November 24, 2007

The 66th....er....65th Anniversary book.

You guys remember that 65th anniversary book that was offered 2 years ago? How many of you actually bought one? I'll raise my hand for that one. Well, after 2 years of waiting for the 65th Anniversary book to come out, I finally got my copy. It came in the mail a couple days ago; and I've been reading it, re-reading it and picking it apart since then.

Firstly, this was a great attempt; and the results are nothing to dismiss either. It has a general history of the CAP, plus photos and information on all of CAP's doings from 1941 to time of publication. I especially liked the back where it had images of all the aircraft that we have used, the uniforms we have worn (although I thought that section would be much longer) and a brief overview of how the organization works. It's an excellent "layman's guide to the Civil Air Patrol" if there ever was one.

But it does seem a bit too short. One would think that within 65 years of service there would be a lot more information and antic dotes. The Coastal Patrol section is nearly 1/2 the book. Don't get me wrong, it's important, but it's been covered so much that I want more about the post-war period.

All in all, I would say that it is an excellent addition to a squadron library; and also for those obsessed with CAP (such as myself). It could easily be put out on tables at recruiting events. Having people flip through it to see the grand history of CAP and some great images from it too would be immensely helpful. If you have the money, I say buy it!

One other thing...Turn to pg 78, look down at the bottom picture and tell me you're not jealous.
(I'll scan and post as soon as I can.)

November 20, 2007

These Things We Do...

As has become a bit of a recurring theme around here, another CAPTalk thread is the genesis of this post. What do we, the volunteer membership get out of Civil Air Patrol? I responded in the thread the Leadership experience. However, these are just the quantitative things that we see on a regular basis.

In addition to my CAP responsibilities, I am a full time college student; and work as a Resident Assistant in the Freshman dorm. This past weekend, a colleague and friend of mine passed away in his sleep. The cause of death is still unknown; as the family has not released that information, as is their right. I was alerted to this crisis when a friend of mine called me and asked why an ambulance was outside my building. The resident hall I live in is usually bustling with activity; something that one learns to tune out. I had no idea that EMTs were in my building, and the hall right across from mine. I hung up the phone and went into the main lobby to find a public safety officer. I ask what's going on and that's when I got the above news. Naturally, I jumped into response mode. The officer gave me the job of crowd control; and I did it. I asked what I should say, and was told. That was the rest of my day until we gathered the residents of my building to announce the news.

This is not a self-aggrandizing post. It is meant to show that some things we get from our Civil Air Patrol experience is not quantitative; or something that is easy to count. Some of the best things that come from our experiences here is what happened to me. I can say that CAP gave me strength, calmness under pressure, and the ability to deal with a crisis effectively and professionally. With emergencies my specialty, I knew how to react, what to say and what not to when many of my colleagues were uncomfortable an unsure about the above. One never knows what their CAP service has given them until events like the above happen. I feel that it is important to remember this every time you re-up for another year.

I also ask that you keep this family in your thoughts, and if you are the praying type, your prayers as well.

November 1, 2007

Commissioning


Personal Feelings aside, a recent CAPTalk thread has opened up debate on weather or not CAP officers are/should be commissioned. Usually, the President or Governor of a state will commission officers. As cited in the thread, the idea of the President commissioning all officers in the U.S. Armed Forces is rather new, and comes out of World War II. However, the President does not 'commission' CAP officers. Rather, they are appointed by the Secretary of the Air Force. Could CAP better accomplish it's missions if the officers were in fact commissioned by the President or other authority?

Firstly, we should acknowledge that a commission would imply authority. Right now, the enisted and subordinate grades are not required to render salute to a CAP officer (although most do); however CAP officers are required to do so to superior grades. Would not a commission warrant a salute from subordinates? I believe that it would require them to regardless of branch. Secondly, it raises the issue of squadrons commanded by a 1st Lieutenant, with majors and Lt. Colonels in them. Although this could turn into a minor point, a commission would imply that the highest ranking officer assume command. Additionally, a commission might place CAP under the auspices of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

However, with CAP assuming more missions alongside the Air Force and other military branches, the idea of a commission may be worth considering. My wing is an equal player in air operations for our state: sitting alongside and equal to the Air National Guard, and Army National Guard Aviation units. If Maj. Gen. Tuxill is to be believed (and I have no reason to think he is lying), then my wing at least will have a greater role to play in Maryland's homeland security mission. So then, wouldn't a commission be a beneficial thing for members who work side-by-side with the Real Military?

I believe the answer to this question to be yes, if only because it would allow us to better integrate us into the real forces. With our expanding mission here in Maryland, we are becoming highly visible in the greater military community. True, many know who we are now, but many others do not. It will become hard to justify men and women running around with bars who are not commissioned. It's not fair to the officers who had to earn their bars.

I should be clear about this point, however. I do not think that a simple commissioning is fair either without a major overhaul of the requirements and training to be an officer. (See "Expertise, Responsibility, Corporatess") A major overhaul of our PD system at the initial levels would be needed before any sort of commissioning could be considered. In this post I will not venture to offer a solution to this problem, as it is not the point of this article.

Integration into the real military is a very real thing right now. What is to be said of us; members who call themselves officers but have no commission? Even state guard officers have a commission: the governor of their state is the promoting authority in this case. Why, then, should the Civil Air Patrol limit itself to simple appointments? I believe that a commission, with proper qualifications to attain one, is an integral part of CAP moving forward. Perhaps a compromise could be considered: the governors of the states that the wings serve could commission the CAP officers within that state. It would be a reversion to the Civil War model of regiments like the 54th Massachusett's or the 23rd New Jersey. However, the solution to modern problems can often be found in the past.


October 30, 2007

One More Time for Aerial Firefighting: CAP Activated

I was pleased to log onto CAPBlog today and see that CAWG has been activated to fly reconnaissance flights in support of the wildfires. This is exactly in the way that we should be involved (at least in our present condition).

Yesterday, I was watching the news and heard that these fires were "Mostly Contained", which for me means that it's time for our boots and wings to mobilize. Now is the time for our presence to be known, we can certainly be of help now.

October 27, 2007

The New C.A.P; "One Heck of a Resource"


For my fiftieth post, I decided to report on the Maryland Wing Conference, which was today. I attended at the request of my squadron commander, as he could not attend and wanted a representative of the squadron there. I did something similar last year, where I filled in for him at a Commander's Call. This year, I knew that it would require a hotel stay, and the commander put me up for the night.

Needless to say, it was my first wing conference, and I was incredibly excited to attend. I was the only representative from my squadron, which made for some interesting moments. Breakfast was promptly at 8:00, and it was not a good one either. Some fruit (which for all intents and purposes was actually pretty good), and some rather delicious coffee. Maybe it's just me, but I thought that cereals and eggs were part of buffet breakfasts. After letting us mingle for about an hour, the Vice Wing Commander got up and introduced everyone, including the Wing Commander; Colonel Weiss. He gave a report on the state of the wing. A no-nonsense report card about the training goals met and not met the past year was presented. I am happy to say that MDWG met about 60% of our goals, and exceeded quite a few of those. Not a great report, but since it was the first year they used it, I would say things went well enough. There was a presentation by a representative from National, which was pretty much stuff that those of us on the great web already knew. There was also a safety lecture on new policies that are going to be enacted.

Then we split up into individual lectures. I attended one given by the IG; on how to make your squadron ready for inspections, and another on Ground Operations and Emergency Services. I was pleased to hear the group Ground Operations Officer comment on the state of medical training in CAP, and encouraging all of us to seek higher training from an approved class. We then broke for lunch, a number of awards were handed out, and then we got back to training sessions. I went to one on Flight Operations, which was rather enlightening and I think that lecture alone will be most beneficial in the times to come. Finally, I went to one on Logistics. This was went right over my head with all the forms that need to be filled out, and so I must admit that I don't think it'll be of much benefit in the long run.

