Rocketry Last Month

C/MSgt Heros Avedissian poses with his two-stage rocket prior to launch. Photo by Maj Hagop Avedissian.
C/MSgt Heros Avedissian poses with his two-stage rocket prior to launch. Photo by Maj Hagop “Jake” Avedissian.

On July 15, a group of cadets from Mount Vernon Composite Squadron conducted a rocketry event that turned out to be a great learning experience for all.

Under the leadership of 1st Lt. Timothy Buchanan who organized the event, Capt. Jimmy Kavanagh, the deputy commander for cadets, six cadets and the squadron chaplain, the group enjoyed a few hours of fun and aerospace education focused on rockets. 

It is noteworthy that C/MSgt Heros Avedissian’s two stage rocket was the only two stage rocket that was launched and recovered successfully. It was carrying a payload consisting of a small Oscar trophy inside that was launched skyward and landed successfully. The team appreciated the experience and learned a great deal, so much so that the cadets are planning on having another rocketry event in September. They expect it to be even better organized and include more cadets.

CAP’s Model Rocketry program is an achievement program for cadets interested in the science, technology, and flight of model rockets.  The program begins with simple alternative-power models and progressively challenges cadets to construct more advanced models in three stages.

The Redstone Stage reviews the history of rocketry and its great pioneers, to include Robert Goddard and Werhner Von Braun.

The Titan Stage details the physical laws which govern objects on the Earth, in the air and in space above us.

The Saturn Stage presents information on trigonometry for altitude tracking, and physics of impulse and thrust associated with solid rocket engines.

Cadets who complete the written and performance requirements for each of the 3 stages, as certified by their unit commander, will be awarded the Cadet Model Rocketry Badge.

For model rocketry teaching tips and resources, click here.

MVCS Cadets participate in rocketry exercise. Photo by Maj Hagop "Jake" Avedissian.
MVCS Cadets participate in rocketry exercise. Photo by Maj Hagop “Jake” Avedissian.
Maj Jimmy Kavanagh, MVCS deputy commander for cadets, works with C/MSgt Heros Avedissian. Photo by Maj Hagop "Jake" Avedissian.
Maj Jimmy Kavanagh, MVCS deputy commander for cadets, works with C/MSgt Heros Avedissian. Photo by Maj Hagop “Jake” Avedissian.
MVCS cadets launch rockets. Photo by Maj Hagop "Jake" Adevissian.
MVCS cadets launch rockets. Photo by Maj Hagop “Jake” Adevissian.

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.

April Squadron Events

On April 13th, senior members gathered for training at Davison Army Airfield.  Among the events ocurring that evening were routine safety training, and specialized training on the operation of the CAP Technisonic FM radio.  Installed in CAP aircraft, these radios are used by aircrews to communicate with other CAP aircraft, ground teams, and mission base during exercises and real world operations.  The combination of knobs, buttons, and switches on this radio is complex and CAP volunteers who may not use the radio on a frequent basis benefit from occasional review and instruction on settings, tips, and best practices that will keep communications flowing smoothly during CAP missions.

2d Lt Robert Graham presents safety training to squadron members. Photo by Lt Col Mark Patrick.
Capt Joe Gruber presents training on the CAP FM radio. Photo by Lt Col Mark Patrick.

On April 27th, senior members again came together for training.  Lt Col Lou Volchansky presented instruction on search and rescue flight patterns used by CAP aircrews during emergency services missions.  Volchansky discussed altitude, airspeeds, flap configurations, track spacing, scanning techniques, as well as the specific reasons a particular search pattern should be chosen based upon weather and other conditions.  Whether members are working toward initial aircrew qualifications, or are seasoned veterans, review of these procedures is essential for keeping skills sharp.

Later that same evening, Mount Vernon cadets stood in formation for a promotion and awards ceremony. Capt James Kavanagh, the squadron’s deputy commander for cadets, presided over the ceremony during which four cadets were promoted and several were recognized for participation in the annual Wreaths Across America event.

