July/Aug 2012 Cadet Orientation Flights

One of the more anticipated activities for CAP cadets is the orientation flight (O-Flight).  Numerous O-Flights were conducted this summer.  Some pictures are below.  You may view others by clicking here.

The cadet O-Flight program shares with cadets the thrill of flying. Every CAP cadet under age 18 is eligible for five flights in a powered aircraft (usually a single-engine Cessna).

NatCap Wing O-Flights originate from Davison Army Airfield at Ft Belvoir, Va.  For directions to the DAA operations building, please click here.

For more information on the cadet O-Flight program, please click here.

Cadets should ask their squadron leaders about scheduling their O-Flights.

NatCap Wing O-Flight 2012.  Photo by 2d Lt Kevin Geiss.
C/A1C Kelia Aardema prepares to depart on her first orientation flight. Photo by 2d Lt Kevin Geiss.
NatCap Wing O-Flight 2012.  Photo by 2d Lt Kevin Geiss.
Lt Col Tom McGrath discusses pre-flight checks with C/TSgt Thomas Murphy and C/CMSgt Kyle Stefanek. Photo by 2d Lt Kevin Geiss.
Lt Col Jeff Geller reviews pre-flight items with C/SSgt Benjamin Geiss and Cadet Dylan Sjostrom. Photo by 2d Lt Kevin Geiss.







Tri-Wing Encampment 2012

Seventeen cadets from the National Capital Wing departed from Bolling AFB on July 8 for the Tri-Wing Encampment 2012 at Camp Fretterd, Md.

You can view pictures and reports on the encampment website.  To visit the website click here.

NatCap cadets head to Tri-Wing Encampment 2012_a
NatCap cadets head to Tri-Wing Encampment 2012. Photo by 2d Lt Kevin Geiss.










Cadet earns highest CAP honor

Maj. Gen. Darren W. McDew presents the General Carl A. Spaatz Award to C/Col William "Billy" Vician at a ceremony on June 7, 2012. Photo by 2d Lt Kevin Geiss.

Maj. Gen. Darren W. McDew, commander of the Air Force District of Washington, presented to Cadet Colonel William “Billy” Vician the General Carl A. Spaatz Award on June 7 during a ceremony at Davison Army Airfield, Ft. Belvoir, Va. More than fifty CAP cadets, volunteer officers, friends and family were on hand to share this exciting event with C/Col Vician.

The General Carl A. Spaatz Award is CAP’s highest cadet honor. It is presented to cadets who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, character, fitness, and aerospace education.

Cadets qualify for this prestigious award after devoting an average of five years to progress through sixteen achievements in the CAP Cadet Program. As the final step a cadet must complete a rigorous four-part exam consisting of a challenging physical fitness test, an essay exam testing their moral reasoning, a comprehensive written exam on leadership, and a comprehensive written exam on aerospace education.

C/Col Vician is the current cadet commander for the Mount Vernon Composite Squadron located at Davison. C/Col Vician is the first cadet of the National Capital Wing to earn the award since 2008. Fewer than 2,000 cadets have earned the Award since its inception in 1964. C/Col Vician is number 1830.

C/Col Vician also received a coin from The Spaatz Association to commemorate the award. The Spaatz Association is a non-profit organization for cadet recipients of the General Carl A. Spaatz Award. Lt Col J.D. Ellis, Director of Cadet Programs for National Capital Wing, presentated on behalf of the association.



For more information on the Civil Air Patrol’s Spaatz award click here.

For more information on The Spaatz Association click here.


Cadets tour local U.S. Army helicopter units

C/SMSgt Nathaniel Johnston of the Mount Vernon Composite Squadron inside a Lakota. Photo by 2d Lt Kevin Geiss.



On Saturday, June 9, cadets from the Mount Vernon Composite Squadron toured various helicopters stationed at Davison Army Airfield, Ft. Belvoir, Va. The helicopters are part of District of Columbia Army National Guard units located at Davison including the 121st Medical Company and the 1/224th Security and Support Detachment.



Capt. Matt Nowlin of the 121st started the day with a discussion of his unit mission and described to the cadets how to become an Army pilot.  He shared some of his many experiences as a helicopter pilot; his enthusiasm and love for flying were clearly evident during his remarks.


C/SSgt Tom Murphy looks over a medevac Lakota. Photo by 2d Lt Kevin Geiss.



