October 17, 2008
I'm not happy with the way the art turned out this time around. I'm still learning on this whole Cartooning thing...please be patient. This is the first in a four-part arc that I am excited about, and I hope you all enjoy. Bonus points though to whoever gets my William Shatner reference in this one!
As I write this, I return from the reception for the Senior Members at the Maryland Wing Conference. If you are attending, please find me and say hi. I would love to hear what you all think so far. As always, I am looking forward to many of the classes tomorrow, and the Military ball of course.
I will write a report for this year, much as I did last year, when all is said and done.
September 18, 2008
I would like to introduce you all to a new, somewhat-regular feature on 'What's a Flight Officer'. "CAP-ers" is a new, online web comic that will poke some fun at the culture within CAP. Since the end of "Swivel Chair Patrol", and thus the end of "Auger In", CAP has no real method of self-parody like the Air Force does. Above you can see Roy Gage, a ground team leader, putting Flight Officer Nick Fletcher a Mission Pilot in his place.
Fletcher is certainly a parody of myself, with all the worst attributes of me during my first two years amplified to mega proportions. There are some differences, however. Fletcher is a certified Mission Pilot with Instrument and Complex ratings. I have neither of those qualifications. Basically, Fletcher is a hot-shot, and has some skills to back it up, but not all. He's full-time in college studying aviation management.
Roy Gage on the other hand is a composite character of many people I know, both in and out of Civil Air Patrol. Unlike Fletcher, he is a hot shot, with the skills and experience to prove it. But he doesn't show it off like Fletcher does.
EDIT: This comic is meant to poke a little fun at us aircrew, while re-enforcing the idea that both air and ground operate as a team.
August 31, 2008
In old Europe, torches were lit to tell knights and soldiers that their king needed them for some great campaign. These soldiers promptly left their homes to do their bid for king and country.
Gustav's presence in the gulf is bringing back all sorts of memories of Katrina 3 years ago, and I know I'm not the only one. But those memories extend only to the storm itself. The preparations bear no resemblance to the responses three years ago. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal spoke to Fox news yesterday, and he seemed very much on top of this potential tragedy.
For Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas wings in particular, please stay safe. If needed, give me a call. But hopefully this results in nothing more than a damage assessment mission.
June 14, 2008
This 500 year flood has me sitting by the phone awaiting the call. The guys at work were saying this could become another Katrina, if only in the square mileage of damage. The silver lining is that most people are evacuating this time around. That's very, very good news.
As an SDIS operator, I am ready to go to work, and use my skills to help the recovery effort. But even if I don't go, I have little doubt that CAP is/will be involved someway, somehow. This is the kind of stuff we train for, and Iowa Wing is among the best in the nation. Stay safe, and good luck for those operators that do go.
June 12, 2008
The ARCHER system has been a bit of a big deal in the Civil Air Patrol world for at least as long as I've been a member. Well, last week Gen. Courter released the findings of the ARCHER review summit.
The summit attendees analyzed the missions CAP has performed and determined that ARCHER is most useful in assisting with aircraft SAR missions and it is also good for documenting the extent of tree/plant diseases, looking for man-made objects in the water, and for assisting with the secondary effects of situations like oil spills on the surface of the water. ARCHER is also good forI agree with all the points except the first. ARCHER had a lot of potential in search and rescue, but my understanding is that it failed to perform well in all it's actual exercises. I was on a mission two years ago where ARCHER was deployed, flew right over the guy and failed to pick him up. Of course, the reason was the canopy of the trees blocked the view. Not the fault of the equipment, but the lesson is to take into account the terrain when using high-tech gear.
detecting hematite soil and other “disturbed earth” that has been dug up and placed on the surface (e.g., it could aid in tunnel detection) or “disturbed earth” caused by tire tracks of vehicles operating on unpaved surfaces. This and the ARCHER change detection feature could be especially helpful along the U.S. border or around military base perimeters. Finally, the group determined that
ARCHER is great for providing hyperspectral data for universities and research agencies such as the Air Force Research Laboratory. One point to highlight is ARCHER is very good at automatically geo-referencing imagery with a high degree of accuracy. While we have had many positive opportunities, it is important to note that after extensive testing for counterdrug missions, the experts have concluded that ARCHER in its present configuration will not be effective (without an
unacceptable false alarm rate) at detecting specific plants. However, the Air Force is studying a proposal on how to upgrade the ARCHER system so that it can effectively conduct these missions in the future.