We broke that night to get ready for the Military Ball. I went back and grabbed my service coat and tie. I was ready ahead of time, and arrived a few minutes early. Since I was representing the Squadron Commander, I was invited to the Commander's reception. It was nice (free soda, wine and beer for those old enough to drink it - I had a beer, and yes I'm 21) and gave me the chance to mingle with some of my wing's big-wigs. In attendance too were the Maryland Adjutant General, the Adjutant General for the Army, the Adjutant General for Air, and a Commanding Officer of one of Maryland's Air National Guard Squadrons. Although I didn't get to talk with them one on one, they were very nice and cordial.

About two hours later, as dinner was being served to the whole congregation, Colonel Weiss stepped up and made a few remarks. For all intents and purposes, it was the same as the State of the Wing speech from earlier in the day; but more dramatic and easier to listen to. He introduced Colonel Walling, the Region Commander. She oulined her new C.A.P. initiative: Connected, Available, Professional. In short, she said that the Middle East Region was connected with those in charge, Available to go on missions, and perform them in a Professional way. She ended with mild applause and everyone stood in respect.

Then came the best part of the night. The distinguished guest, Major General Bruce Tuxill, Maryland Adjutant General rose to give his speech. "A General is not a good General" he said "If he, or she, does not use every available resource- and Civil Air Patrol is one heck of a resource". When he uttered those words, the entire room broke out into thunderous applause. Everyone stood up, and there were even a few whistles. You know, with all the crap that has been going on in CAP recently, it was good to hear an Air Force General talk that way about the CAP. He went on to say that CAP had been given an equal seat in Maryland's Emergency Services and Military table. Specifically, we're now an equal player in the state's Joint Air Taskforce. Furthermore, when they look at the missions they are asked to perform, more often than not "Civil Air Patrol is right for the mission". In closing, he finished by saying that he would continue to use the CAP whenever he could. He finished with the biggest applause of the night.

Overall, I must say that it was a great time. I learned a lot, and for every lecture time I was forced to choose between at least 2 classes to attend. The only regret is that I did not get to present my squadron's guidon to the Commander during the ceremony; they handed it off to another cadet and senior. However, hearing the above comments by General Tuxill were certainly worth it.

October 25, 2007

Civil Air Patrol and Firefighting; Revisited

Back in July, I blogged about the use of Civil Air Patrol assets and forest fires. With the recent inferno that has become southern California, the topic has once again been revisited by Midway Six. I have since changed my stance on this topic, Although I believe CAP can become involved in forest fires, it cannot be until the fire is out, and the recovery process begins.

Theoretically, the CAP does have assets that could be of use. Aircraft are used as ‘spotters’, to guide in the air attack planes, and telling them when to drop their payloads. CAP aircraft could easily be used in that kind of support role carrying local forestry officials and having them direct the tankers. This is a useless argument, however. Most (if not all) states either own or contract out aircraft to do just that.

Yet, I believe that CAP would be most useful through are our SDIS and ARCHER capabilities. CAP could most effectively be utilized in post-incident surveillance of the damage to aide the resulting recovery efforts. The Ground Teams could easily be used to help persons gather what belongings are left and begin to pick up their lives. They could also be of use helping to locate the remains of the missing. I would be wary about deploying a CAP Ground Team if the blaze is still going on. I saw a National Geographic documentary recently on smoke jumpers. In it, they described how a fire could still spring up in a burnt-out area even well after the main fire passed through the area. Without supplemental training, I don't think this is a place for our Ground Teams.

One other thing to consider: forest fire fighting is a huge business in Southern California. There is really no way a non-profit organization with cheap aircraft is going to be used in this type of service there. The contractors would never allow it.

I know that I share Midway Six’s feelings of “throw me in the game, coach!”, but the reality is that we can’t help at this point. When all is said and done, CAP can help. But it can’t be done until the initial response process is completed. CAP should be the Federal aerial firefighting agency, but that was not the course we took back in 1948. However, CAP could become a great post-incident resource to those agencies that do respond. If we want to go in that direction, then it should be pursued with all due vigilance.

October 20, 2007

CAP Jr.


From Flying Minutemen, comes an interesting tale. CAP is expanding it's cadet program to include younger persons below the age of 12. I'm not going to regurgitate what's already stated there, but I will voice my own personal opinion on the matter. Firstly, we should take away a point or two:

  • It is a program offered at elementary schools, and not as a separate entity within squadrons. In this way, it's similar to the JROTC program, only at a lower level of education.
  • It maintains CAP's mission of Character development, Aerospace Education and Physical Fitness training, but moves it from an extra-curricular activity to an intra-curricular one.
  • It apparently is not military styled

I think it's a good idea. Although it may not seem it, I am a Cadet Programs guy, and many a time have I been forced to tell a young kid he or she couldn't join because of their age. As the Flying Minuteman said, it is another level in which our third and forgotten mission is creeping back. One thing I must disagree with, however, is the philosophy of aiming it towards more agrarian segments of the United States. Rather, I see potential in this program within inner-cities to get children early before they turn to a life of gangs. The CAP cadet program itself is a good method of doing so; this can serve as a supplement.

One other thing: who the hell is "Cappy" and when did he get here?

October 14, 2007

CAP sending a Team to SAR Competition

From NHQ News

NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS -- A Civil Air Patrol search and rescue team will compete in the SARSCENE Games, the world’s only official International Search and Rescue Competition, on Oct. 17 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Team members representing CAP in its first SARSCENE appearance are Maj. Amy Fierro of the Middle East Region and Lt. Col. Jeff Riley, Capt. Mark Kleibscheidel and 1st Lt. Beth Wirth, all of the Northeast Region. Maj. Bryan Watson and Lt. Col. Laurie Watson, both of the Pacific Region, are back-up team members.

The competition will be held during the annual SARSCENE Conference, scheduled for Oct. 17-20. The competition, now in its 16th year, will consist of a series of exercises showcasing ground and inland water search and rescue strategies. Participants’ knowledge and skills will be tested in land navigation, map reading, first aid, search techniques and survival skills. The overall winner will receive the William Slaughter Cup, and the top three teams will be awarded medals and plaques.

SARSCENE is co-hosted by the National Search and Rescue Secretariat and the British Columbia Provincial Emergency Program, with assistance from the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association.

Lt. Col. Joe Abegg, CAP’s national project officer for the games, said such exercises motivate participants to train to be the best.

"It’s an honor to represent the United States and the Civil Air Patrol at these games and for our team to compete against the very best Canada and other countries has to offer,” Abegg said. “It’s a great way to demonstrate CAP's emergency services commitment and expertise before an international audience.”
Sounds good to me! With all the exposure we got during the Steve Fossett Search, this kind of competition begs for our involvement. Although we don't do water very well (we leave that for the CG Auxies), We should be able to do decently at the ground stuff. I agree with Col. Abegg, this will motivate us to train up. That cannot possibly harm anyone.

Medic Gear


Even though Civil Air Patrol does not yet sponsor a Medic Program, the resident EMT at my squadron and I put together a medical bag for him to carry on a ground team. With the full blessing of the Squadron Commander, we made of list of possible medical situations we may encounter: from a GTM injuring him/herself, to a crash survivor suffering from a spinal injury to heat stroke. We also had to take into account the fact that Ground Teams may end up trudging through miles of woods to reach a crash site. Therefore, Several items that both of us thought 'necessary' were either too bulky or outside the scope of our budget were tough to lose; such as a long back board or KED. The KED was impractical anyway because only myself and EMT are trained to use it.

