Senior and Cadet changes of command and awards

A change of command is a significant event in the life of a squadron.  For Mount Vernon Composite Squadron, Thursday night was doubly significant because the squadron and cadet commanders both changed.  NATCAP Wing Commander, Col. J.D. Ellis was on hand to officiate as Lt. Col. Brian “Irish” Porter surrendered the guidon to him, symbolizing the moment during which command is relinquished.  In his opening remarks, Ellis discussed the sacrifices associated with volunteering, but in the end he stated, “somebody has to command.”  Ellis referred to Mount Vernon Composite Squadron as “our operational hub” as it is in a critical geographic area in which the wing aircraft are stationed.  As Ellis introduced Porter to make his departing remarks, he praised him for managing to handle the responsibilities of his active duty Air Force job, his family, and CAP leadership responsibilities, questioning how such a thing was possible.  As Porter opened, he responded immediately to the wing commander stating that, “the support I receive from my family is why I was able to do it.”

Col. J.D. Ellis accepts the squadron guidon from Lt. Col. Brian Porter. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.

Highlights from the citation that accompanied the CAP Region Commander’s Commendation Award detail that from January 1, 2016, to March 5, 2017, Porter distinguished himself both as Deputy Commander for Cadets, and Commander, Mount Vernon Composite Squadron.  He served as the 2016 Tri-Wing Encampment Commander of Cadets, leading a training staff of 45 cadets and senior members, serving 200 attendees and qualifying 177 in basic first aid.  Four search and rescue exercises were conducted under his tenure and Porter served as the ground branch director for NATCAP Wing’s U.S. Air Force graded mission evaluation during which all targets in the field were located. He drove a 20% increase in cadet orientation flights, supervised an overhaul of the squadron’s records and oversaw the 2017 Subordinate Unit Inspection resulting in a grade of “successful.”  Upon hearing the citation read, Porter was quick to give complete credit to all the squadron’s members.

Porter will retire from the U.S. Air Force within the next couple of months and move with his family to Anchorage, Alaska where he will work as a civilian flight instructor.

Col. J.D. Ellis passes the command guidon to Lt. Col. William Eliason. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.

Lt. Col. William Eliason hails from another squadron within the NATCAP wing, but as a Fairfax County Mount Vernon District resident, Eliason was keen to answer the call to MVCS command upon Porter’s departure. In his remarks, Eliason spoke highly of the squadron having seen first hand its high standards of performance while serving as the lead inspector for NATCAP Wing during the 2017 Subordinate Unit Inspection. Upon assuming command, Eliason was also presented with the Paul E. Garber Award for completing level IV of the Senior Member Professional Development Program, as well as the NATCAP Commander’s certificate.  Eliason pledged to uphold the standards set by Porter, and to make every effort to take the squadron to the next level. Having assumed command, he immediately began his duties by presiding over the cadet change of command.

Cadet 1st Lt. Harrison Cox passed the cadet command guidon to Eliason, relinquishing command as he prepares to leave the area and attend Old Dominion University in the fall.  Eliason remarked that ODU was where he had received his Ph.D. degree in the past. Cox served as the cadet commander from May 1, 2016, to May 25, 2017.  He served as the 2016 Tri-Wing Encampment Deputy Chief of Logistics.  For his service, Cox was awarded the MVCS Veterans of Foreign Wars Cadet Officer of the Year, and the CAP Achievement Award.

According to the certificate accompanying his award, Cox’s “focus on cadet-led instruction coupled with ‘hands on’ activities, alongside two informal social events aimed at building morale and a greater sense of squadron identity, made a lasting impact on the unit.”  He pursued qualification as a Ground Team Member, Mission Radio Operator, and Mission Staff Assistant. Outside of CAP he served his community as a production assistant for Acting for Young People where he taught youth the fundamentals of acting and assisted with five stage productions per semester. Cox was selected to attend American Legion Virginia Boys State, where he distinguished himself by being elected as city mayor. He maintained a 3.82 GPA, was inducted into the National Society of High School Scholars, and was awarded two varsity letters as a member of a cross country conference champion team.

Lt. Col. William Eliason accepts the cadet command guidon from C/1Lt Harrison Cox. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.

The new cadet commander, Cadet 2nd Lt. Michael Brokate gave brief remarks upon assuming command. He gave his welcome to attendees and guests, thanked the cadets and Cox for their service. Finally, he called the cadets to continue with the high standards of performance that have become hallmarks of Mount Vernon Composite Squadron’s cadets. Following his remarks, Brokate immediately began his duties, joined by the Deputy Commander for Cadets, presenting several awards to cadets. Following the change of command and award ceremony, squadron members and their guests gathered to enjoy refreshments and socialize, celebrating yet another long list of Mount Vernon Composite Squadron milestones.

The official party for the change of command and award ceremony. From right to left: C/2d Lt Michael Brokate, C/1Lt Harrison Cox, Capt. James Kavanagh (Deputy Commander for Cadets), Lt. Col. William Eliason, Lt. Col. Brian Porter, Col. J.D. Ellis. Photo by Lt Col. Mark Patrick.
The official party for the change of command and award ceremony. From right to left: C/2d Lt Michael Brokate, C/1Lt Harrison Cox, Capt. James Kavanagh (Deputy Commander for Cadets), Lt. Col. William Eliason, Lt. Col. Brian Porter, Col. J.D. Ellis. Photo by Lt Col. Mark Patrick.
Lt. Col. William Eliason passes the cadet command guidon to Cadet 2nd Lt. Michael Brokate. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/Amn Cyrus Odvina is promoted for earning the Curry Achievement. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/Amn Emile Richoux is promoted for earning the Curry Achievement. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/SrAmn Christopher Pease is promoted for earning the Mary Feik Achievement. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/SrA Christopher Pease is promoted for earning the Mary Feik Achievement. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/TSgt Stephan Gordon is promoted for earning the Eddie Rickenbacker Achievement. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/TSgt Stephen Gordon is promoted for earning the Eddie Rickenbacker Achievement. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/TSgt Ryan Kilby is promoted for earning the Eddie Rickenbacker Achievement. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/TSgt Ryan Kilby is promoted for earning the Eddie Rickenbacker Achievement. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/TSgt Dien Dewever is promoted for earning the Eddie Rickenbacker Achievement. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/TSgt Dien Dewever is promoted for earning the Eddie Rickenbacker Achievement. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/MSgt Ryan Porter is presented a CAP Achievement Award. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick by Col. J.D. Ellis.
C/MSgt Ryan Porter is presented a CAP Achievement Award. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick by Col. J.D. Ellis.