However, it's the Steve Fossett thing that puts it over the top for me. Granted, the Nevada desert is huge, but one would think it picked up something.
Of course, I'm not an ARCHER operator. One of you can prove me wrong.
Thanks River Aux for bringing this to my attention via CAPTalk
Update! "Zigg" has posted some interesting information about the ARCHER system. Look for it in the comments. He makes me eat my words. I was wrong. Sorry.
This one went through a boy scout camp, killing four and injuring forty (as of this morning).
It is not secret CAP and the Scouts have a friendly rivalry going on, but these scouts demonstrated true heroism as they battled the tornado and it's aftermath. Stories were told of scouts performing CPR on each other as they awaited rescue.
My condolences go out to those four families who lost someone so dear to them.
June 8, 2008
As with most of these ceremonies, there was a lot of hurry up and wait. We, along with representatives of the National Guard, Air Guard and Maryland Defense Force rehearsed the ceremony to ensure everyone was on the same page. The rehearsal went smoothly, and we were dismissed early for lunch and general wandering around.
I took the only other cadet from my squadron able to attend to the Maryland Military Museum, which seemed to focus entirely on Maryland's contribution to the First World War. There was, however, a nice video on the State's involvement in the Second World War.
The rest of the day besides the ceremony itself was spent mingling with two of the group commanders, a couple of the wing staff members, and representatives of several other CAP squadrons. Some Cadets did a rousing rendition of "Don't Stop Believing"to pass the time. As Major Tiso (our group Emergency Services Officer) observed, it's a great song when Journey sings it, but they were having fun (and so was I).
Around 12:00, an Air Force Major came to us and called all the Civil Air Patrol's representatives over. He spoke for several minutes about how the (former) Adjutant General was incredibly impressed with our performance, and how much he appreciated our help. As a result, we were all presented with a Challenge Coin for our service during that day, and for the duration of the General's command.
The ceremony itself was not so breif, but the comments made by the the guests were. The Governor, the incoming Adjutant General and General Tuxill all made speeches. The General, having a lot to be proud of, cited the combat sorties flown by the Air Guard in support of operations around the globe, and the deployment of Military Department forces to support the recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina.
The General did speak breifly about the Wing, noting that although we weren't under the Maryland Military Department, we were there when the Guard needed us, and he thanked us for our help once again.
I must thank the General for all the support he has given us. He has gone to bat for this wing more times than most, giving us money from his department, providing National Guard Support, and serving as a champion of our organization as a whole. He has placed himself in front of the State Legislature to get us money, and assigned us missions that would normally be assigned to Guard units.
As I said in my last post, General Tuxill's support for the Maryland Wing has been unwavering, and serves as an example to Adjutant Generals of all states. I wish I had a challenge coin to give the General, as a way to say Thank You to him.
Good Luck Sir, and Semper Vigilans!
June 2, 2008
It is with sadness that I say farewell to Maj. Gen. Bruce Tuxill, USAF and the Maryland Adjutant General. General Tuxill has been a steadfast supporter of CAP throughout the many years I have been involved in Maryland Wing. I had the pleasure to briefly meet him at the Maryland Wing Ball last year. He was certainly a stand-up guy, and his comments about CAP and what we can be ring in my ears to this day.
General Tuxill's support of the CAP is a model to all State Adjutant Generals. His belief in us has landed CAP many great opportunities in this state, and increased our readiness and willingness to serve. With his support, Maryland is a fine wing to serve in.
To further demonstrate his support of the CAP, the wing has been invited to participate in the General's retirement ceremony.
I hope that his successor will follow the example the General has laid out. And perhaps one day soon, I will be able to meet the General again, but this time as a fellow CAP officer.
May 26, 2008
Today is the day we Americans reflect upon the sacrifices of so many for the rest of us. Regretfully, I lack the abilities to adequately convey those feelings one must express on days such as these.
However, although this day rightly focuses on the five armed forces, please remember that CAP officers have also died in the line of duty. "The Flying Minutemen" documents 67 deaths of CAP officers and men during World War II, and many more have died since then. Most were looking for someone who needed them.