In the end, we wound up with more or less a standard jump bag, but added 2 collars (for neck injuries) a Bag-Valve Mask (BVM) and oropharyngeal airways for those patients we need to do CPR on. Unfortunately, the nasal variety was deemed too expensive for us to get. Both myself and the EMT walked everyone through the bag when it came, and told them what they could and could not use. Most of the stuff is fair game, except for the Collars, airways, and BVM, which required special training. Hope we never have to use any of it.

Now if only we could get them that First Responder Certification...

October 13, 2007

That CAP Bill

Do you all remember that Bill introduced into the House a while back? Just thought I'd give you an update: It's still sitting on some desk. But does that really surprise anyone?


Let's file this one in "hyped news"

October 12, 2007

Writing Good

For a cadet to attain both the Armstrong and Eaker achievements, they must present both and essay and make a speech. Although the speeches are usually decent to good, the essays leave much to be desired in my experience. I had to nearly fail a cadet in their essay because I believed it was not up to their usual standards. I did pass them because they did meet the requirements outlined in the form.

Being a college student, and a political science major, I am writing a paper on average every week. I rather enjoy writing, and find it comes rather easily, although I also can see how it can be intimidating and tough for someone. I do not expect them to write on a college level, but I do see it as my duty to prepare them for that level. After receiving two papers in a row that were sub-par, I decided to do a brief lecture on basic writing. I find it prudent to place the writing tips I gave my Cadets here for the benefit of all.

1: Use a great hook! The first sentence can make or break the essay. If you have room, take an antic dote from your own life and use it to bring in the audience. However, the story should be relevant to the topic you are discussing, so you can relate it to the topic at hand.

2: Avoid First and Second Person. In your essay, there is no need to say "I will prove that..." because it is your essay, and we know that is what you are proving. Always use the third person in your writings. If you feel the need to reference yourself, say "the author". However, avoid this if you can.

3: Form a good thesis. To simplify things, make your thesis statement say something to the effect of "This happened because of A, B, and C", where A, B and C are the points you are proving. For example: "Good leaders are able to exercise good judgment, learn from mistakes, and stay humble". This serves two purposes: Firstly it lets the audience know your argument, and it helps organize your essay. The following paragraph's topics are those statements. If you used the above thesis, then the first paragraph is on exercising good judgment, the second on learning from mistakes, and the third on staying humble. Makes things easier doesn't it?

4: Always Cite your Sources: Citing sources not only adds legitimacy to your paper, but it keeps you from being accused of plagiarism.

Using these above suggestions would guarantee more than just a passing grade from me on a paper. An added selling point: they are the way to construct a good paper pretty much anywhere.

October 11, 2007

Gyros, please


I got my first issue of AOPA Pilot about 2 weeks ago. Although I have been a member for 2 years, I have been receiving AOPA Flight Training instead. I opened it up to find many good articles on many different topics. I particularly enjoyed the article on Aerial Firefighting (Hot Shots, pg 104); but the article that stands out most in my mind is the one on Gyroplane (Old Dog, New Trick, pg 143). You remember these things? Has a rotor on top and and a regular prop in front? Maybe has a pair of short, stubby wings?

Apparently, they're starting to make a comeback. It's understandable, because according to the arcticle they only cost $20 per hour to operate; 1/5 of the cost of the C-172 on a good day and at a cheap FBO. Additionally, the gyroplane doesn't stall, making it safer than a helicopter. There is no tail rotor, because the aircraft uses something called autorotation to power the blades. The principal is similar to those toys you can buy for kids; if you drop the rotor, it begins to spin and slow the descent. Because it is driven by air, it does not produce torque. Although there are rudders, they are not needed for turns because "there is no adverse yaw" as the article says. The Groen Brothers' Website has an excellent description on how these things work)

The article cites one modern, law enforcement gyrocopter: the Hawk 4 Gyroplane. The Hawk 4 apparently saw service during the 2002 winter olympics, and was a huge success. The aircraft's cousin, the Hawk 5's specs are online, and looks to be comporable to a 172 in terms of cruise speed and cost. Maybe something to consider?

Information for this article taken from "Old Dog, New Trick: The gyroplane is half-airplane, half-helicopter and 100 percent fun" by Patrick R. Veillette; AOPA Pilot, October 2007 issue.

UPDATE
: I found this video on youtube that I figure is worth sharing:

October 5, 2007

Our System Works

Our constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws, not of men.
-Gerald Ford


When the news came down about Former-General Pineda's firing, I must admit that I was happy. Not because I had a bone to pick with the former National Commander, or because I thought he needed to go, but because our system works. In reality, this is a happy story, because it has shown that we have standards, and each member will be held to them; Regardless of their grade or position. Many may criticize the CAP for allowing this to happen, but the truth is that it happens everywhere. We are not alone in this matter. But once again, we have the means to take action. And the BoG did. Our System Works.

So now, as MidwaySix has said, Lets stop the witch hunt and go back to serving this great nation in our own, unique way.

September 21, 2007

Bondage 101


In another entry in the training diaries, my squadron recently recieved some basic EMS training from the Cordova Volunteer Fire Association, and their resident EMS trainer.

Although we didn't learn how to drop an airway, bag someone or administer albuterol, we did learn some valuable stuff that anyone on a ground team should know. By the end of the night, all our cadets and Ground Team Members could splint any fracture, place a collar on someone with a neck injury and roll a victim onto a backboard an tie them down. The course was jokingly dubbed "Bondage 101" by some of our cadets, carrying on a tradition that seems to permeate the EMS world.

Although we are not certified, in a crunch situation we could do all the above. One of my Cadets is a licensed EMT with the Fire Department anyway, allowing the other members to serve in an assistant role. The Cadets certainly enjoyed the change of pace. Usually our nights are filled with lectures, marching and maybe some hands on training. Overall a positive experience for all and recommended if you can work it out.

September 18, 2007

Ahead, Full Impulse.


Another entry in the Aerospace Journals.

TUSTIN, Calif., Sept. 7, 2007 -- An amplified photon thruster that could potentially shorten the trip to Mars from six months to a week has reportedly attracted the attention of aerospace agencies and contractors.

Young Bae, founder of the Bae Institute in Tustin, Calif., first demonstrated his photonic laser thruster (PLT), which he built with off-the-shelf components, in December.

The demonstration produced a photon thrust of 35 ┬ÁN and is scalable to achieve much greater thrust for future space missions, the institute said. Applications include highly precise satellite formation flying configurations for building large synthetic apertures in space for earth or space observation, precision contaminant-free spacecraft docking operations, and propelling spacecraft to unprecedented speeds -- faster than 100 km/sec.

“This is the tip of the iceberg," Bae said in a statement from the institute. "PLT has immense potential for the aerospace industry. For example, PLT-powered spacecraft could transit the 100 million km to Mars in less than a week.”

Bae founded the institute to develop space technologies and has pursued concepts such as photon, antimatter and fusion propulsion for more than 20 years at SRI International, Brookhaven National Lab and the Air Force Research Lab. He has a PhD in atomic and nuclear physics from UC Berkeley.

Several aerospace organizations have expressed interest in collaborating with the institute to further develop and integrate PLT into civilian, military and commercial space systems, Bae said, and he has recently been invited to present his work by NASA, JPL, DARPA and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

So I watched a little too much Star Trek in middle school, that's not the point. Clearly worth a mention in your next Aerospace briefing.

September 14, 2007

Ad Astra, per Aspera


I ran across this today:

GOLDEN, Colo. - Silicon Valley giant Google Inc. is teaming with the X Prize Foundation to launch a commercial race to the Moon with $30 million in incentives to collect along the way.

The X Prize Foundation, headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., spearheaded the $10 million Ansari X Prize, which was created to jumpstart the development of private commercial transportation to suborbital space. That prize was won by Scaled Composites of California, which is now building a commercial version of its winning vehicle for entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Corp.

