Last Thursday night Lt. Col. Tom McGrath presided at our regular squadron meeting. Lt. Col. Terry Pricer presented a safety brief on seasonal topics. McGrath presented an aerospace education video covering the basic aerodynamics concepts of lift, weight, thrust, and drag. Here is that video (approximately 30 minutes) if you missed the meeting, or are interested:
A number of new senior attendees were introduced and McGrath convened a question and answer session following the training presentations to answer any questions prospective members might have about CAP.
Our cadets then formed for a promotion and awards ceremony presided over by Capt. Joseph Murphy.
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. [Update: the next planned rocketry outing is expected to be November 4, 2017.]
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last Thursday night, MVCS gathered for its first meeting with its new commanding officer, Lt. Col. Brian “Irish” Porter. Porter delivered opening remarks and then the senior members immediately split up into groups for emergency services training. Lt. Col. Lou Volchansky worked with a group on Mission Observer training while Lt. Col. Adam Booth took another group aside to cover Mission Scanner training. Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Tom McGrath used a G-1000 simulator on his tablet to train a third group of pilots on the flight planning features of the Garmin software installed in the National Capital Wing’s Cessna 182 aircraft.
If you’ve never flown in one of our Cessnas, you might enjoy a video by a member of CAP’s Missouri Wing. The member was on his first flight as a Mission Scanner. The crew is flying a Cessna 172 on a training mission in their normal area of operations. Although not conducting traditional search and rescue maneuvers, the view from the backseat, radio chatter, and a couple of takeoffs and landings gives one a feel for flight operations in CAP aircraft. Filmed in the fall of 2013, the video is just under 17 minutes in length. Check it out.
Following emergency services training, Mount Vernon cadets joined the senior members for safety training. Lt. Col. Terry Pricer discussed hurricanes, heat, and humidity, insuring that squadron members are prepared for some of the risks common to the summer season in our area of operations. Pricer also provided an update to a previous lecture topic, the Zika Virus, advising members that the latest and greatest information could be found on the Center for Disease Control’s website. Cadets asked questions about heat injuries as they prepare to participate in many of CAP’s summer training opportunities which occur when the weather is the warmest.
With safety training complete, the cadets stood in formation in front of their families for an awards ceremony. Lt. Col. Porter presided over the ceremony assisted by C/Capt Clare Porter. C/Amn Dien Dewever was awarded the Curry Achievement. C/SSgts Nathan McHale and Ryan Porter were presented the Wright Brothers Award. C/SSgt Porter also received the Basic Ground Team Badge. C/2d Lt Michael Brokate was presented with the Billy Mitchel Award, which accompanies the transition from cadet senior non-commissioned officer to officer rank. Finally, Lieutenant Colonel Brokate, U.S. Army, presented certificates of appreciation to two cadets for their assistance with a Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) dining in. A dining in is a formal military ceremony for members of a company or other unit, which includes a dinner, drinking, and other events to foster camaraderie and esprit de corps. Brokate also presented DLA “challenge coins” to the cadets. He informed the assembled squadron members and their families of the significance of the challenge coin, the history of which can be traced back to the time of the Roman Empire.
Col. Bruce Heinlein was our squadron’s guest of honor at Thursday’s cadet meeting during which three awardees were recognized.
Cadet Capt. Clare Porter received the Earhart Award which marks the transition of the cadet from the command phase to the executive phase of the cadet officer corps. Porter’s promotion to cadet captain accompanies this award. Perhaps no name is as symbolic of aerospace achievement as Amelia Earhart. In 1928, she became the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air. She disappeared in 1937 near Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean while trying to circumnavigate the world in a twin engine Lockheed Electra. Her disappearance is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the 20th century.
Cadet Sr. Airman Ryan Porter was awarded the Mary Feik Achievement, CAP’s third achievement, which is accompanied by promotion to cadet senior airman. Mary Feik is an amazing aviator whose contributions to CAP are legendary. More on her background was covered in a recent post on our site, which includes an informative video produced by another CAP unit.
Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Michael Brokate received the Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA) NCO of the Year Award. We were honored to have the Command Chief of the National Capital Wing, Chief Master Sergeant Denny Orcutt, make this presentation. In 1961, four men established AFSA to become a beacon for advocating quality of life concerns affecting the Air Force Enlisted Corps. AFSA now has seven divisions and 130 chapters across the globe.
Following the presentation of awards, Col. Heinlein, the NATCAP Wing commander and a former commander of Mount Vernon Composite Squadron, made remarks to the cadet formation and their guests in attendance. Afterward, the cadets were dismissed to enjoy refreshments with one another and their families. Finally, Col. Heinlein and CMSgt. Orcutt held separate meetings with cadet officers and NCOs to field questions and discuss current CAP issues.
If you’re new to CAP, or if you’re just watching from the sidelines, and you’ve never heard of Col. Mary Feik, watch this and be inspired.
This video is provided by Lt. Col. Mike Cramer, Civil Air Patrol, Colorado Springs Cadet Squadron, Group 3, Colorado Wing, Rocky Mountain Region. Many thanks to the Colorado Wing for putting this video in the public domain. From its YouTube location, the following text is provided:
“Mary S. Feik is an aviation engineer, master mechanic, pilot, instructor and aircraft restorer. She has received many awards and honors in her storied career and is a colonel in the Civil Air Patrol.
Col. Mary Feik is a national treasure who has the biggest heart we know. She is 100 percent devoted to CAP and every cadet who has worn and continues to wear the uniform. She has the solid gold Presidential pin to prove it! Every year she tries to visit as many cadets as she can to share her amazing story. For those who have not had the honor and privilege to meet her and receive a personally autographed Feik achievement certificate, this video is the next best thing. She’ll tell you to follow her dad’s advice, ‘Aim high and follow your dreams … because it worked for me!’
Of course, this movie would not have been possible without the hundreds of hours volunteered by our own CAP senior member and movie producer, Ed Flanagan. Ed is the owner and producer of the Manitou Motion Picture Co. in Colorado Springs. He is a first-class guy who delivered a first-class movie!”
On Thursday night, C/2d Lt Harrison Cox and C/Amn Peyton Burns were promoted to their current ranks. The promotion to C/2d Lt accompanies the Billy Mitchell Award, while the promotion to C/Amn comes with earning the Curry Achievement. Congratulations to our squadronmates on a job extremely well done.