Another busy squadron meeting

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.

Many of the training materials for CAP emergency services missions can be found at the web site of CAP’s National Emergency Services Academy.

Lt. Col. Tom McGrath discusses the G-1000 software with other senior members. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
Lt. Col. Tom McGrath discusses the G-1000 software with other senior members. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.

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.

C/Amn Dien Dewever is promoted to his current rank. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/Amn Dien Dewever is promoted to his current rank.
Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/SSgt Nathan McHale is promoted to his current rank. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/SSgt Nathan McHale is promoted to his current rank.
Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/SSgt Ryan Porter is promoted to his current rank. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
C/SSgt Ryan Porter is promoted to his current rank.
Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
Lt. Col. and Mrs. Brokate pose with newly promoted C/2d Lt Michael Brokate. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
Lt. Col. and Mrs. Brokate pose with newly promoted C/2d Lt Michael Brokate.
Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
MVCS family members watch the squadron's awards ceremony. Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.
MVCS family members watch the squadron’s awards ceremony.
Photo by Lt. Col. Mark Patrick.

Additional photos can be found at the squadron’s Flickr site.

Wing SAREX, great training and lots of fun

For those of you who couldn’t attend the SAREX on Saturday, you can click to read the press release on the wing Facebook page.  There’s also an album of photographs highlighting the day posted there.  If you’re not following the wing’s page already, join over 6,000 people around the world who’ve learned that the National Capital Wing is worth watching.

All who attended had a training-filled, fun day.  Training in standard search and rescue, as well as with some of our new photographic equipment made for a quality, hands-on experience and lots of camaraderie to boot.

Here’s a video filmed during the SAREX courtesy of Lt. Col. Adam Booth showing a nice centerline landing back at DAA.  Stall warning horn just prior to touchdown…nice.

Garmin VIRB Camera Kit & FEMA Uploader Training

Garmin Virb Elite HD Action Camera. Photo credit: http://www.snowboardsteez.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/garmin-virb-elite-hd-action-camera-xl-e1420567030156.jpg
Garmin Virb Elite HD Action Camera. Photo credit: http://www.snowboardsteez.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/garmin-virb-elite-hd-action-camera-xl-e1420567030156.jpg

The National Headquarters Operations Directorate has begun hosting a variety of webinars to provide training to our members in need.  These webinars can be found by clicking here.

In this post, we would like to highlight the webinar and materials associated with the Garmin VIRB Camera Kit and FEMA Uploader Training available at the link.  As CAP is called upon to do this post-disaster photography mission at an increasing rate, this online training is very important for aircrews.  Lt. Col. Eric Templeton, CAP, National Emergency Services Academy Mission Aircrew School Commandant presents a webinar hosted by Mr. John Desmarais, Director of Operations, covering this important material.  Here is the webinar, it is an hour and fifteen minutes long so carve out some time to watch and absorb this very important information.  Click here for the slides used during the presentation.  Here are the FEMA Image Upload Instructions.

Almost 70% of CAP aircraft will receive these units.  If you’ll be flying with CAP, you’ll soon come into contact with this technology so we recommend spending some time with this material.

Promotions and Awards

Four MVCS cadets were recognized last Thursday evening at our squadron meeting.  Promoted to their current rank were C/A1C Nathan McHale (Hap Arnold Achievement), C/MSgt Matthew Cox (Lindbergh Achievement), C/1 Lt Anith Muthalaly (Mitchell Award).  C/1 Lt Clare Porter achieved Flight Commander and was also awarded the Ground Team Badge.

Preparing for promotion and awards.  C/A1C Nathan McHale, C/MSgt Matthew Cox, C/1 Lt Anith Muthalaly, C/1 Lt Clare Porter.  Photo by 2d Lt Mark Patrick.
Preparing for promotion and awards (not yet wearing new devices). C/A1C Nathan McHale, C/MSgt Matthew Cox, C/1 Lt Anith Muthalaly, C/1 Lt Clare Porter. Photo by 2d Lt Mark Patrick.

Safety Blitz Continues

MVCS continued with it’s annual Safety Blitz on Thursday evening with presentations on aircraft ground handling among others.  You can watch the new and improved video below by clSafety_Patch_Logoicking on this link.

We post the slides for these presentations on our Safety page, which you can reach via the Members tab on our home page.  Look for it in the drop down menu.

As the weather gets warmer, flying and other activities will increase.  Be safe out there!

Safety Blitz in Progress!

Lt. Col. Terry Pricer gives instruction on soft field takeoffs at an MVCS Safety Blitz on 26 Feb 2015.  Photo by 2d Lt. Mark Patrick
Lt. Col. Terry Pricer gives instruction on soft-field takeoffs at an MVCS Safety Blitz on 26 Feb 2015. Photo by 2d Lt. Mark Patrick.