The Google Lunar X Prize sets the competition bar much higher than suborbital space.

"This next major X Prize has a mission that goes far beyond suborbital flight, and extends the economic sphere of humanity 10 times farther beyond geostationary Earth orbit ... all the way to the Moon," said Peter Diamandis, the X Prize Foundation's chairman and chief executive officer. "This competition will once again demonstrate that small teams of dedicated individuals can do what was once thought viable only by governments."

The goal of the new prize will be to land a privately funded robotic rover on the Moon that is capable of completing several mission objectives, such as: roaming the lunar surface to a distance of at least 1,640 feet (500 meters) and relaying video, images and data back to Earth.

It seems as though Buzz Aldrin has endorsed the program, appearing with the leader of the project on an Associated Press video. The trailer for "In the Shadow of the Moon" said that "it was a time when we did bold things" with regards to the original moon landings. Lets do something bold again.

(10 points to whoever can guess what the title means!)

September 10, 2007

MDWG signs an MOU with the Maryland Military Department


From the Maryland Wing Website:
Maj. Gen. Bruce Tuxill, Adjutant General of Maryland, and Col. Gerard Weiss, Maryland Wing commander, signed the document which formalizes the agreement to support each other in accomplishing their respective missions.

[...]

For many years, the two groups have supported one another without a formal agreement. The Maryland National Guard provides logistic and personnel for the annual Tri-Wing Encampment, along with providing cadets with orientation flights in C-130s and base tours. Warfield Air National Guard base provides ramp space for CAP’s GA-8 Airvan and allows CAP to use their facilities as needed for functions such as the cadet ball and Cadet Advisory Council picnic. In addition, the Guard assists the Maryland Wing with legislative support for funding.

“I continue to be impressed by the professionalism our volunteer members display while working side by side with our Army and Air National Guard counterparts,” said Major Joe Winter, Maryland Wing director of cadet programs and Wing military liaison officer. “The dedication of our members helps ease the stress of the guard members who are deployed all around the world.”

[...]

"Our partnership with the MMD should serve as a benchmark for CAP Wing and state guards throughout the country.” [Winter said].



The MOU covered not just the National Guard elements, but also the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the Maryland Defense Force. Colonel Weiss has done a great job in MDWG to bring us more in line with the Real Military, and this seems to be not just a great payoff, but the next logical step. I look forward to working with them in the future. Read the entire article here.

August 30, 2007

"We are Knights of the Round Table..."

I was amused this morning to find this on CAPBlog.

I wasn't sure weather or not this was someone's idea of a joke, but after reading the discussion on CAPTalk, it's for real folks.

Although I don't think a sword is necessarily the right thing, some ceremonial accoutrement is definitely in order. Fireman get a hatchet or bugle depending on who you talk to. I believe Cops get a ceremonial pistol.

However, Sandman makes a valid point in the above forum about CAP and the Sword:
Have we already forgotton we have earned the sword? What about the sub-chasers of WW2? Pilots who have perished in support of the war effort? Getting shot at intentionally for the war effort (towing targets)? CAP was born out of combatant history.

August 21, 2007

That's How Legends Are Made...

I was saddened to hear this today when I checked in on CAPBlog.

It is with deep regret that I inform you that three members of the Civil Air Patrol perished in the line of duty yesterday.

A Wyoming Wing aircrew was participating in an AFRCC authorized search for a missing 16 year old. After the plane was reported two hours overdue, a second CAP aircraft was launched to search for the missing C-182 when a U.S. Forest Service helicopter working in the area spotted the crash site in rough terrain.

The names of the members will not be released until their next of kin have been notified. I will provide you with more information as it becomes available.

AMY S. COURTER
Brigadier General, CAP
Acting National Commander



Semper Vi, guys.

August 15, 2007

OPSECxy!

Ever since Tedda closed the incredibly awesome and addicting "Civil Air Portal", those of us needing somewhere to talk about the CAP to the Blogs and CAPTalk. The remnants of Civil Air Portal can be seen on CAPTalk, and those mini-people adorning some signatures.

But Tedda has returned with his new "Flying Minutemen" site. The most amusing part is clearly the banners at the top, ranging from a Men in Black parody to the infamous CAP Cigarette woman saying things that belong on naughty T-shirts from Wal-Mart. (My favorite is the title.) In addition, he has added a comic called "Auger In", the first episode is well thought out and true. (I think that happened to me once...)

Lotsa potential here. Kinda wish it had the forums again. (plug)

August 9, 2007

CAP and Forest Fires


From CAP News online:



SOUTH DAKOTA -- The South Dakota Wing provided important fire-spotting capabilities in the early stages of a Black Hills forest fire that killed one person, injured two firefighters and destroyed 33 houses.

After lightning sparked the Alabaugh Canyon fire July 7, South Dakota Wing members made frequent fire observation flights in the early stages of the fire under the organization's memorandum of understanding with the state until the size of the blaze prompted the U.S. Forest Service agencies to bring in its own aircraft.

The wing essentially acted as an Air Attack platform for state fire officials to direct the aerial attack on the fire, using helicopters and single-engine air tankers, said Col. Mike Beason, wing commander.

"The state appreciates the availability of CAP," Beason said. "They had us on immediate alert status since July 1st so they could get airborne rapidly when a fire would break out."

The South Dakota Wing has made over two dozen flights since early May, logging many hours in the fire-detection role.

"Primarily, the state has had us fly fire-spotting sorties," Beason said, "especially after lightning storms, but also during the Fourth of July fireworks season."
Good Job SDWG! I have been working with the NJ State Park Service this summer between semesters, and know a person who was fighting the wildfire in Wharton State Forest. The NJSPS has it's own aircraft that fight fires, but I would imagine that many of these state agencies could use cheap spotting aircraft. Seems like a natural role for CAP.

Although CAP could probably not participate in actual bombings. That takes a lot of specialized equipment and training for the pilots and aircrews. Besides, as pointed out in this thread, CA would never allow it to happen. However here in Dirty Jersey and some of these other smaller states might be able to use CAP as a fire-prevention resources.

August 7, 2007

Major General Pineda

As many of you already know, Major General Pineda has been suspended as National Commander, and Brig. Gen. Courter is the acting National Commander.

I will not blog on this development as the blog-god MidwaySix is covering it excellently.

I had the opportunity to meet Gen. Pineda last year at the Wreaths across America celebration at Arlington National Cemetery. My Cadet Commander was escorting him around all day. My personal impression was that he was rather full of himself and making a big media circus about his involvement. My Cadet had the same impression. (This, of course, is my personal opinion, and should not be taken as fact.) But even that is not detrimental as a leader; General George S. Patton Jr. was also a prima donna.

Regardless, He is innocent until proven guilty. Regardless of your feelings, remember that folks. If he is cleared and returns as National Commander, let's salute and execute like the professionals we are.

August 2, 2007

Bridge Collapse.


I was saddened to hear this morning of the Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis. My prayers and thoughts go out to those families who lost someone, and those families and persons who are on-scene for the ongoing recovery efforts. Semper Vigilans.

However, this is a CAP site, so I must ask the question: is CAP involved? Obviously not on-scene for the recovery efforts, but in a logistical/support role. Are the SDIS planes airborne doing damage assessment? Are we transporting men and material to the scene? (Not divers for obvious reasons). Does anyone know?

UPDATE: Thanks to our anonymous commenter, the CAP has not been activated. I figured the question deserved to be asked, and the above are just some of the ways CAP could help. Thank you again.