C/Amn James Brewer is promoted having accomplished the requirements for the Maj Gen John Curry Achievement. Photo by Lt Col Mark Patrick.
C/SrA Stephen Hamilton is promoted for completing requirements associated with the Mary Feik Achievement. Photo by Lt Col Mark Patrick.
C/SSgt Bryce Buchanan is promoted for completing requirements associated with the Wright Brothers Award. Photo by Lt Col Mark Patrick.
Capt James Kavanagh presents C/Capt Leilani Kavanagh with a certificate for her receipt of the Amelia Earhart Award. Photo by Lt Col Mark Patrick.

Four Cadets Promoted at Awards Ceremony

On Thursday evening at Davison Army Airfield, four MVCS cadets were recognized and promoted at a squadron ceremony.

Cadets Stephen Gordon and Dien Dewever earned the Wright Brothers Award which is accompanied by promotion to Cadet Staff Sergeant.  This award is part of what Civil Air Patrol calls the “Learning Phase,” or Phase I.  Cadet Zachary Namiotka completed the Charles Lindbergh Achievement, accompanied by promotion to Cadet Master Sergeant.  This is the second achievement in Phase II, the “Leadership Phase.”  Finally, Cadet Leilani Kavanagh earned the Earhart Award, accompanied by the final promotion in Phase III, the “Command Phase,” to Cadet Captain. 

Parents, family members and MVCS senior members were present for the ceremony.  As each awardee marched front and center to be recognized and have new collar devices pinned on by parents, Cadet Major Clare Porter, who served as master of ceremonies, explained the significance of each award.  Civil Air Patrol cadet awards are named after individuals who have accomplished great things in the field of aviation.  More details can be found online via CAP’s “Stripes to Diamonds” page.

C/SSgt Stephen Gordon has new collar devices affixed by his parents. Photo by Lt. Col Mark Patrick.
Capt. James Kavanagh and the mother of C/SSgt Dien Dewever replace S/SSgt Dewever’s collar devices. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
Capt. James Kavanagh assists C/MSgt Zachary Namiotka’s parents as they pin on his new collar devices. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
Capt. James Kavanagh assisted by MVCS commander, Lt. Col. Brian “Irish” Porter (out of frame on left) pin on C/Capt Leilani Kavanagh’s new devices. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.

Mount Vernon Receives Subordinate Unit Inspection

Maj Claude Salch, MVCS Administrative Officer and Professional Development Officer (second from right), reviews programs with wing inspectors. Photo by Lt Col Mark Patrick.

On Thursday evening the wing aircrew meeting occurred as usual at Davison Army Airfield.  At the same time, a cadre of wing inspectors arrived to go through the Mount Vernon Composite Squadron’s key programs.

Subordinate Unit Inspections (SUIs) are conducted by region, wing or group headquarters on units subordinate to their headquarters. A wing may conduct an SUI on a group, squadron or flight within the wing. Likewise, a group headquarters may conduct an SUI on a squadron or flight within the group.  Specific details about scheduling and conducting Inspector General inspections, Staff Assistance Visits, SUIs and Self-Assessments are described in CAPR 123-3.

The program exists to protect the CAP organization by ensuring the various laws, rules, policies and agreements governing CAP programs are complied with. The program also helps its members meet the demands of CAP’s many rules, regulations and policies.

CAP personnel are volunteers, most of whom lead very busy professional and personal lives. These inspections insure that assets ultimately provided by the U.S. tax payer, as well as the many volunteers that make up the organization’s workforce, are handled consistently in the best possible way.  To ease the administrative burden of inspection programs, the wing has gradually moved most record keeping online, “to the cloud,” so that members can access information remotely, from home or office, or even on their smartphones and tablets.

MVCS Starts New Year with Cadet Change of Command and Awards Ceremony

Last night Mount Vernon Composite Squadron met for a busy evening of training followed by a traditional change of command and awards ceremony for cadets.