Lt. Col. Terry Pricer kicked off the Safety Blitz at MVCS last Thursday evening with a number of presentations.

As Pricer began his presentation, he explained that CAP is improving safety instruction and awareness across the board.

Pricer’s words were substantiated in a memorandum to all CAP members published by the National Commander on February 27th.  In the memo, Maj. Gen. Joseph Vazquez explains that, “The CAP Safety Program won’t be about rules and requirements meant only to fill a square. It will be about tools to make us safer and processes to mitigate risk.”

Click here to read the memo in its entirety.

You can also learn much more about safety in the Civil Air Patrol by reviewing materials posted to the CAP Safety page.

1st Lt Joseph Gruber’s Photo of the Lunar Eclipse Goes Viral

Photo by 1st Lt Joseph Gruber
Lunar eclipse over the U.S. Air Force Memorial on 8 October 2014.
Photo by 1st Lt Joseph Gruber

Our own 1st Lt Joseph Gruber didn’t set out to do anything other than take a cool photo on 8 October 2014, but his handiwork has certainly gained attention.

Gruber’s social media posting led to the Air Force Times picking up the photo along with its parent Military Times.  Click to see the article there.  It was then picked up by CAP’s Volunteer Now.  It certainly helped that the photo was set over the Air Force Memorial.

As the importance of photography increases as part of CAP’s Emergency Services mission, it’s encouraging to see members honing their skills!  You can find plenty of information on CAP’s web site about this part of our mission.  For example, this set of training slides, or this Checklist and Operations Manual for the Nikon D90 Camerat Kit.

 

NATCAP Cadets Solo Again

NATCAP Cadets Solo. From left to right:  C/__ Miguel Saunder, Lt Col Peter Hantelman, C/Capt Thomas Murphy.  Photo courtesy of Lt Col Peter Hantelman
NATCAP Cadets Solo. From left to right: c/MSgt Miguel Saunder, Lt Col Peter Hantelman, c/Capt Thomas Murphy. Photo courtesy of Lt Col Peter Hantelman

On Saturday, 11 October, two NATCAP cadets completed solo flights for the first time since Flight Academy this past summer.  They flew out of Stafford Regional 
Airport near Fredericksburg, VA.

C/Capt Thomas Murphy from our own MVCS was joined by C/MSgt Miguel Saunders from Arlington Composite Squadron, one of our sister squadrons in the National Capital Wing.  Murphy flew his first solo flight in Bangor, Maine this past summer.

Their flight instructor, Lt Col Peter Hantelman commented on their airmanship, “They are both doing really well.”  Hantleman serves as the Operations Officer for Fairfax Composite Squadron, another NATCAP sister squadron.  As NATCAP aircraft have been relocated temporarily to Stafford Regional from their usual location at Davison Army Airfield at Ft. Belvoir, one of the advantages is being able to do multiple practice landings.

If you are interested in flight academy, you can check CAP’s National Cadet Special Activities page for more information.  This video from 2012 gives a cadet’s perspective.

Keeping those NATCAP aircraft looking spiffy!

On Saturday morning, senior members from National Capital Wing gathered at Davison Army Airfield on the National Guard ramp to apply a little bit of elbow grease to our fleet of three Cessnas.

Senior members from National Capital Wing getting down to business.  Photo by 2nd Lt. Mark Patrick.
Senior members from National Capital Wing getting down to business. Photo by 2nd Lt. Mark Patrick.

In addition to vacuuming them inside and cleaning them externally from nose to tail and wingtip to wingtip, our volunteers refreshed and reorganized the maintenance accessories in the cargo area of each aircraft.  Despite the government shutdown and some limitation on CAP activity, the care of our aircraft was not neglected!

According to CAP Regulation 66-1, “Aircraft shall be washed at least every 6 months to prevent corrosion and enhance the aircraft’s appearance.”  Saturday’s aircraft wash insured that our aircraft remain in compliance with this requirement.

In addition to maintaining our aircraft, senior members had a chance to catch up and socialize with one another, one of the highlights of participation in all CAP activities, whether related to emergency services, aerospace education, or cadet programs.

Lt. Col. Tom McGrath refreshes the aircraft service accessory kit on one of NATCAP's aircraft.  Photo by 2nd Lt. Mark Patrick.
Lt. Col. Tom McGrath refreshes the aircraft service accessory kit for one of NATCAP’s aircraft. Photo by 2nd Lt. Mark Patrick.
Lt. Col. Lou Volchansky vacuums out the cabin.  Photo by 2nd Lt. Mark Patrick.
Lt. Col. Lou Volchansky vacuums out the cabin. Photo by 2nd Lt. Mark Patrick.

 

Capt. Claude Salch makes scrubbing the top of an aircraft look like pure joy! This is how Tom Sawyer got somebody else to paint the fence. Photo by 2nd Lt. Mark Patrick.