(image courtesy of Fox News.com)

July 26, 2007

NIMS Training, Sir! Part 2


I blogged about a month ago about the new requirement for ES personnel: the NIMS courses. I was kind of confused when CAPTalk didn't explode with talk on the new requirement, and I was also taken aback when Blog god Midway Six said nothing on CAPBlog. Since work has prevented me from participating in CAP for the past month, and I didn't have the full e-mail, I was curious as to what was going on. Last night I was able to clear it up a little.

From my DOS:

Every member with an ES Specialty rating will have to go online and complete ICS 100 &700. Depending on your specialty rating, you will be required to complete certain [other] courses... At this time this is not a requirement and is subject to change. I can tell you it is currently under review at National."


I will be putting together a spreadsheet with all the courses required. Although the original E-mail I have is fine, for those of us who didn't get the original e-mail, it will provide a guide for what has to be done. I will try to upload the spreadsheet later today or tomorrow.

Please be aware that I take this change to be tentative pending national approval. However, I hope that it is approved at the national level.

July 25, 2007

What's a Flight Officer?




Tonight I closed the most interesting chapter of my life so far with my promotion to First Lieutenant.

"What's a Flight Officer?" I asked myself almost 3 years ago at my Level 1. It was there I discovered that instead of becoming a 2d Lt. like I had been told, I would become a "Flight Officer". Disappointed (and arrogant), I scoured the regs for some loop-hole, or something I could exploit to become a Lieutenant early. There was none, or at least none that applied to me. Being one of a handful of CAP members who have progressed through the Flight Officer ranks without being a cadet, I have discovered that a Flight Officer can be special.

"Flight Officers" are our version of Warrant Officers (with standing similar to AFROTC Cadet Officers), accorded the respects and traditions of Officers, but not 'commissioned'. Unlike regular officers, Flight Officers are younger, more driven, but prone to make mistakes. It is as Flight Officers that CAP officers can hone their skills for the officership

The stripe of the FO should not be taken lightly. It's either a cadet who earned their Mitchell, or a newly minted Senior with enough dedication to earn them a place at the unit. Flight Officers are CAP's only remaining tradition. They have been around since the beginning, and have continued to endure. We were formed for those members who weren't 21 yet, but were otherwise qualified for Officer ranks. As a result, Flight Officers participated and died on Coastal Patrol. The list found at the back of "The Flying Minute Men" contains 3 men holding that rank.

And in truth, as I get ready for a time when I will be called "lieutenant", I find myself wishing that I could stay "Flight Officer". I wish there was another grade above "Senior Flight Officer", maybe a "Chief Flight Officer" or "Master Flight Officer", at least something more to aspire to in this cadre.

"What's a Flight Officer?" I asked one time. 3 years later, I know that A Flight Officer is one who is dedicated, young, inexperienced, but filled with potential. A Flight Officer is one who is not burdened by experience, but often has an open mind and a fresh solution. Finally, we're here to stay. Not just the grade, but Flight Officers tend to marry CAP, and as I do, inevitably become full officers. But they do so possessing enough experience to be peers among the officer corps. What's a Flight Officer? A Flight Officer is something special.

July 20, 2007

Expertise, Responsibility, Corporateness

There is much fear within the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Community about the reduced number of missions, compounded with increasing UAV's, Airborne Sherrifs and fewer crashes. Many have cited Technology as the cause of our loss of mission effectiveness in many of these areas, and the supreme reason that CAP is not receiving new missions on the National Level.

However, although Technology has played a part in turning the current CAP into something obsolete, it is not the overriding reason. Rather, it is the standards of professionalism that hold the modern Civil Air Patrol back.

In his book "The Soldier and the State", Samuel Huntington defines 'professionalism' as dependent on three characteristics: expertise, responsibility and corporateness. He says "The Professional man is an expert with specialized skill and experience" that he can use to achieve his aim. Doctors and Lawyers are the examples he uses to describe the professional man. Both are specifically trained in a specific area, and use the knowledge they learned in school, and that special knowledge acquired over time, to make decisions.

"Responsibility" Hutington says constitutes the use of the skill in a way to benefit society. "A research chemist" he says "is still a research chemist if he uses his skills in a manner harmful to society". However, using the methods in a way to benefit society does make one professional.

"Corporateness" is a way "the members of a profession share a sense of organic unity and consciousness of themselves as a group apart from laymen". In this way, the professional armed forces share a collective sense of self. Broken down further, each branch of service shares a personal identity with other members of the same service. This sense of belonging and teamwork further influence each other to uphold certain standards.

If one applies the above three to the modern CAP, it is discovered that the CAP does not have a high sense of professionalism. Although those who participate in Emergency Services are trained in the vocation, the training is simplified and basic. The Civil Air Patrol is behind many of the other Emergency Services organizations by not requiring any of the NIMS courses for it's members. Huntington says of the expertise of the professional "His expertise is acquired only by prolonged education and experience". Although Civil Air Patrol's training is good, it should continue beyond the initial phase of training, which many members do not progress beyond. The level 1 training for new members is incomplete, and the practice of making one an officer after 6 months probation does not help matters. Rather, there should be stricter requirements to become an officer, and a fuller initial training curriculum.

Responsibility is where CAP scores the highest. Emergency Services have been a cornerstone of the Civil Air Patrol since it's inception. The use of technology and skills to save lives is beneficial to society, and thus qualifies as a part of professionalization. Where the CAP looses points, however, is allowing member use of corporate property for their own gain. Although it is not detrimental to offer members the use of the airplane for currency, the same idea becomes dangerous when there is a sect that only uses the aircraft for currency. Sadly, this is a large sect within the greater Civil Air Patrol.

Additionally, this sect has deeply effected the corporateness of the organization. There are almost two Civil Air Patrols: the one whose members are dedicated to saving lives, and the one whose members are in it for their own personal gain. This schism does not give members the camaraderie needed to create "sense of organic unity and consciousness" to move CAP forward. In many ways, 'corporateness' is where CAP fails the most, and it is because of this schism.

There are many ways to solve this problem. Perhaps greater restrictions on who can and cannot use corporate property are needed to increase the corporateness of CAP, and create a greater sense of unity. Additional training of the membership would also increase the member's expertise and rate the organization as a whole higher on the professional chart.

These problems are solvable, but they go largely ignored. Although solving them will make many in the membership disappear, it will increase our mission-readiness in the personnel area. Greater standards will also attract a different sort of member: one who is willing to learn and move forward with professional training. It will also attract those in the Emergency Services field to a greater degree, and thus further increase CAP's expertise in the area. However, if these problems are not solved, the CAP will become trapped in the past, and lose all of it's Emergency Services missions.

References:
Hutington, Samuel P "The Soldier and the State: the Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations" Harvard University Press; Caimbridge, MA. 1957

July 4, 2007

Happy Independence Day


When in the course of human events...
Happy Independence Day!

June 6, 2007

NIMS Training, Sir!


So I went to my squadron meeting to find happy news. Apparently, there is a national effort underway to get everyone NIMS compliant. The news came in the form of a message from my wing CC.

About Time is what I say. During my EMT ride-alongs, my instructor told me that to get a job in any ES organization you had to take all the FEMA NIMS courses. For a while, I've know that CAP has not followed the rest of the ES field in terms of training. Now, hopefully, we can get ourselves on track. (All members must complete training by September 30, good luck guys!)

