer accompanied by Maj. John Strong, Group 1 commander, who served as the presiding officer.

The squadron’s guidon was passed from Buchheit to outgoing squadron commander, Lt. Col. Ray Buzzard, who presented it to Strong. Strong then presented the guidon to the incoming squadron commander, Capt. Laura Smith-Velazquez. With the words, “Sir, I accept command,” Smith-Velazquez formally accepted command duties and responsibilities for the Mt. Airy squadron.

After the squadron commander ceremony was completed, Smith-Velazquez and Strong officiated the cadet commander change of command. Serving as the cadet commander is the ultimate challenge for a cadet officer. It is an enormous test of leadership skill. The position stands at the epicenter of the squadron as the cadet commander is the most visible cadet, a role model for the entire cadet corps, and the liaison between the senior staff and the cadet staff. Cadet 1st Lt. Blake Scott stepped down as the squadron’s cadet commander and Cadet 1st Lt. Raegan Buzzard became the new cadet commander. Scott gave a farewell address and the evening came to a close with refreshments and fellowship. The squadron prepares to bring in the New Year with a new infusion of energy and enthusiasm.

Mount Airy Composite Squadron is a composite of both senior and youth programs whose members are drawn from Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties. The squadron meets Thursday nights, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at Mt. Airy Veterans of Foreign War, Post 10076, 107 S. Main, Mt. Airy, Maryland. Have a passion for aviation, dream of flight, are considering a career in the military? Want to serve your community and enhance your leadership skills? Join us. Youths, ages 12 to 18, parents and adults interested in the cadet or senior program are always welcome to drop in. For more information, contact Capt. Laura Smith-Velazquez at Follow Mt. Airy squadron on Facebook at

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.



by 2nd Lt. Mary Alvarado, CAP
Public Affairs Officer, Mt. Airy Composite Squadron


(left)  ​New Mt. Airy squadron cadet commander, Cadet 1st Lt. Raegan Buzzard (left) is pictured with outgoing cadet commander, Cadet 1st Lt. Blake Scott (right).  (Photo credit 2nd Lt. Mary Alvarado)

​(right) Maj. John Strong (center), Group 1 commander, officiated the Mt. Airy squadron change of command ceremony. Capt. Laura Smith-Velazquez (left) accepted her new position as squadron commander with congratulations from outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Ray Buzzard (right).  (Photo credit 2nd Lt. Mary Alvarado)

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