The cadets saw four different helicopter types stationed at the airfield. These were the new UH-72A Lakota helicopters configured for medevac missions, two Lakotas outfitted for security and support missions, an OH-58 Kiowa, and a UH-60 Blackhawk.



Staff Sgt. Eric Stith of the 1/224th walked the cadets through the hangars and onto the flight line to get a close up view of the aircraft. The cadets asked questions of the pilots and other soldiers about the aircraft and even had the chance to experience the pilot seat.


MVCS cadets talk with a Blackhawk pilot. Photo by 2d Lt Kevin Geiss.







Tragic Loss

I am saddened to report the loss of LtCol Paul R. Gardella on Memorial Day as a result of a tragic aviation accident.  Paul was a former member and Commander of our Squadron.  He loved and strongly supported aviation as much as he did the Civil Air Patrol.  Please join me in extending our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.  Capt John Held

Danish Emergency Management Presentation to National Capital Wing


Lt Col Per Rasmussen of the Danish Ministry of Defence speaks with Lt Col JD Ellis of the National Capital Wing. Photo by 2d Lt Kevin Geiss.

The National Capital (NatCap) Wing held its annual conference on 17 March at the Air National Guard Readiness Center on Joint Base Andrews, Md.  About 100 members (including more than 20 cadets) of NatCap attended this year’s conference.

CAP volunteer officers provided presentations on a number of topics including professional development, aircraft safety, chaplain’s affairs, communications equipment, and cadet programs.  These topics were available to cadets and volunteer officers in parallel sessions throughout the day.

A special guest, Lt Col Per Rasmussen, gave one of the feature presentations.  Lt Col Rasmussen serves as the Assistant Defense, Military, Naval, and Air Attaché for the Embassy of Denmark in Washington, D.C.  His presentation focused on the Danish Home Guard and the Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), both of which are part of the Department of Emergency Planning in the Danish Ministry of Defence.

 “Meeting people you like and working alongside others with whom you have something in common – that keeps people engaged”

The Danish Home Guard is comparable to the National Guard in the United States.  The Home Guard includes about 50,000 volunteers – a size comparable to CAP in the United States – and integrates army, navy, air force, and infrastructure specific elements for a coordinated response to a variety of operations.

The Home Guard provides Danish citizens an opportunity to participate in the defense and support of their homeland.  Among their many activities, the Home Guard may be activated to provide assistance to the police during national disasters or search and rescue operations.

A key characteristic of the Home Guard is the local presence of volunteers throughout the nation.  This distributed force contributes to the combined preparedness of their society.  The infrastructure element of the Home Guard assists in protection of important structures, such as railroads, electric power grids, and telephone networks.

Home Guard volunteers display a high degree of dedication and pride in their service.  Lt Col Rasmussen indicated that it is not uncommon for an individual that is a private pilot to fly unreimbursed missions in his or her own Cessna 172 in support of Home Guard activities.

Col Richard Cooper, commander of NatCap Wing, was in attendance and said, “I liked how the colonel described the integration of volunteers with the military to support civilian search and rescue operations.”

Lt Col Rasmussen summarized one of the reasons Danish citizens continue to volunteer their time without pay to be a part of national emergency response activities.  “Meeting people you like and working alongside others with whom you have something in common – that keeps people engaged,” he said.  Those of us in CAP can certainly relate to that.

“Prevention is a part of all of our planning.  It is better to prevent the fire than to have to respond to it,” said Lt Col Rasmussen.


Lt Col Per Rasmussen gives a presentation to the National Capital Wing on emergency management in the country of Denmark. Photo by 2d Lt Kevin Geiss.

Among its many missions, the DEMA and its over 1500 personnel manage the Danish National Fire and Rescue Service.  Full-time employees are integrated with volunteers to assist local fire and rescue services, police and other authorities.  The DEMA staff is of particular importance in the case of major or prolonged incidents that require substantial manpower or specialized equipment.

The DEMA responds to natural or man-made disasters, whether in the homeland or in an international setting.  The DEMA has been involved in 75 major operations since the year 2000 to include foreign humanitarian support.

Lt Col Rasmussen provided some perspective on the scale of emergency management challenges in Denmark.  The country of Denmark is about the size of the state of Maryland in both land area and population (just over 5.5 million people).  Emergency preparedness and planning are major responsibilities of DEMA, which leads national campaigns to inform Danish citizens about certain types of emergencies. “Prevention is a part of all of our planning.  It is better to prevent the fire than to have to respond to it,” said Lt Col Rasmussen.