June 4, 2007

New Oaths

Midway Six has blogged on Oaths for CAP officers before. Over at CAPTalk, the idea has created quite a stir. Although most of the discussion deals with the term "So Help Me God", I was mostly struck with one of the posters who raised the question of swearing an oath to corporate values over national allegiance. As it currently stands, new members have the following oath

I, (full name), having been accepted as a member of The United States Civil Air Patrol, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and comply with the Constitution, Bylaws and regulations of U.S. Civil Air Patrol; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge all duties and responsibilities as well as obey the orders of the officers appointed over me according to regulations, so help me God. (emphasis mine)

The other two oaths, promotion and Commander's follow a similar structure. The part I highlighted is what I would like to talk about. The poster said that s/he was uncomfortable with the idea of swearing to uphold corporate principals (as the highlighted part demonstrates). Although I understand this, it is important to point out that Collegiate and other Fraternal Organizations usually involve oaths of some kind that are similar. Those members pledge to follow the bylaws and rules of that organization as well. Are we any different in that regard? As members, don't we have the obligation to follow the rules and procedures of our own organization? Of course we do. This oath just makes up affirm it with ceremony, rather than nonchalantly signing one's name on a sheet of paper.

Therefore, although the oaths could be improved a little, swearing to follow the rules and orders of superiors serves the purpose it should.

May 26, 2007

Kodiak: Parte Deux


A week or so ago I blogged on the Quest Aircraft Kodiak and it's potential uses in CAP. After looking into it a little more, it looks more an more suited to CAP's role. According to the video "Corporate Intro" (Available here, along with pictures of the aircraft) the Kodiak was designed for operations "in the bush". Unlike the Caravan, Otter and C-172/182, which although rugged and durable, were not designed for back-country ops specifically.

In addition, the video says the aircraft was designed for slow speed and STOL. Given the fact that our searches take place at slow airspeeds low to the ground, the aircraft feels ideal for that situation. The aircraft was also designed for a quick recovery from stalls, with a lot of power. The discontinuous leading edge prevents the stall from moving further down the wing as the angle of attack increases. Secondly, it gives the aircraft better aileron control, especially at slow airspeeds.

However, let's also consider the fuel cost. Our GA-8 Airvans burn fuel at 14 Gal/hour at 118 kts (according to their Spec's page online). This is the killer, because the Kodiak requires 47 gal/hr to operate at 185 kts. What it is at 118 kts is unclear at this point. This would kill the deal, but since it is unclear, I will not rule out the aircraft yet.

And, as the video says, the purpose of the aircraft was to "build an aircraft that would cater to the humanitarian market...moving goods and services into [the country] to aide people". Isn't that what we do?

(all images are copyright Quest Aircraft, no infringement is intended)

May 21, 2007

Publicity and Toys


Lets face it, kids buy toys (no, really?). So as I perused my local pilot shop, I came across a rack filled with Hot Wings diecast aircraft. One of them was a C-172. And so being the big kid I am, I bought it as a tribute to the aircraft I can (almost) fly. It now sits on my desk as a tribute to my nearly earned private pilots license. Among the other aircraft on the rack was a US Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk. With movies such as "the Guardian" and other stuff, the Coast Guard has been getting a lot of great publicity lately.

And so, being obsessive with my beloved Civil Air Patrol, I lamented the fact that CAP doesn't have a model C-172 the same way the CG has one of their workhorse. And maybe that's part of the problem. We target kids for our cadet program, so let's make a toy. Even if 12 year olds are getting out of the toy thing, at least at a younger stage they can be aware of us.

Someone from national contact these guys and have them make a CAP 172.

May 18, 2007

New Plane: The Kodiak


I was sitting at my airport today taking a break from studying for the Private Pilot Practical, when I picked up the most recent edition of Flying Magazine. I flipped it open to find the Quest Aircraft Kodiak. Intrigued, I looked into it further, thinking of it's utilization in CAP.


Far sleeker and (dare I say it) sexier than any of our current aircraft, the Kodiak seems like a natural fit in our Search and Rescue missions. According to Flying, it was designed with STOL capability, and can fly for 5.8 hours without refuling. It does, however, burn fuel much faster than our Cessnas, but not more than our Airvans.


The aircraft itself is still awaiting certification from the FAA. With the possibility of new missions along the border, a rugged, larger aircraft might be on the list. If I were National Headquarters I would look into this aircraft further. (Now to figure out a way to bring in my beloved PC-12.)

May 17, 2007

By any Other Name...

I looked at the calendar today and realized that in less than 2 months I will no longer be a flight officer. That's right, on July 13 I will turn 21. In addition to the other benefits that come with age, I get to finally become an 'officer'. Of course , that means that I will no longer be a 'Flight Officer', which means that it will be time for a new blog name. Since I can't come up with anything witty, creative or fun, I figure it would be appropriate to open it up to suggestions.

Feel free to post any suggestions for a new name as long as it's appropriate. Nothing over PG guys.

May 14, 2007

Red Gear for Ground Teams


For those of us working on some Ground Team Rating (be it GTM-3, 2, 1 or GTL), some states require us to have Red gear as opposed to the more ubiquitous cammo. Disregarding the recommendations in the GT Manual, which calls for orange or red, without a doubt the most common form of Ground Team gear is Standard Military Issue. The reason, it's cheap and available. And for the most part, one can get away with it. Except for those of us in a Wing where that's the only thing allowed, and enforced by all.

But for those of us who are new, and can't get away with the excuse "But I've had this set forever", we need to find some red gear. So where is one to get this stuff? Wal-Mart? (yes, but how professional does that look?) That is exactly the conversation that happened at CAPTalk today. And so, as is their way, the post-ers came to save the day. Many sites were posted, and the one I liked the best was this one at right. Less than $60, and resembling the Web Gear I already have, This looks like the best bet. I'm ordering mine as soon as my next paycheck and let you all know

found here

May 13, 2007

On a Personal Note...


You'll forgive me for celebrating a little. I just recieved word that I passed the AFAIDL 00013 today. I've already taken SLS and been a TFO for over a year now. So...

I'm a Senior Flight Officer.

April 28, 2007

Pineda Testifies

...In front of the House Homeland Security Committee. His statement can be read here:http://homeland.house.gov/SiteDocuments/20070425102629-84700.pdf

most of it is stuff we already know.

April 26, 2007

Next of Kin



About a week ago I went home and toured the local Rescue Squad. I went for two reasons: First was to observe their apparatus and see how CAP could do something similar with our new FEMA donated Trailers. The other was more personal. My college offers an EMT-B Certification Course which I am enrolled in, so I was interested in volunteering for them this summer. When I made my CAP affiliation known, they looked thrilled to have someone with some ES Training and experience already. As I listened to the tour guide (a friend of my brother's) I was reminded of CAP in many ways. (I should say that I was not there in any official CAP capacity)

Since then, in between school work, I have often thought about who the Civil Air Patrol can relate the most to. Most tend to identify us with the greater Military establishment, which is natural given our association with the Air Force. Yet, as I examine our missions, and the restrictions and privileges we're endowed, the nearest branch of the service that relates to us is the Coast Guard. We both perform Search and Rescue, Disaster Relief and Homeland Security. However, the Coast Guard also has a Law Enforcement mission, and the authorization to use deadly force in certain situations. CAP members can't even have BB Guns while on duty.

Rather, I found a more common kinship with the Rescue Squad than with the military. There I found dedicated volunteers, men and women with families and jobs that went outside their lives as EMTs, Paramedics and Rescuemen. Like the members of a CAP Squadron, they had other things to do with their time, yet gave 12-hour shifts to saving lives.

The similarities didn't end there either. Although my tour was given by a high schooler who probably didn't have a problem finding a date to the prom, people were there from all walks of life. Some were overweight, others were a little awkward. Some were older, some younger. Men and Women alike were members (although predominately male). The group could easily have been transplanted from their EMT uniforms to Flightsuits and BDUs, with nothing additional, and look and behave like a CAP Squadron. Furthermore, the way we're deployed is similar. They go out at a moments notice responding to a car crash or some other emergency. We do the same, having a response time of less than 2 hours from notification to mission-ready, responding to plane crashes and ELT signals. Not even the National Guard works this way, needing to Stage prior to deployment.