So on this Memorial Day, please raise your glasses to the men and women of the Armed Forces, but don't forget the Civil Air Patrol's brave souls in that toast.
Update: I can't believe I forgot this, but today appropriately celebrates our 60th year as the Auxiliary of the Air Force. Semper Vigilans, fellow Patrolman, and hope for another 60 years as the Auxiliary.
May 23, 2008
That's a big tornado.
From what I understand, the damage is pretty devastating, but the citizens are coping and recovering. Wildfires may not be our forte, but disaster relief certainly is. Hopefully CAWG is involved in some way. I know I have that familiar feeling. Put me in the game, coach.
Let me know if anyone hears anything about this.
And to those responding, and those effected: Semper Vigilans
Personally, I think this is a great idea. As aircrew, I have often thought about our role in the greater response beyond searching. Rocking our wings as it were is not enough to give a survivor moral support. If I was a crash victim, and I saw a Cessna above me rock their wings, I wouldn't know what that meant. How should they if they're not in the community? At least this way they have proof.
Of course, if the victim is injured and can't move, it's useless. That's where medics would come in. Oh wait...
May 22, 2008
However, this is a good debate to have. So...have at it!
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about CAP and UAVs. Although CAPBlog god "Data" thinks they have no place in CAP, I am not sure what to think. Do I think we should go robotic? Not at the sacrifice of our manned platforms. However, would a small fleet of drones be beneficial? I believe so.
There is a product called the Evolution (pictured). It's a small vehicle that can be disassembled and placed in a backpack. It's usual payload is a port- and forward-mounted camera. Piloting the vehicle is also easy, with a system that resembles a playstation controller connected to MS Flight Simulator (at least, according to the info sheet). It also can fly itself through a pre-planned flight plan. Additionally, the system is purely electronic, allowing for zero cost in fuel.
I have been on searches where a small UAV could be beneficial to a ground team in the area. Rather than spend the $120+ an hour for that Cessna to survey the surrounding area, they could simply launch an Evolution in-theater. With today's gas prices, this system might be worth exploring.
There is a compromise, however. Since I have been involved in the cyber-CAP community, there has been a major complaint that we don't have FLIR attached to our airborne systems. FLIR has been deemed too expensive or complex for our aircrews, or at least that's the story I got. However, there are certain UAV payloads that, although not as good as FLIR, can provide real-time visible-light or infrared surveillance of a select area. The technology may be adaptable to our fleet of aircraft, and easily trainable for our aircrews.
This is clearly a controversial issue, however it's a debate that needs to be had. Those who don't adapt will die; and I would hate to see this organization perish for lack of foresight.
(all images are (C) BAI Aerosystems. No infringement is intended)
May 20, 2008
For those that do not know, the program is designed to take military officers and men, civilian government employees and emergency services professionals and give them training on how to better deal with emergency situations. The program itself is designed for the State Guards, but is also used by other government organizations, such as the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). The training consists of FEMA ICS courses (many of which we have already taken), a narrative, and further training that may include an internship at an actual Emergency Operations Center.
I was looking at the brochure again after work, and noticed that there are liaison officers with several government and private agencies. One of them was the aforementioned Medical Reserve Corps, but another that stood out was the American Cadet Alliance. The ACA is like our cadet program, but has no emergency services component. Therefore, I found it curious that members would be interested in pursuing this class. However, it is a cool course to take, and I applaud them in their effort.
I am puzzled further by the fact that neither the CAP nor the Coast Guard Auxiliary have agency liaisons for this program. Could it be that we are a government agency and the SGAUS is private? No, because the MRC is also government, and they have a liaison. An answer to this question escapes me, still.
I have little doubt that CAP officers have undergone this training. I also have little doubt that it aided in developing them professionally as emergency services officers and professionals. It may seem all too logical to have a liaison in place for those members (such as myself) who would like to take this training.
Any readers who have undergone this training, I would like to hear of your experiences. Please comment below.
