Civil Air Patrol
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Reed named Civil Air Patrol’s 2018 Senior Member of the Year

August 28, 2018 — ANAHEIM, Calif. — Lt. Col. Brenda Reed, Maryland Wing chief of staff, was named the 2018 Civil Air Patrol Senior Member of the Year during the CAP national conference in Anaheim, Calif.  This lifetime achievement award was presented by Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP national commander, during the conference banquet program during which the Hon. Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force, was guest speaker.

Since joining Civil Air Patrol in July 2003, Reed has held a variety of positions at the squadron, wing, region and national levels of the organization in addition to countless additional duties at activities and events. In all of these areas, Lt Col Reed has excelled and influenced CAP and its members to improve.

Reed joined CAP at the Carroll Composite Squadron in Westminster, Md., serving as personnel officer and public affairs officer. Reed later became Carroll squadron’s commander, leading the unit to Squadron of the Year in 2010 and earning the Squadron Commander of the Year award. During her command tenure, the squadron grew to one of the largest squadrons in Maryland Wing and had the largest growth of aircrew and ground personnel, while member achievements increased significantly under her guidance.

While serving at her squadron, Reed also joined Maryland Wing staff with the additional duty of wing administrative officer, and subsequently was the drug demand reduction administrator, advisor to the commander, and the wing public affairs officer. She served as the project officer for the wing conference for five years and coordinated the wing Legislative Day team for four years. In 2010, she received the Wing Staff Officer of the Year award for her service as wing PAO. From 2009-2016, she served as advisor to three Maryland Wing commanders, assisting with strategic communications and reports, in addition to her other CAP responsibilities.

In 2014, Reed became the director of public affairs for the Middle East Region, where she advised PAOs from the seven-state region.  Reed won six first place Balsem Awards for her PA work in social media, websites, and photography. Reed continued to advise the MER commander, a role began when he was wing commander, working with him on the monthly Commander’s Commentary and other documents. She also served as the project officer for the 2016 Middle East Region conference in Richmond, Va. Lt. Col. Reed has been privileged to see many of her articles and photos published in local media and the CAP Volunteer. She was one of three bloggers nationally on CAP’s Congressional Gold Medal website ( where she researched the history of and wrote about early CAP members.  Lt. Col. Reed is a qualified public information officer and served as PIO for the 2015 South Carolina flood mission. She was the CAP NHQ-appointed PIO for Middle East Region during South Carolina’s Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and was awarded a Distinguished Service Award for her work.  In 2016, Reed stepped down as MER director of public affairs to become the Maryland Wing chief of staff, but she remains active in assisting the wing with public relations and as a PIO for missions.

Lt. Col. Reed is very interested in meeting member needs, especially through distance education. She initiated the Maryland Wing e-learning program in 2013, designing and implementing the nation’s first online Unit Commanders Course and an online Training Leaders of Cadets, courses which have been attended by students around the nation. Reed also designed blended SLS and CLC courses which have had students from Maryland and other wings in the MER. Continuing her interest in e-learning, Reed began teaching the national online SLS and CLC courses, became the NHQ assistant e-learning coordinator in 2015 and later the primary NHQ e-learning coordinator in 2017, responsible for the implementation of all national-level online SLS and CLC classes and advising CAP members around the nation on creating online training opportunities. This included a redesign of both courses in 2017 with the introduction of a new learning management system.  Her interest in professional development also extends to the classroom where she has taught and directed multiple in-residence courses and is a frequent presenter at wing and region conferences. She served as faculty at the MER Staff College.

Lt. Col. Reed grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and has experience working with legislators, including visits to the Oval Office, Supreme Court and Congressional offices. She has transferred these experiences to CAP by working with the annual Legislative Day, coordinating the Maryland Wing teams for five years, ensuring that all 10 Maryland Congressional representatives are met with each year. She has served as deputy director of one of CAP’s premier NCSAs, the Civic Leadership Academy.

Lt. Col. Reed initially joined CAP because two of her children were cadets. She has a passion for working with cadets and has been involved in many cadet activities through the years. She served on staff at the Tri-Wing Encampment for five years and was project officer for the Maryland Wing Drill Team. In 2010, Reed traveled to New Zealand as an escort/ambassador with the International Air Cadet Exchange and repeated this honor as an escort/ambassador to Belgium in 2016. She has also been the IACE project officer for the Maryland Wing hosting and the Middle East Region hosting.

Lt. Col. Reed has completed Level IV of CAP’s professional development program and holds master ratings in cadet programs, administration, public affairs, and finance. She is a graduate of the Middle East Region Staff College as well as Air Command and Staff College.  She was named Maryland Wing’s Senior Member of the Year in 2017 and Middle East Region Senior Member of the Year in 2018.

Lt. Col. Reed was the first Maryland wing administrator, a paid position with CAP NHQ where she was responsible for maintaining the wing financial accounts and other administrative duties, advising the wing commander, and assisting the wing staff as needed. She credits this role with giving her the breadth of knowledge on CAP regulations, processes, and people that she has been able to use while assisting others.

Lt. Col. Reed holds a Bachelors degree in history from the University of Maryland University College where her studies emphasized the Renaissance period. She earned her Masters in Distance Education and e-Learning with a teaching and training specialization from University of Maryland University College, graduating summe cum laude.  Professionally, Lt. Col. Reed is a distance education consultant helping nonprofit organizations with their e-learning needs. She is married to retired USAF Chief Master Sgt. Tom Reed and is mother to three grown children and has two grandsons. Two of her children were cadets: the former Cadet Capt. Jenn Reed and former Cadet Col. Jake Reed, who is married to former Cadet 2nd Lt. Caddi Golia.  Reed’s son was named Civil Air Patrol’s National Cadet of the Year in 2008.

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.


Photo:  Civil Air Patrol Lt. Col. Brenda A. Reed, Senior Member of the Year receives her award from Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, Civil Air Patrol National Commander during the banquet at the 2018 CAP National Conference in Anaheim, CA on Aug. 25, 2018. More than 700 people attended the annual banquet which was highlighted by a keynote address from the Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. (Civil Air Patrol, U.S Air Force Auxiliary photo by Lt. Col. Robert Bowden)

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