Even on the funding side, the Squad felt like a CAP Squadron. Most of their money came from private donations, however some of it did come from the county. Similar to CAP, Squadrons rely mostly on fundraising and what little they get from the Wings and National.

There are differences, of course. The CAP is nationally organized, with a clear command structure, ranks, rates and appointed positions. The Rescue Squad resembled a militia from the late 1700's, with elected officers and leaders, with local organization. However, there seem to be more similarities between the two than differences.

Finally, let's not forget there is a similar mission: Saving Lives. They do it on the ground and on highways, we do so in the air and the wilderness. Overall, I felt more at home visiting the Rescue Squad as a member of CAP than the Military Bases that I have been to in a similar capacity. There I get funny looks, here I felt like part of the overall team that is Emergency Services. Being what CAP is, I felt this kinship, at least on the local level, should be fostered and maintained.

(I would like to say "Thank You" to the men and women of the Clinton Rescue Squad, Hunterdon County, NJ.)

April 12, 2007

RescueWiki

Going through some of my favorites today, I came across an oldie, but a goodie. Since CAP lacks any sort of Wikipedia for itself, I remember following the RescueWiki since it's beginning. I wrote the initial page on Air Search, but really didn't do much after. Visiting the site again today after a long absense, it's apparently closed down. However, since we can still update, it might not be too late to save it

Please visit http://www.rescuewiki.com and do some kind of editing.

Thank you

UPDATE: Closed...nevermind

April 11, 2007

Any news?

A month or so ago, I blogged on the Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Support Act of 2007. Since that time, has anyone heard anything about it? With the way the bills work in the House and Senate, I wouldn't be surprised if it's been delegated to a sub-committee and forgotten about.

Still, any news to report on it?

Stuff to Read

How Many of you knew about the National Response Plan (NRP)?

Furthermore, how many of you knew about "Civil Air Patrol Support for the President's Homeland Security Strategy" (CAPSftPHSS)?

That's what I thought...

NRP: http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/NRP_FullText.pdf

CAPSftPHSS: https://ntc.cap.af.mil/ops/hls/HLS_National_Strategy.pdf

April 9, 2007

New Book: The Soldier and The State

I have been a Samuel Huntington fan since I first read his essay "The Clash of Civilizations" in High School. After reading his "The Third Wave" and starting his book "The Clash of Civilizations" (a book based on the essay), I looked into his other works and discovered another book of his called "The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations". I ordered a used copy off of Amazon, and it just arrived. Just from the cover I would say that it is something any member of the Defense industry should pick up. This includes CAP Officers. I will read it and let you know...

March 25, 2007

Homeland Security Newsletter


Having a few minutes between researching China's Military and reading Shakespeare's All's Well that Ends Well, I logged onto e-services and decided to check out the Homeland Security Newsletter. It can be located at the left side of the screen and is available to anybody in CAP to read. The fall, 2006 issue is about seven pages and a quick read. I'm not going to post anything about it here, but if you are a CAP member, please take a minute to read it. You'll learn something.

March 20, 2007

Missing Boy Found!

Good Job, People! Happy that this one ended well.

March 19, 2007

Missing Boy Scout, Found Aircraft


From CNN:


WILKESBORO, North Carolina (CNN) -- Authorities searching for a 12-year-old Boy Scout missing since Saturday found his mess kit near where he had been
camping with members of his troop near the Blue Ridge Parkway, officials told CNN Sunday.
The missing boy, Michael Auberry, of Greensboro, North Carolina, had remained with an adult at the campsite while other scouts went for a hike, said Dave Bauer of the Blue Ridge Parkway National Park Service.
When the other scouts returned, they ate lunch with Michael who later disappeared from the camp, Bauer said. Once scouts and their leaders noticed Michael was not
in camp, they began a search and, within a half hour, called the park service,
Bauer said. More than 100 people searched nearly 10 square miles of
wilderness in western North Carolina Helicopters equipped with infrared
heat-sensing devices joined the effort Sunday as did searchers on all-terrain
vehicles, David Weldon, the search commander said.

Good Hunting Guys. Bring him home safe. Story found at http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/03/18/boy.scout/index.html
UPDATE: On a lighter note, Oregon Wing was activated to search for a downed airplane. They found it. Bravo Zulu People! (http://www.salem-news.com/articles/march172007/downed_plane_31707.php)

March 8, 2007

The Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Support Act of 2007


Well, I got my hands on a copy of the new bill being presented in the House regarding CAP.

Overall, it's not that impressive, and not nearly as 'threatening' as many have made it out to be. All it really does is neutralize any Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) debate that has been floating around out there.

The most significant things in the bill are as follows:

  1. Authorizes the use of CAP Assets along the Border in "Reconnaissance and Communications" abilities.
  2. Provides for an MOU between DOD and DHS for CAP use in Border and Disaster Relief efforts.
  3. Requires DHS to reimburse DOD for the use of CAP assets.

And that's about it. Nothing too radical, but a large change at the same time. Provided it passes, this bill would merely make DHS 'rent' us from DOD as opposed to DOD footing the bill. And again, it nullifies any PCA debate about our being on the border.

I like it, but I think it's material covered already.

UPDATE: the full text can be downloaded at http://captalk.net/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=1647.0;attach=426. It's a .pdf so be sure you have Adobe Reader.

March 6, 2007

The Squadron Library: An Idea

I was re-reading my post about "George Washington's Leadership Lessons" today. I also sent a message to my Cadet Command Staff about the book and how I recommend they read it (so much so, I bought another copy for the squadron). An idea then occurred to me; A Squadron Library. That is to say, a collection of books, owned by the squadron, that would be available to Cadets and Seniors alike, in various subjects such as Aerospace, Leadership, Writing/Communications skills (for help with those essays and speeches for Armstrong and Eaker), Books on SAR, DR, and other ES related subjects. Maybe even CAP/USAF History to round out the collection.

The use of such a collection would be simple: provide the resources for added study in the above areas. This would allow for better Cadets and better Seniors in all areas. This, in turn, would increase squadron productivity, and the added skill may help with recruiting/retention.

The only thing that could hold such a plan back is that our squadron doesn't have a place to call our own. We meet at an armory, which we share with the National Guard. Therefore, we will have to solve the problem of where to keep the books we place in the library. However, I'm sure this can be overcome.

Any thoughts? Please leave a comment with criticism. I plan to bring this up with my squadron tomorrow

February 28, 2007

Eighth Service


Imagine a world where CAP is independent. Imagine a time when Civil Air Patrol is no longer under the Air Force, but is a separate and equal agency in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Imagine being the Seventh Uniformed Service.

This new bill presented to the House may be the first step in this new direction. Is that a good thing? It's too early to tell. But what would it mean? Let us not forget that CAP was it's own agency during most of Coastal Patrol, not falling under the Army Air Corps until mid-1943. For the first two years of our life, we were our own agency under the Department of Civil Defense.

For our Emergency Services mission, it means benefits. New missions; along the borders looking out for illegal immigrants and possible terrorists. No longer would we have to worry about the Posse Comitatus Act impeding our efforts. Imagine the resumption of Coastal Patrol, flying out to intercept suspicious vessels and identify them, cutting down on the workload for the Coast Guard, and saving time, money and boosting security for our ports. Imagine money to purchase FLIR and other hi-tech systems, the money and instructors to train us, and enough left over to maintain proficiency.

But what of our Cadet Program and Aerospace Education? I don't see why we couldn't maintain both as the status quo. With regard to Cadets, even if this transfer to DHS takes place, what would hold us back? Surely there would be a limit on Cadet participation in actual missions. Do keep in mind that the Cadet Program was alive and kicking during our Coastal Patrol days, and even before we became the Army Air Corps Auxiliary. We would have to re-structure it, yes. The lack of Air Force support would mean new uniforms, and simply becoming an 'Aviation Cadet' program with a military flavor.

