Civil Air Patrol
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Maryland Wing Wraps its Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony Virtually (Re-post)

November 18, 2020 – GRANITE, Md. – The 2020 iteration of the Civil Air Patrol Maryland Wing Conference and Awards Ceremony occurred on November 14, 2020.  Though this year’s event was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland Wing sincerely welcomed Major General Mark E. Smith, CAP National Commander; Col Bruce B. Heinlein, CAP MAR Commander; and Christopher Vaugh, FEMA Geospatial Information Officer, as distinguished speakers setting a high bar for attendees, and for the various break-out sessions that followed.

The event covered many break-out topics where speakers provided insights into essential facets of Maryland Wing subject matters to include Cyber Education, small-unmanned aircraft system (sUAS), Airborne Sensors, and Communications.  Maryland Wing also hosted an interactive search and rescue exercise (SAREX) session for participants as part of the conference.

This year’s conference also highlighted the accomplishments of many remarkable MDWG airmen.  Maryland Wing would like to recognize the following annual award recipients (with designated unit)

Aerospace Education Officer of the Year – Lt Col George Ryan (Apollo I Senior Squadron)

Deputy Commander of Cadets of the Year – 2nd Lt Olivia Higgins (Hartford Composite Squadron)

Cadet Junior Officer of the Year – C/1st Lt Jacob Stigdon (Granite Cadet Squadron)

Cadet of the Year – C/Lt Col Laura Midkiff (Carroll Composite Squadron)

Cadet NCO of the Year – C/SMSgt Oritseweyimnii Fru (Charles Composite Squadron)

Communicator of the Year – Maj Martin Brown (College Park Composite Squadron)

Character Development Instructor of the Year – 2nd Lt Chon Gann (Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron)

Deputy Commander for Seniors of the Year – Capt Michele Bell (Apollo I Senior Squadron)

Senior Member of the Year – Lt Col Rory Garnice (HQ Maryland Wing)

Director of Finance – Lt Col Christopher Roche (Glenn L. Martin Composite Squadron)

Health Services Officer of the Year – SM Luz Cortez (Frederick Composite Squadron)

Historian of the Year – CMSgt Thomas Reed (Granite Cadet Squadron)

IT Officer of the Year – 1st Lt Michael Higgins (Hartford Composite Squadron)

Webmaster of the Year – Lt Col Christopher Roche (Glenn L. Martin Composite Squadron)

Transportation Officer of the Year – 2nd Lt Dawn Madsen (Mt Airy Composite Squadron)

GT of the Year – College Park Composite Squadron

Emergency Services Officer of the Year – Capt Christophe Marchand (College Park Composite Squadron)

Education and Training Officer of the Year – 2nd Lt Christie Ficke (Granite Cadet Squadron)

Safety Officer of the Year – 1st Lt Steven Lang (Esperanza Middle School Flight)

Most Air Force Funded Flight Hours (104.5 hrs) – Lt Col Robert Nelson (Apollo I Senior Squadron)

Most Total Flight Hours (112.4 hrs) – Lt Col Robert Nelson (Apollo I Senior Squadron)

Group 1 Squadron of the Year – Bethesda Chevy Chase Composite Squadron

Group 2 Squadron of the Year – Carroll Composite Squadron

Group 3 Squadron of the Year – St Mary’s Composite Squadron

Maryland Wing Group of the Year – Group 3

Maryland Wing Squadron of the Year – St Mary’s Composite Squadron

Maryland Wing Squadron Commander of the Year – Maj Dennis Villar (St Mary’s Composite Squadron)

Maryland Wing also extends its gratitude to the conference’s guest speakers and the team of dedicated volunteers that coordinated the planning and implementation of this conference.

Nearly 1,500 members serve in Civil Air Patrol’s Maryland Wing. Last year, wing members flew 13 actual search and rescue missions. Overall, the Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland, flying 2,245 hours in all mission categories, and was credited with four finds. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For information, contact the Maryland Wing at or follow the wing on Facebook.

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, Civil Air Patrol 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 82 lives annually. Civil Air Patrol’s 61,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, Civil Air Patrol plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 25,000 young people participating in Civil Air Patrol’s Cadet Programs. Visit or for information.

Publishing note – This is a re-publishing of an article posted in November 2020.  The original article release was lost from the Maryland Wing webpage.  The intent of this reposting is to assure the above-mentioned annual award recipients are recognized for respective accomplishments and hard work.


Prepared by: 1st Lt. Jeffrey Robertson, MDWG PAO,

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