May 19, 2008
What separates CAP and the others from the likes of the Ranger Corps or the United States Service Command? Government charter is certainly one such requirement. However, I believe it must go further than that. I developed this criteria for a stalled project I was set to do this summer, but instead wound up working for a UAV company. However, the criteria still works. A legitimate volunteer military organization (VMO) needs to meet the following requirements
- Are chartered by the Federal or State Governments; and are administered by such. These organizations are usually organized under a military department (such as the Air Force) or the State’s National Guard office.
- Operate in direct support of a parent service. The parent service is the service that the organization is chartered under. For example, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is organized under the Coast Guard, making it the parent service.
- Are made up mostly of volunteers, with those paid positions ones that are only necessary to maintain the day-to-day operations of the service. These are generally in the administrative field.
- Operates in a non-combatant role; serving only as a humanitarian organization.
- Perform missions the parent service cannot feasibly do itself.
Of course, the most fundamental objection to the faux militias are their use of military style uniforms. Uniforms can be good. They bind an organization together, and create a corporateness that is needed. However, the design of the uniform is what is controversial. If they did not wear military style uniforms, would we be so willing to bash them? Probably not. The United States Homeland Emergency Response Organization (US HERO; catchy acronym, huh?) wears a uniform, but it consists of an orange shirt and black BDU pants. Non-military if there ever was one. Their mission is professed as one of life-saving and disaster support, but I don't hear nearly as much criticism of them as I do the Ranger Corps, Service Command or the Disaster Relief Command. In fact, a quick jaunt around US HERO's website and you'll find frequent training events, and a true commitment to their job. I cannot, in good conscious classify these guys as a faux militia, though perhaps a little renegade.
To be fair, I've been following the Disaster Relief Command for some time now too, and it appears to be cleaning up it's act. At least, online. True it's website is not the best, but it now boasts a Medical Battalion (on paper, at least). Their leadership have also earned the State Guard Assiociation's Military Emergency Management Specialist badge. (I am, of course, assuming it was earned legitimately.) MEMS is a pretty good program, and I would participate if I had the time. If the DRC would only change their uniforms, I would have half a mind to check them out further. However, they still have a long way to go before I'm willing to attach my good name to them.
Put simply, CAP and our brethren are different for many reasons, not the least of which is government charter and military oversight. Should these people be commended for taking on the burden of saving lives? Only when they show a true desire to do so. With some, I will admit, I am giving the benefit of the doubt. However, I feel that's only fair.
May 18, 2008
I want to be the national commander one day. Those that know me close know this fact all too well. Now it’s out in the open, so…there you are. However, I recognize that I have a long road to travel before I’m ready to assume that burden; be it professionally, experience-wise or financially. I’m 22 years old. I still have a lot to learn. However, it’s not that way for all national commanders. They say easy come, easy go. In Antonio Pineda’s case, that is the honest truth.
I know I'm going to get heat for the rest of what I have to say. Too bad..it's my blog. If you don't like it, leave a comment. Besides, I had to do a lot of soul searching before discrediting a former national commander publicly, but I feel it is the right thing to do. This stunt of Pineda’s reflects badly upon our organization, and we need to distance ourselves from him as much as we can. I don’t care whether you think it was legal or illegal, truth is that he was kicked out. He’s gone, at least as far as this organization is concerned. However, less than a year after his 2b was filed, he turns around and forms faux militia: The United States Ranger Corps.
If he was truly interested in saving lives, he would join the local fire department or rescue squad. If interested in mentoring teenagers and young adults, he could join the boy scouts or the explorer programs. But, none of those have Generals now do they? Nor do they have a need for constant uniform changes that only drain the membership of money better spent keeping themselves and their gear in top-condition.
It’s time to fade away, Antonio Pineda, like that soldier MacArthur spoke of in his farewell address to Congress. Good Bye.
May 10, 2008
After nearly a year of not flying missions for one reason or another, I returned to the saddle today flying Mission Observer on a rather routine mission. Regardless, it was still fun.
The mission was simple: test our communications capabilities along various points along the northern Chesapeake Bay. We flew at various altitudes from 1000 ft to 3000 ft AGL along differing portions of the bay. The point was to see how low the aircraft could fly without loosing communications links with our ICP. This mission was part of a SAREX, and had been cancelled just a few hours earlier due to weather. Regardless, at noon today I got the word the mission was re-activated.