After hearing this presentation, CAP volunteer officer Mike Strickland of the Fairfax Composite Squadron said, “I found it interesting to see the differences in what a smaller country has done to incorporate their emergency preparedness functions with their local governmental authorities compared to a large country like ours that addresses many similar emergency and disaster situations.”


For more about the Danish Department of Emergency Planning, please visit their website –



2012 National Capital Wing Conference and Annual Awards Banquet

Col Richard Cooper addresses members of the National Capital Wing during their annual conference held on March 17, 2012, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Photo by 2d Lt Kevin Geiss.

On March 17, the National Capital Wing hosted its annual conference and awards banquet.

The conference was held in the Air National Guard Readiness Center at Joint Base Andrews, Md.  The conference agenda included a wing update from the commander, wing aircrew meeting, cadet summit, communications training, professional development, logistics traiing, and a guest speaker from the Embassy of Denmark.

The banquet was held in the Bolling Club at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, D.C.  Col Richard Cooper presented a number of major wing awards to cadets and officers.  The guests were treated to two excellent guest speakers: Mr. Jim Roberts, and Mr. Larry Tracy.  The U.S. Air Force Band’s rock group, Max Impact, provided the evening’s musical entertainment.  Making the evening extra special were the many door prizes and visits to the grog bowl.

Thanks to all wing members who worked so hard to make this year’s events so enjoyable.  Hope to see everyone again next year!

Pictures from the day’s events are located on our Photos Page.



NatCap Wing Earns Awards from CAP Middle East Region

Here are the 2011 MER Annual Award Winners from the National Capital Wing:


Brewer Award (Cadet Category): C/Lt Col Michael Poussard

Brewer Award (Senior Category): 2d Lt Samuel Abbe

Cadet NCO of the Year: C/CMSgt Stephon Tonko

Jack Sorenson Cadet Programs Officer: Lt Col JD Ellis

DDR Wing: National Capital Wing


Special congratulations to Mount Vernon Composite Squadron’s own 2d Lt Samuel Abbe.  2d Lt Abbe is a cadet parent as well as a volunteer officer working in cadet programs.

Established 31 Dec 1959, the Brewer award serves as a memorial to Mr. Frank G. Brewer, Sr. and his lifelong interest in aviation, youth, and education. Recognition is given to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions, out of selfless devotion, to the advancement of youth in aerospace activities. Nominees are evaluated on CAP program support, significance of accomplishment, community involvement, and support of all facets of the aerospace education mission.




February 2012 MVCS Promotions and Awards

Thursday evening was a big night for the Mount Vernon Composite Squadron.  In all, there were 7 promotions and 3 awards presentated.  Each presentation reflects greatly upon the commitment to excellence on the part of our cadets.


Cadet promotions were as follows:

C/A1C Micah Conner

C/A1C Adam Conner

C/A1C Jason Arquette

C/SrA Tom Murphy

C/MSgt Gabe Abbe

C/TSgt Hunter Harlow

C/CMSgt Kyle Stefanek


Two cadets earned CAP milestone awards:

C/2d Lt Paul MacGregor was presented with the General Billy Mitchell Award.

C/Lt Col William Vician received the General Ira C. Eaker Award.

Col William P. Rushing III (USAF retired) was on hand to make the presentation to C/Lt Col Vician.  Col Rushing is a a former deputy commander of cadets and is currently a patron member of the CAP.

C/Lt Col Vician was also presented the Air Force Association’s (AFA) squadron cadet of the year award.  Col Rushing presented the award to Vician on behalf of AFA.


CONGRATULATIONS to each of these cadets for a job well done!


February 2012 MVCS promotions. Left to right -- top row, C/A1C Jason Arquette, C/A1C Micah Conner; second row, C/A1C Adam Conner, C/TSgt Hunter Harlow; third row, C/SrA Tom Murphy, C/MSgt Gabe Abbe; bottom, C/CMSgt Kyle Stefanek. Photo by SM Kevin Geiss


C/2d Lt Paul MacGregor is presented the General Billy Mitchell Award by CAP Col Richard Cooper. Photo by SM Kevin Geiss
Col William P. Rushing III (USAF retired) presents the General Ira C. Eaker Award to C/Lt Col WIlliam VIcian. Photo by SM Kevin Geiss