It should be noted that even though we would be a separate entity, we could still work closely with the Air Force. For one, our Cadet Programs could be operated as a joint program with USAF and CAP. Secondly, like the Coast Guard, CAP could still be used by the Air Force for it's non-combatant missions, and could even be absorbed into the regular Air Forces if the DoD deemed it necessary.

The point is this: a transfer to DHS would not be a scary thing. It could be great, but also has the potential to be bad. Such a move would create the need for a massive re-organization within CAP. It would also mean re-evaluating pretty much our entire ES program, and by default, CAPR 60-3. However, having new missions, and the money to properly equip us would be well worth it. Imagine saying to someone who wants to join "I spent two weeks along the border last month" or "I fly out and recon ships for the coast guard every other weekend". Recruiting and Retention would become easier. And most of all, if we do our job well enough, we will finally earn the respect among the Military we rightfully deserve.

February 26, 2007

Just thought I'd share

Legislation to Involve CAP

Brought to me by RiverAux over at CAPTalk and via VFMZ-TV online:

A local congressman has a plan designed to improve security around the U-S
border. Representative Charlie Dent is scheduled to hold a news conference
tomorrow in Allentown to discuss his plan. The legislation involves increasing
the role of the Civil Air Patrol in Homeland Security. The Civil Air
Patrol is a volunteer organization that is often used in emergency situations
for things like search and rescue. Congressman Dent's meeting is scheduled for
11o'clock Monday morning at the Queen City Municipal Airport in Allentown. Dent
is scheduled to introduce the legislation in Washington on Tuesday.


Overall, I like this. I can't wait to read the actual bill and see just what our new mission would be. As a CAP member, I sincerely hope this bill passes. Anything to increase our mission in Homeland Security is a good thing. It's back to basics for us. It's what we do.

The article and a video can be found at http://wfmz.com/view/?id=65615

February 25, 2007

Washington on Leadership



Being a student at Washington College, I was recently privy to a talk on George Washington and the lessons he can teach us about effective leadership. The talk was chaired by the Executive Director of Mt. Vernon, James C. Rees.

The talk focused on the subject of his book: "George Washington's Leadership Lessons". The talk was very good, focusing on Washington's character, saying that character was the key to good leadership. However, Mr. Rees only had 45 minutes to cover all elements of his book, and therefore it was a very general presentation on Washington's character.

However, the talk was good enough that I bought a copy of the book after the lecture. At only 181 pages, it is a quick read, and like the talk itself, it is very general and to the point. Mr. Rees spoke of the length, saying his publisher wanted it "Short enough that [a traveller] could pick it up at the airport, and finish reading it by the time he touched down at his destination".

Yet, despite this, it provides an excellent overview on the successful character traits for leadership. Although not as sweeping or elegant as David McCullough's "1776", the quick and to the point style allows it to be enjoyed as a 'primer' to the Father of our country for those who are only beginning to learn about Washington. The style also lends itself well to young adults, and could serve well as a supplement to our Cadet Program as another way to teach the important aspects of leadership. For seniors, much of what it says can also be found in the AFAIDL 00013, and yet when I read the same here, I found that it makes much more sense. Overall, a recommended read for both Cadets and Seniors alike.

"George Washington's Leadership Lessons" can be bought on Amazon.com at: http://www.amazon.com/George-Washingtons-Leadership-Lessons-Effective/dp/0470088877

February 8, 2007

Rescuemen? or a Flying Club?


I was in Wal-Mart the other day, browsing the movies, and I came across "The Guardian". For those who don't know, it's about Coast Guard Aviation Survival Technicians, more commonly called 'Rescue Swimmers'. Costner and Kutcher are excellent in this portrayal of these unsung heroes.
Despite it's military-movie cliches and some cheese, it is mostly an enjoyable experience. The heroism of Coster, and later Kutcher's character is fun, and inspiring to watch. The soundtrack is not bad either, and the song playing over the end credits is probably my new favorite. ("Never Let Go", by Trevor Rabin, Sung by Bryan Adams)
A must watch for anyone in the business of Rescue, but anyone calling themselves an American should sit down and watch this one.
When you do, go to the "Special Features" and watch the "Unsung Heroes: So Others May Live". Pay particular attention to PO1 Watson says in one of his scenes:
You get to help them, and that's a cool thing...I have volunteered to put myself
in harms way for somebody that I don't know. So I better be ready when
that call comes in, because that's my calling as far as I'm concerned. I never take that lightly, and I never short-cut it.
At my squadron, most of our senior are pilots, and they do belong to what some would call the "Good Ol' Boys" club. Every week, the hot topic of conversation is who gets to rent the plane this weekend. There are exceptions, and yes, they do come through in the crunch, but sometimes, it seems as though us in the Civil Air Patrol loose sight of this fact. I know that I blogged about the new uniform earlier today, and so I'm as guilty as anyone else of focusing on frivolous things. I would say, however, that in light of the above, a renewed emphasis on the missions, and less on how cool we look.

Review of the New Corporate Blues


Last year, the NEC came out with a new uniform combination that the National Commander himself has asked all CAP members to wear. The uniform, featured at right, consists of a double-breasted jacket, white 'aviator' style shirt, and blue tie. Rank insignia is worn on the epaulets, with pin-on rank on the coat, and blue epaulet sleeves on the undershirt.
I did not want to bash this uniform without wearing it myself, and so when I came into some money, I purchased one, complete with all the insignia. When it came, I arranged it, ironed it, and put it on.
From a purely cosmetic view, the uniform itself is not too bad looking. Surely it could look better, but it could also be much worse. The uniform itself (if worn without ribbons, or if ribbons are kept to a minimum) resembles the dress uniform worn by many fire companies, evoking images of them to the general public. This is a pleasing alternative to the Corporate Blazer, as being in the business of Emergency Services, CAP should at least look the part. When the Jacket is removed, leaving just the white shirt and epaulets, it can resemble an airline pilot, or, again, a fireman.
On a positive note: This uniform can be used as both a Service and Mess Dress uniform, substituting a Bow-Tie for the regular Tie to create the latter. This saves many of us time and money, and creates a professional appearance during formal ceremonies. I also like the pin-on rank insignias. They look more professional than the cloth ranks worn on the other combinations. In addition, I am a proponent of wearing the "CAP" cutouts on the lapels. Although I understand the honor associated with wearing the "U.S." cutouts on our Air Force Style Blues, I feel uncomfortable wearing such devices for the same reasons I dislike the blue epaulets (see below).
The Downside: Like many on CAPTalk have expressed, wearing Air Force Rank Epaulets makes me feel uncomfortable. Others have done so much more than I with those epaulets on their shoulders, why should I wear them? Like many, I would be happier if 'CAP' was embroidered atop the rank, so as to eliminate this uncomfortable part. In addition, a fellow CAP officer, upon first seeing it, described it as a "pimp" jacket, which I can definitely see, and may even agree with.
I've decided to stick with our Short-Sleeve Blues for now, and pull this thing out if the Region Commander shows up, as she is very much a proponent of this combination. I figure it might not be a bad thing to have her on my side. In addition, I may use it as an alternative to the mess-dress as a cost-saving measure.

February 7, 2007

Innaugural Post

Welcome to the Air Patrolman. First, a little about me: I am a Technical Flight Officer in the Civil Air Patrol, holding ratings as a Mission Observer, currently training in GTM-3 and as an EMT. I currently attend Washington College in Chestertown, MD, majoring in Political Science. Although Politics is a large part of my life, mostly through default, I do not intend for this blog to become political in any way. This blog is to present opinions on the Civil Air Patrol, Emergency Services/Management and other 'things' related to those two.

And so, let the madness begin...