Maryland Wing members gather in Ocean City for 2018 annual conference
November 11, 2018–OCEAN CITY, Md. –More than 250 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 the Princess Royale Resort in Ocean City, Md.
The weekend began on Friday evening with a welcome reception, providing a time for members and friends to gather informally and reconnect in a social environment. The main portion of the conference was held on Saturday starting with the general session, followed by training sessions 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, diversity, along with other topics. A full cadet conference coincided with the sessions.
Special guest speakers for the event were Brig. Gen. Edward Phelka, Civil Air Patrol national vice commander, and Col. Bruce Heinlein, Middle East Region commander.
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. The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron color guard, winners of the 2018 Maryland Wing Color Guard Competition, posted the colors. Cadet Capt. Laura Midkiff of the Carroll Composite Squadron served as Honor Guard for the awards and memorial table recognition.
Maryland Wing command staff recognized the accomplishments of the many members that have excelled throughout the year.
Col. Joe Winter acknowledged the hard work and dedication of a number of members for their service to the Wing with Commander’s Commendations:
- Lt. Col Lisa Egry and Maj. Mike Zabetakis were awarded a Achievement Awards for their service during the 2018 Middle East Region SAR College.
- Capt. Victor Santos was awarded a Commander’s Commendation for his work during the 2018 Maryland Wing Emergency Services Academies.
- Maj. Mike Zabetakis and Capt. Cole Brown were presented Commander’s Commendation for distinguishing themselves during the two-week long Vigilant Guard, Ardent Sentry, and SAR evaluation exercise this past spring.
- Maj. Bob Thompson was awarded a Commander’s Commendation for his service as instructor, mentor, and evaluator during the 2018 wing Emergency Services Academies.
Brig. Gen. Phelka presented National Commander’s Commendations to the aircrew that flew to Puerto Rico during the Hurrican Maria mission: 1st Lt. Michael Heuss, 1st Lt. Richard Marko, Lt. Col. Pete Loewenheim, and Lt. Col. Tony Vallillo. Additionally, Phelka presented the following members awards for their service at FEMA during the hurricanes:
- Ch (Lt Col) Edco Bailey, National Commander’s Commendation;
- Col. Wes LaPre, Meritorious Service Award; and
- Col. Rick Stuart, Exceptional Service Award.
Capt. Patrick Whang was recognized by Phelka for earning the National Historian of the Year Award, which was announced during the 2018 Civil Air Patrol conference in Anaheim, Calif.
Twelve Maryland Wing squadrons were recognized for their success in earning the Quality Cadet Unit Award: Arundel Composite, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite,
Calvert Cadet, Carroll Composite, Col. Mary S. Feik Composite, College Park Composite, Cumberland Composite, Easton Composite, Glenn L. Martin Composite, Harford Composite, St. Mary’s Composite, and Towson Composite Squadron.
The Paul Garber Award, CAP’s Level IV award in the professional development program, was awarded to Capt. Kevin Harris and Lt. Col. Guilford Queen.
Brig. Gen. Phelka assisted Col. Winter in presenting four Mitchell awards to cadets from the Cumberland Composite Squadron, three cadets from one family: Cadet 2nd Lts. Heston Hersch, Moriah Hersch, Nevin Hersch, and Cody Joy.
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 – Maj. Mark Coppenbarger, St. Mary’s Composite Squadron
- Aerospace Education Officer of the Year – Capt. Dean Hines, Glenn L. Martin Composite Squadron
- Character Development Officer of the Year – Lt. Col. John Erickson, Jr., Calvert Cadet Squadron
- CISM Team Member of the Year: Maj. Dana Hooper, Calvert Cadet Squadron
- Communications Officer of the Year – 1st Lt. Melvin Schall, Frederick Composite Squadron
- Deputy Commander for Cadets of the Year – 1st Lt. Mike Swam, Carroll Composite Squadron
- Emergency Services Officer of the Year – 2nd Lt. Christophe Marchand, College Park Composite Squadron
- Finance Officer of the Year – Maj. Bill Donovan, Hagerstown Composite Squadron
- Ground Team of the Year – Cumberland Composite Squadron
- Historian of the Year – Lt. Col. Christopher Roche, Glenn L. Martin Composite Squadron
- Incident Command Staff Officer of the Year – Lt. Col. Bob Midkiff, Maryland Wing Headquarters Squadron
- Information Technology Officer of the Year – Lt. Col. Glenn Rioux, St. Mary’s Composite Squadron
- Logistics Officer of the Year – Lt. Col. Cajetan von der Linden, Maryland Wing Headquarters Squadron
- Aircraft Maintenance Officer – Capt. Joe Toskes, Maryland Wing Headquarters Squadron
- Operations Officer of the Year – Lt. Col. Walter Coats, Glenn L. Martin Composite Squadron
- Personnel Officer of the Year – Lt. Col. Dwight Hall, St. Mary’s Composite Squadron
- Public Affairs Officer of the Year – 1st Lt. Mary Ann Alvarado, Mount Airy Composite Squadron
- Safety Officer of the Year – Lt. Col. Christopher Hiles, Maryland Wing Headquarters Squadron
- Transportation Officer of the Year – 1st Lt. Charles Mitchell, Apollo 1 Senior Squadron
- Webmaster of the Year – Cadet 2nd Lt. Andrew Rioux, St. Mary’s Composite Squadron
- Cadet Programs Advocate of the Year – 1st Lt. Brett Cole, Cumberland Composite Squadron
- Cadet NCO of the Year – Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Aaron Furches, Wicomico Composite Squadron
- Cadet Junior Officer of the Year – Cadet 1st Lt. Katherine Weinhold, Upper Montgomery Composite Squadron
- “Ace of the Base” for most pilot hours overall – Maj. Bob Nelson, Apollo 1 Senior Squadron
- “A-Mission Ace” for most pilot hours in USAF assigned missions – Maj. Bob Nelson, 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.
Maj. Robert Thompson, commander of the College Park Composite Squadron, was recognized for earning the highest award in the CAP professional development program, the Gill Robb Wilson Award.
Lt. Col. Michael McEleney of the Parkland Middle School Cadet Squadron was recognized for 50 years of service to Civil Air Patrol.
The evening culminated in the presentation of a number of awards by Col. Winter to deserving members.
1st Lt. Phil Vogelgesang, commander of the Glenn L. Martin Composite Squadron, was named Squadron Commander of the Year.
Chief Master Sergeant Thomas Reed was named Maryland Wing Staff Officer of the Year for his work in a variety of roles in both the Maryland Wing and the Middle East Region.
1st Lt. Brett Cole of the Cumberland Composite Squadron was named Senior Member of the Year. Cole is currently the squadron’s commander.
Cadet Lt. Col. Vivek Uppoor, of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase 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. Uppoor named 1st Lt. Jaison Pajaro as his mentor and will be awarded the CAP-USAF Torch Award for his mentorship and guidance of Uppoor as he progressed through the cadet program.
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 – Glenn L. Martin 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.
The Group of the Year Award went to Group II, commanded by Lt. Col. Frank Jarosinski.
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 mdwg.cap.gov or follow the wing on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarylandWingCivilAirPatrol.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, 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 80 lives annually. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 25,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com or www.CAP.news for more information.
Lt. Col. Brenda A. Reed, CAP
Chief of Staff, Maryland Wing