I met my pilot a few hours later at my local airport, and we promptly departed on the mission. We were fortunate enough to be flying one of the new C-182 Glass Cockpits. I did most of my flight training in the glass cockpit C-172, and the transition to the C-182 was smooth. All the navigation was the same; and that was my job today. The wing operations officer was even kind enough to put a few checkpoints into the system to make our jobs a little easier.
What did I get out of it? I was able to re-familiarize myself with flight planning and execution, communications procedures, and the glass cockpit system as a search and rescue/navigation tool.
Also, if you've never seen the sun setting on the Chesapeake Bay at 1000 ft AGL, you're missing out. Although we made it back to the airport well before the sun dipped below the horizon, it was still late enough in the day to see it wane from 1000 ft.
I never realized how much I missed flying with CAP...
May 8, 2008
In short, the advice given by the Colonel in the article should be taken to heart. I intend to try it out myself. I highly suggest the read.
Got something to say on this? joint the discussion here on CAPTalk.
May 3, 2008
I'm still holding out hope that the bill will be passed and we take on more Homeland Security Missions. However, I'm also fine with the way things are going; at least in my wing.
UPDATE: I Checked the Library of Congress website. According to it, the bill was forwarded to the full committee (with revisions) by an 8-0 vote. I imagine those revisions include the words "GAO Study"
May 2, 2008
Recently, MDWG and WVWG conducted a joint SAREX with the National Guard. The Wing also posted a personal perspective located here.
This is just the latest in a line of joint efforts between MD and WV Wings. The first took place last September with a joint SAREX on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The second was a joint mission, conducted in conjunction with the MD State Police. This SAREX was unique as the MD National Guard was able to transport members of the wing on Blackhawk helicopters straight to the mission base in West Virginia.
I've said time and time again that Col. Wiess (MDWG Commander) has done an excellent job increasing the readiness of the wing regarding Emergency Services. Additionally, the MD Adjutant General has referred to CAP as "One Heck of a Resource". If there was any example as to the support this wing has received from the National Guard, this is it.
Although I was unable to attend, my understanding was this was a great event. I hope more like it can be planned in the future. I have no doubt that more of this will come.
May 1, 2008
Okay, so maybe inspections aren't this bad. However, the lead up to them can seem like it will be. That's right. My squadron was inspected last night. Fortunately we passed with no difficulty. Ordinarily, I wouldn't blog about these kinds of events, but one of the inspectors reads this blog. When I found that out, I knew I had to write about it. I am always amazed how long, but efficient the inspection actually is. Even though the inspectors were down one person, they still managed to get everything accomplished in a reasonable time. (And yes, I do really mean that.)
One thing my wing is doing that I was unable to organize by the time of the inspection are continuity books. For those that don't know, they're books with the name, rank and bio of the person in charge, along with regulations, files and any other pertinent information regarding that particular department (in my case, Cadet Programs). I've done them for my fraternity, and agree with the practice. Deciding what's 'pertinent' is another issue entirely.
April 29, 2008
But the most interesting thing is probably the new slogan: Citizens serving Communities: Above and Beyond. I like this much better than "More than meets the skies". Firstly, it's not cheesy. Secondly, it gets the message across about what we do much easier. "Citizen serving communities" can mean a lot of different things, but sends the right message.
I'll see you all around the block as soon as some interesting news comes up!
April 13, 2008
I was cleaning out my favorites today when I noticed a peculiar site. The CAPlopedia is an interesting endeavor by one 2nd Lt. Reuben Tamblingson, CAP. Although it focuses mostly on Cadet Programs, with some work and ideas it could become a valuable resource for both new and old members alike.
One of the most promising features is the forums. Since the close of the Civil Air Portal in 2006, many of us, myself included, have been looking for a place to go online and trade ideas. CAPTalk is one such place, but it lacks the innovative "can do" spirit the old Civil Air Portal had. This new site could become that site's successor.
I'll be registering my username today...I invite all to drop by and check it out. Tell your friends, too!
March 17, 2008
Ladies and Gentleman, He's Back! Tedda, creator of the sorely missed Civil Air Portal, and the now-defunct Flying Minuteman site has returned with his web-comic series Swivel Chair Patrol. A hilarious, yet good natured look at our beloved Civil Air Patrol, Tedda combines the wit and charm we have come to expect, with a little self-parody and scored a winner.
