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.

Ever Wonder What it Would be Like to Fly an F-1 Mirage?

[Updated March 5, 2015]  At MVCS’s meeting last Thursday night, in addition to an action-packed evening of safety training, awards and promotions, squadron cadets and senior members were treated to a special presentation.

Samer Al Rawi, former F-1 Mirage pilot with the Iraqi Air Force, gives a presentation on air combat maneuvers on 26 Feb 2015 to MVCS cadets and senior members.  Photo by 2d Lt. Mark Patrick.
Samer Al Rawi, former F-1 Mirage pilot with the Iraqi Air Force, gives a presentation on air combat maneuvers on 26 Feb 2015 to MVCS cadets and senior members. Photo by 2d Lt. Mark Patrick.

Samer Al Rawi flew the Mirage F-1 as a pilot with the Iraqi Air Force.  Mr. Al Rawi presented a simulated briefing for an air combat maneuvers training flight.  His son Mustafa served as a “simulated wing man” as he used training aids to explain the maneuvers that would be conducted on the mission.

Mustafa Al Rawi looks on as his father Samer Al Rawi demonstrates and aerial maneuver as part of his briefing.  Photo by 2d Lt. Mark Patrick.
Mustafa Al Rawi looks on as his father Samer Al Rawi demonstrates an aerial maneuver as part of his briefing. Photo by 2d Lt. Mark Patrick.

Using pictures from his career as a pilot, he exposed the cadets and senior members not only to a small slice of life as a Mirage pilot, but to how he was sent to France for training.  It was not lost on the audience that Mr. Al Rawi was speaking a third language from his native tongue, having to study to fly the Mirage in French, and now giving a presentation in English.

As part of his presentation, Al Rawi discussed an in-flight mishap that occurred which led to the jettison of his aircraft’s canopy during an air combat maneuvers training flight.  Sustaining an injury which left him flying with one eye, he was also challenged with hydraulic failure to the aircraft’s braking system.  Normally, with brake failure, procedures called for the use of a net barrier to arrest the jet’s landing.  However, with no canopy, this would endanger the pilot and recovery would be limited to parking brake use.  As if these challenges were not enough, following an “uneventful landing,” when ground personnel attempted to insert the safety pin into the ejection seat to permit pilot egress from the cockpit with no risk of activating the lower ejection seat handle, the seat had moved causing a misalignment in the holes and preventing safety pin insertion.  Clearing ground personnel from the area, Al Rawi was able to carefully and safely egress without incident.

The MVCS commander, Lt. Col. Lou Volchansky, presented a NATCAP wing patch as thank you memento to Mr. Al Rawi for sharing his presentation with the squadron.

Samer Al Rawi posing with an Iraqi F-1 Mirage during his time of service with the Iraqi Air Force.  Photo contributed by Samer Al Rawi and used by permission.
Samer Al Rawi posing with an Iraqi F-1 Mirage during his time of service with the Iraqi Air Force. Photo contributed by Samer Al Rawi and used by permission.