Prior to the ceremony, the seniors met for aircrew training and were joined by the cadets for a series of safety presentations covered by Lt. Col. Terry Pricer, the squadron’s safety officer, who addressed winter weather, jumping your car’s battery, safety mishap reporting, operational risk management and more.

Following training, the seniors joined the cadets and a large group of friends and family to witness the cadet change of command during which C/Maj. Clare Porter passed the guidon to C/1st Lt. Harrison Cox.  For her service as cadet commander, Porter received the Commander’s Commendation Award for Outstanding Performance.  Porter made remarks to the cadets and assembled guests, expressing her thanks for the support and mentoring she received during her tenure as commander.  Vice Commander of the National Capital Wing, Lt. Col. J. D. Ellis was on hand to make the award presentation.  Deputy Commander for Cadets, Capt. Travis Owens, presided over the entire ceremony.

Lt. Col. J. D. Ellis, Vice Commander of the National Capital Wing presented C/Maj. Clare Porter with the Commander’s Commendation Award for service as MVCS cadet commander. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
Deputy Commander for Cadets Capt. Travis Owens passes the guidon to C/1st Lt. Nathan Cox. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.

Following the change of command, three cadets were presented with the cadet recruiter ribbon which is earned for bringing two or more new cadets or senior members to the squadron.  Additionally, three cadets were promoted to C/Amn (Maj. Gen. John F. Curry Achievement), two to C/A1C (H. H. “Hap” Arnold Achievement), and two to C/SrA (Mary Feik Achievement).  C/MSgt Nathan McCale traded his chevrons for those with the C/1st Sgt’s silver diamond.  Following the ceremony, the cadets and senior members enjoyed a reception to celebrate their accomplishments and the health and camaraderie of the squadron.

C/MSgt Andrew Cameron, C/MSgt Nathan McHale and S/SrA Stephen Gordon earned the recruiter ribbon. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the squadron commander, Lt. Col. Brian Porter, expressed his thanks for the wonderful turnout of parents, friends, and family who came to support the cadet’s ceremony.

A family member affixes C/Amn Bluestein's collar device. New C/Amn Bevel, in the foreground, awaits promotion as his brother is also being promoted to C/Amn. Photo by Lt. Col. Patrick.
A family member affixes C/Amn Bluestein’s collar device. New C/Amn Bevel, in the foreground, awaits promotion while his brother is also being promoted. Photo by Lt. Col. Patrick.
C/A1C Christopher Hamilton is promoted. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/A1C Christopher Hamilton is promoted. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/A1C Christopher Pease is promoted. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/A1C Christopher Pease is promoted. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/SrA Jon Rosa has collar devices pinned on by his father. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/SrA Jon Rosa is promoted. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/SrA Ryan Kilby is promoted. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/SrA Ryan Kilby is promoted. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
New cadet commander, C/1st Lt. Harrison Cox, pins 1st Sgt device on C/MSgt Nathan McHale while Capt. Travis Owens (foreground) explains the significance of the position to those assembled. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
The insignia pinned on the collar of C/MSgt Nathan McHale.

NORAD Santa Tracker

image3911512The public will be able to eavesdrop Dec. 24 as Civil Air Patrol helps the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) track Santa Claus. The NORAD Santa Tracker website will provide a link allowing parents and children worldwide to listen to audio from CAP’s national radio nets as they support Santa’s epic journey.

Listeners will hear CAP radio operators across the country report local weather conditions and other factors that could affect Santa’s flight operations and navigation. The radio messages will be addressed to North Pole Mission Base.

At least seven CAP national net control stations will be managing net operations and providing periodic updates on Santa’s location. The CAP stations will begin Santa reports at 7 p.m. Eastern and 4 p.m. Pacific time. The stations will remain on the air until at least midnight.

