Civil Air Patrol
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Profiles in Leadership: Maj. Marty Sacks

2/20/2018 — WOODSTOCK, Md. — Leaders are individuals who help create options and opportunities. They help identify choices and solve problems. Leaders build commitment and coalitions. They do this by inspiring others and working with them to construct a shared vision of the possibilities and promise of a better group, organization and community. Leaders engage followers in such a way that many followers become leaders in their own right. We take this opportunity to introduce you to just one of Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol’s exceptional leaders.

Upon joining CAP, Maj. “Marty” Sacks opened a new chapter in his flying career with a commitment to using his technical and aeronautical skills for his community. CAP’s mission set and its history intrigued him to the extent that Sacks joined with great anticipation to be part of CAP’s future. Now over 15 years later, Maj. Sacks has become one of Maryland Wing’s most valuable leaders for the MDWG pilot training and flight programs.

Sacks, a certified commercial, mission, check and orientation pilot serves as the MDWG pilot training officer. A former member of the Harford Composite Squadron and the Group II pilot training officer, Sacks now serves at the wing level developing and implementing programs to ensure that Maryland Wing pilots are the best they can be! He is a mentor to pilots and cadets throughout the wing and for national CAP activities. Mentoring, Sacks claims, is the ultimate best experience he has had in CAP and enjoys working with cadets and teaching CAP pilots to fly G-1000 equipped airplanes. Flying imaging missions after Hurricane Sandy and the South Carolina floods coupled with piloting air defense missions are also a part of his CAP exceptional experiences.

When asked to summarize his CAP awards and recognitions, Sacks states, “Perhaps the greatest award is the ‘reward’ of having the honor of teaching and serving with and learning from those I have met within CAP. I count myself privileged to have taught my first two students at the Robert Ayres Flight Academy. Cadets Jose Boscana, from the Glenn L Martin Composite Squadron, and Kyle McVay, from the Col. Mary E. Feik Composite Squadron, who were inspiring.” Sacks continued, “Additionally, serving on the staff of the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Familiarization Course NCSA in Del Rio, Texas, and at Cadet Officer School with Col. Joseph Winter were comparable to receiving a personal award of excellence.”

Mentorship and a willingness to learn are important leadership characteristics. Mentoring is a professional activity, a trusted relationship, a meaningful commitment that provides professional guidance and personal growth to enable success. Sacks readily acknowledges his gratitude to the incredible mentors, past and present, who have given him the tools to help him develop into the person he is today. Quality mentorship develops leadership skills and character growth opportunities. Within CAP and in his personal and professional career, mentors have made a difference. Sacks stresses that great mentors are found in all walks of life.

Sacks indicates that one particular mentor has had significant influenced on him and that is Col. Joseph Winter, Maryland Wing commander. Sacks claims, “He encouraged me – over many years – in a way that I am very thankful for and treasure. His confidence in my ability to make a small impact in National Cadet Special Activities (NCSA) has enrichened my experience in CAP in a way I find difficult to describe. I have learned much from his example as a leader even though he is quite a bit younger than me.” Sacks continues, “I hope this is a message that all of us internalize since many think learning is about the age of teacher and student. I would argue – strongly – that some of the best lessons I have learned were from people that were younger and less experienced than me. I encourage everyone to never stop learning!”

Summing up the aspect of leadership, Sacks indicated that a good leader is a great listener who builds teams around common goals. Great listening is paramount. The process of being a good leader starts with a decision to serve. Sacks commented, “The best leaders I know are the best servers.” When asked what advice he would give to aspiring leaders, he replied, “Read good leadership books. Find a good leader to follow. Great leaders are great followers.”

Sacks life values include family, faith and community. He credits his professional and personal success to accepting challenges, seeking learning opportunities and never compromising his reputation. When asked to describe himself, Sacks replies, “I am a son, husband, dad and friend. I have the professional privilege to lead a team who are responsible for taking care of customers for a well-respected business leader in the broadcast equipment industry. I also have an incredibly rich life as a volunteer in Civil Air Patrol as a pilot and mentor. I am incredibly blessed to live a rich life in a great country.”

John Quincy Adams said “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Maj. ‘Marty’ Sacks fits this definition of a leader. He is committed to achieving success in all facets of his life. When asked to recount his achievements, Sacks replies, “Married to my best friend, Mary Beth, for 34 years, my role as a father to three great young men and now two awesome daughters-in-laws, and a great professional career in the broadcast industry and in CAP where I have made lifelong friends who have all contributed to me becoming a leader.”


Capt. Alice Raatjes, CAP
Assistant Public Affairs Officer, Maryland Wing

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