Congratulations to MVCS Award Winners

Col Richard Cooper, former NatCap wing commander addresses the CAP memebrs gathered at the 2012 annual conference.  Photo by 1st Lt Kevin Geiss.
Col Richard Cooper, former NatCap wing commander, addresses CAP members gathered at the 2012 annual conference. Photo by 1st Lt Kevin Geiss.

On 30 March, volunteer officers and cadets from the National Capital Wing gathered at Joint Base Andrews, Md. for the NatCap Wing annual conference and later at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, D.C. for the annual banquet.  In addition to the NatCap senior leaders, also in attendance were Brig Gen Joseph Vazquez, CAP national vice commander and Col Larry Ragland, Middle East Region Commander.  Photos from the event are on the Wing Facebook page.

2012 NatCap Wing level awards were:

Safety Officer of the Year                   Lt Col Louis Volchansky

Property Manager of the Year           Maj Hagop Avedissian

Public Affairs Officer of the Year      2d Lt Kevin Geiss

Squadron of Merit                             Mount Vernon Composite Squadron

Cadet NCO of the Year                     C/SMSgt Hunter Harlow

Cadet of the Year                              Cadet Maj Christopher Fry

 

Additional awards presented to MVCS members were as follows:

 

Commander’s Commendations

C/Maj Christopher A. Fry, Cadet of the Year

C/CMSgt Jack H. Wilson, ground team support

Lt Col Thomas R. McGrath, Squadron Personnel Officer

Capt Claude D. Salch, Squadron Administrative Officer

Lt Col Kenneth W. McKinley, Squadron Emergency Services Officer

Maj Hagop A. Avedissian, Squadron Logistics Officer

Lt Col Raymond L. Greene, Squadron Aerospace Education Officer

2d Lt John Fornshell, Squadron Aerospace Education Officer for Cadets

Lt Col Louis R. Volchansky, Squadron Safety Officer

1st Lt Kevin T. Geiss, Squadron Public Affairs Officer

Lt Col Jeffrey F. Geller, Deputy Commander for Seniors

Maj William C. Teng, Squadron Chaplain

1st Lt Joseph R. Gruber, Squadron Communications Officer

C/Maj Joseph L. Frech, dedication and selfless service to success of DC045 cadet program

1st Lt Kevin T. Geiss, Inauguration support

C/CMSgt Thomas Murphy, Color Guard team commander

 

Achievement Awards

C/SMSgt Hunter Harlow, Cadet NCO of the Year

C/Amn Joseph Abbe, Inauguration support

C/SMSgt Gabriel Abbe, Inauguration support

C/A1C Dylan Sjostrom, Inauguration support

C/SSgt Aysia Moss, Inauguration support

2d Lt Samuel Abbe, Inauguration support

SM Carla Moss, Inauguration support

C/MSgt Benjamin Geiss, Inauguration support

Lt Col Jeff Geller, Inauguration support

C/SMSgt Gabriel Abbe, Cyber Patriot

C/Amn Joseph C. Abbe, Cyber Patriot

C/MSgt Benjamin S. Geiss, Cyber Patriot

C/Amn Austin T. Croy, Cyber Patriot

C/CMSgt Thomas M. Murphy, Cyber Patriot

C/2d Lt James A. Hildebrand, Cyber Patriot

C/Maj Christopher A. Fry, Cyber Patriot

2d Lt Karen Maguyon, Color Guard escort

2d Lt Raymond Ruscoe, Color Guard Senior Advisor

2s Lt John Fornshell, Color Guard escort

C/A1C Dylan Sjostrom, Color Guard member

C/Amn Mary Ruscoe, Color Guard member

C/A1C Nebay Haile, Color Guard member

C/CMSgt Hunter Harlow, Color Guard member

 

Homeland Security Ribbons

Lt Col Jeff Geller

Maj John Held

Lt Col Thomas McGrath

Lt Col Kenneth McKinley

Maj James Rodriquez

Capt Claude Salch

 

Disaster Relief Ribbon with “V” device

Lt Col Laird Stanton

1st Lt Kevin Geiss

Lt Col Jeff Geller

Lt Col Thomas McGrath

Lt Col Kenneth McKinley

2d Lt Mark Patrick

Maj James Rodriguez

Capt Claude Salch

 

Find Ribbons

Lt Col Jeff Geller

2d Lt Susan Harbowy

Maj John Held

Lt Col Thomas McGrath

Capt Claude Salch

Lt Col Louis Volchansky

 

Cadet Orientation Pilot Ribbons

Lt Col Jeff Geller

Maj John Held

Lt Col Thomas McGrath

Lt Col Lou Volchansky

1st Lt Maxwell Phillips

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF THE AWARD WINNERS!!!