“The HF radio systems CAP is using for the Santa Track net are an important resource,” said Malcolm Kyser, CAP’s chief of communications. “During emergency service and disaster relief operations when telephones and Internet may not be working, CAP’s volunteers routinely use radio to report damage assessment, conduct aerial photography and perform other essential missions.”

Sincerely,

CAP National Staff

New “Friends of CAP” Program

Greetings,

Civil Air Patrol members and their families are encouraged to spread the word about the new Friends of CAP program among their family, friends, co-workers, emergency service provider partners and anyone else who may have an interest in supporting CAP. Annual dues for Friends of unclesam-223x300CAP are only $35, which is tax-deductible, and they can sign up quickly online. Friends of CAP support the organization without any of the commitments involved with membership. This program does not replace CAP’s Patron members and is an easy way for people to support the organization. CAP Friends receive two printed issues of CAP’s magazine, Civil Air Patrol Volunteer, annually along with emails from national staff about all the great things CAP is doing. Additionally, CAP Friends can take advantage of selected benefits and discounts.

The two major benefits of Friends of CAP are: 1. Increased public awareness about the organization and the great things our members do to help their communities, states and nation. 2. Some of these Friends of CAP (to include CAP alumni) may want to become regular members in the future when their life circumstances permit them time to participate.

Proceeds earned from Friends of CAP will be used to help support cadet programs and AE/STEM. For more information, please check out frequently asked questions or email giving@capnhq.gov.

Thank you. We hope you and your families have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

CAP National Staff

Mount Vernon Superlatives

Lt. Col. Brian Porter welcomes squadron members and guests. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
Lt. Col. Brian Porter welcomes squadron members and guests. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.

Last Thursday night following both wing aircrew and squadron meetings, senior members gathered with cadets and family members at Davison Army Airfield for an awards ceremony.  We were honored to have National Capital Wing’s Vice Commander, Lt. Col. J. D. Ellis, with us as a member of the official party to present awards.

Following the arrival of the official party, Mount Vernon’s commander, Lt. Col. Brian Porter, opened the ceremony.  C/2d Lt. Michael Brokate was presented with his Billy Mitchel Award certificate for which he had been recognized in a previous meeting.  Lt. Col. Lou Volchansky was presented with CAP’s Meritorious Service Award for his time as the squadron’s commander.  C/TSgt Ryan Porter was recognized for promotion to his current rank.  C/2d Lt. Brokate took a moment to call a departing cadet, C/SSgt Adam Nazar, front and center to be recognized, and thanked him for his service to the squadron.

Prior to the ceremony, the squadron’s safety officer, Lt. Col. Terry Pricer, reminded squadron members that school is back in session and to take extra care traveling during this busy time in our area.  Following what’s been one of the hottest summers in many years, avoiding heat injury gives way to the elevated risks of distracted driving, pedestrians in school zones, and loads of school work and after school activities for our cadets.  Lt. Col. Porter closed the ceremony by thanking family members for supporting their cadets.

Lt. Col. J.D. Ellis arriving as a member of the official party. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
Lt. Col. J.D. Ellis arriving as a member of the official party. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/2d Lt. Michael receives his Billy Mitchel award certificate from Lt. Col. J.D. Ellis. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/2d Lt. Michael receives his Billy Mitchel award certificate from Lt. Col. J.D. Ellis. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/SSgt Adam Nazar is recognized prior to his departure from the squadron by C/2d Lt. Michael Brokate. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/SSgt Adam Nazar is recognized prior to his departure from the squadron by C/2d Lt. Michael Brokate. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
Lt. Col. Lou Volchansky is presented the Meritorious Service Award by Lt. Col. J.D. Ellis. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
Lt. Col. Lou Volchansky is presented the Meritorious Service Award by Lt. Col. J.D. Ellis. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
Lt. Col. Brian Porter recognizes C/TSgt Ryan Porter for his recent promotion. Photo by Lt. Col Mark Patrick.
Lt. Col. Brian Porter recognizes C/TSgt Ryan Porter for his recent promotion. Photo by Lt. Col Mark Patrick.