(Honorable Mention to Chuck Cook for the inspiration for the title)
February 25, 2008
From the MDWG Website:
2/25/2008–Cumberland, MD–Civil Air Patrol located the missing A36 Bonanza aircraft at approximately 5:45 p.m. on February 22 three miles northeast of the Cumberland Regional Airport. CAP members from Maryland Wing and West Virginia Wing conducted the search along with the Maryland State Police. There were no survivors.Bravo Zulu!
I got a call last Friday morning from my Squadron CC asking if I could go to this, but had to turn it down based on weather and classes. I was happy to hear the wreckage was found quickly, by a ground team no less. My blogger-in-arms Midway Six should be delighted to hear that. It furthers the fact that Ground Teams are as vital to SAR as us airdales. It's just too bad this couldn't be a "save".
February 22, 2008
Perhaps because I attend Washington College, or that I am a history dork, I feel it appropriate to honor America's first President today on his 276th Birthday. We remember the wisdom that he possessed, guiding this great nation through it's formative years.
Of all the Founding Fathers, He is the only one everyone trusted. Twice, he was put in positions of authority, and twice did he accept. The first was when he was made Commander in Chief during the Revolution; the other as Presiding Officer of the Constitutional Convention. But it was his refusal of office that made him great. At the end of the war, the Army wanted to coup and make Washington the new King of America. He refused, and resigned his commission. It was he who limited himself to two-terms as President, although he could have been President for Life if he wanted. This wisdom helped guide the Country into an era of relative stability, one that would last until the Civil War in 1861.
In the midst of a Presidential Primary, we should remember that the office of the President was created for Washington himself. What we as Americans define as a qualities indicative of the Presidency are, in fact, directly traced to Washington and his conduct in the office.
Therefore, in conclusion, I think we can all proudly say "Happy Birthday, George Washington".
February 16, 2008
From the Official Maryland Wing Website:
2/13/2008–Reisterstown, Md.–Maryland Wing Civil Air Patrol officers from across the state traveled to Camp Fretterd to experience an intensive weekend of administrative and leadership training. The Professional Development Academy, dubbed PRODEV, brought together three basic schools in CAP management and leadership at the same time. These elements are: Squadron Leadership School (SLS), Corporate Learning Course (CLC), and Unit Commander’s Course (UCC).
I was unable to attend that course due to other commitments, however after talking with my Squadron Commander (who did have the opportunity to attend). He enjoyed it, and thought that it was a great opportunity. I noticed a slightly more confident air to him last week, as well as another member of my unit who attended. As a result, I think it's worth branding this as a success. Not only was the National Guard involved and supportive, but it drastically increased the expertise of the wing as a whole. This solution worked for us this one time. I would be excited to see what more would do.
Read the whole article here.
February 7, 2008
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...
That was one year ago today, and you'll notice that the name of the blog was "Air Patrolman". Within a few hours of posting, I came up with the much better title "What's a Flight Officer".
But still, a year later...
In the past year, we've seen a National Commander step down, more recognition from congress in the form of a now-defunct bill and global recognition in the Steve Fossett Search. This blog has been mentioned on CAPBlog not once, but twice. Hopefully there will be many more years of this blog, and excitement that we have seen since this blog launched.
Thanks for having me so far.
February 5, 2008
Ladies and Gents, it's that time of decade again. There will be a Lunar Eclipse on Feb. 20th. For me, this is fortunate, as that is my squadron's Aerospace Education night. Mark your calendars, this is something to see, and teach about too.
January 6, 2008
And now, onto our regular...er....semi-regularly scheduled programming.
Ever since I was 5 and saw Star Wars for the first time I always thought Harrison Ford was the man. Of course, it's been many years since then, and the actor has had many flops in the past few years. I was on youtube last night, and I found this video of him talking about his flight experience. I know it echos my own feelings towards flight, and I imagine that it does for many others.
It should be noted that the actor offers his services as a helicopter pilot to Teton County Search and Rescue; one of them is chronicled on wikipedia. Additionally, Ford is the chairman of EAA's Young Eagles.
Another Note: I have not had a chance yet to upload the picture from my last post. My scanner has been broken since late-november. I will post it when I have an opportunity.