More than 100 members of the Missouri Wing, Civil Air Patrol, and guests attended the annual Missouri Wing Conference held the weekend of October 19-20, 2018, at the Radisson Hotel in Branson, Missouri.
By Lt. Col. David A. Miller, Missouri Wing Director of Public Affairs
The Saturday general session featured speakers CAP National Command Chief Master Sgt. Robert Dandridge, North Central Region Commander Col. Regina Aye, and CAP-USAF North Central Liaison Region Commander Lt. Col. Jeffrey Meyers, USAF. Chief Dandridge delivered the National Commander’s report highlighting CAP’s successes and clearly defining the organization’s priorities and path for the next two years. Col. Aye discussed where Missouri Wing stands regarding certain metrics in comparison with other wings in the region – and there was much the wing could be proud of.
The general session ended with an afternoon of learning labs including information on the wing’s new glider program, cadet programs update including information about encampment and the annual cadet competition, how to prepare for a subordinate unit inspection, psychological first aid, corporate aircraft and vehicle management and maintenance, how to properly account for CAP property, and information about CAP’s new small unmanned aircraft system program.
The keynote speaker for the Saturday evening awards banquet was CAP National Command CMSgt. Robert Dandridge. The conference’s honored guest for the afternoon learning labs and banquet was Col. Gordon Meyer, the new Director of Staff for the Missouri Air National Guard. Col. Meyer takes over from Col. Grace Link, who was the keynote speaker at last year’s wing conference banquet. Col. Link was recently appointed as the executive director of the Missouri Veterans Commission by Missouri Governor Mike Parson. “The Missouri Wing conference celebrated another big year of service to community, state, and nation and I enjoyed the various sessions provided during the morning agenda. Similarly, the conference provided an opportunity for members to gain education, networking, and fun,” said Command CMSgt Dandridge. “It was great to see our volunteer members being recognized for their achievements throughout the past year as we also rejoiced in another milestone anniversary this year — the Civil Air Patrol’s 70 years as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force.”
Special guests throughout the conference weekend included: Col. Erica Williams, North Central Region Deputy Chief of Staff, Professional Development; Col. David Winters, North Central Region Deputy Chief of Staff, Cadet Programs; SMSgt. Rick Franz, North Central Region Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics; Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Donald Mikitta, North Central Region Chaplain; Lt. Col. Bonnie Braun, North Central Region Drug Demand Reduction Coordinator; Lt. Col. Anna-Marie Bistodeau, North Central Region Historian; and Col. Art Formanek, Arkansas Wing Commander.
“Our annual conference was an outstanding opportunity to recognize the successes of Missouri Wing’s members, units, and programs over the last year,” said Col. John O’Neill, Missouri Wing commander. “It’s through these individual efforts that the wing can continue its long tradition of supporting the people and communities of Missouri in times of need.”
Highlights from the conference included:
- The presence of three former Missouri Wing commanders (alphabetically, Cols. John Mais, Erica Williams, and Bill Winkert, Sr.); former Ohio Wing commander Col. David Winters; as well as former Middle East Region commander Col. Gene Hartman.
- Recognition of the following Missouri Wing members for their participation in CAP’s Hurricane Harvey response (alphabetically by grade): Col. Gene Hartman; Lt. Cols. Esther Grupenhagen and Austin Worcester; Majs. Jack Gray and Bobby Redfield; Capts. Stan Edwards, Carroll “Pete” Pilcher, and Timothy Volk; 1st Lts. Robert Dueck, Steve Meinzen, and Sampath Samarasinghe; and 2d Lt. Ryan Maichel
- A. Scott Crossfield Award to Capt. Katrina Everhart, Missouri Wing Director of Aerospace Education.
- Gill Robb Wilson Award to (alphabetically by grade): Lt. Cols. Raun Hamilton, Charles “Keith” Harter, Johnnie Nichols, Charles Stone, and Austin Worcester; Majs. Joseph St. Clair and Jennifer Smith; and SMSgt. Robert Miller.
- And a special award presented to Col. John O’Neill, a retired Army NCO, from CAP National Command CMSgt. Dandridge for his support of CAP’s NCO program.
Annual Missouri Wing unit award winners included:
- Social Media Use Unit of the Year: Wentzville Composite Squadron.
- Unit with the Most Flight Hours per Pilot: Wentzville Composite Squadron.
- Aerospace Activity of the Year: Wentzville Composite Squadron; in recognition of their trip to the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Nebraska.
Squadron Ground Team of the Year: Wentzville Composite Squadron.
- Quality Cadet Unit Awards (alphabetically): Ft. Leonard Wood Composite Squadron, Harry S Truman Composite Squadron, Lake Ozark Regional Composite Squadron, Lees Summit Composite Squadron, Platte Valley Composite Squadron, St. Louis Composite Squadron 1, Table Rock Lake Composite Squadron, Wentzville Composite Squadron.
Annual Missouri Wing individual award winners included:
- Legislative Squadron Member of the Year: State Senator (Maj.) Wayne Wallingford, Missouri Legislative Squadron.
- Government Relations Officer of the Year: Capt. David Chilenski, Gateway Senior Squadron.
- Character Development Instructor of the Year: SMSgt. Charline O’Neill, Ft. Leonard Wood Composite Squadron.
- Squadron Chaplain of the Year: Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Mark Lenneville, Table Rock Lake Composite Squadron.
- Senior Chaplain of the Year: Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Leonard Hale, Platte Valley Composite Squadron.
- Professional Development Officer of the Year: Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Leonard Hale, Platte Valley Composite Squadron.
- Historian Officer of the Year: Maj. Lin Redfield, Table Rock Lake Composite Squadron.
- Administration Officer of the Year: SMSgt. Bob Miller, Missouri Wing HQ.
- Transportation Officer of the Year: Maj. Adam Daubach, Wentzville Composite Squadron.
- Public Affairs Officer of the Year: 2d Lt. Jeremy Darling, Excelsior Springs Composite Squadron.
- Property Manager of the Year: Col. John Mais, Missouri Wing HQ.
- Director of Finance Officer of the Year: Lt. Col. David Sewell, Missouri Wing HQ.
- Finance Officer of the Year: Maj. David Futch, Platte Valley Composite Squadron.
- Drug Demand Reduction Officer of the Year: Capt. William Westfall, Ft. Leonard Wood Composite Squadron.
- Communicator of the Year: Maj. Steve Vogt, Mineral Area Senior Squadron.
- Incident Staff Member of the Year: 1st Lt. Sampath Samarasinghe, Harry S Truman Composite Squadron.
- Incident Commander Officer of the Year: Maj. Alan Altis, Excelsior Springs Composite Squadron.
- Advanced Technology Officer of the Year: 1st Lt. Jim Gregg, Gateway Senior Squadron.
- Safety Officer of the Year: 1st Lt. Craig Thomas, Wentzville Composite Squadron.
- Inspector General Officer of the Year: Lt. Col. Dan Ranson, Missouri Wing HQ.
- Aircraft Manager of the Year: Capt. Jim Dockins, Charles R. Long Senior Squadron.
- Aircrew Member of the Year: 1st Lt. Robert Dueck, Gateway Senior Squadron.
- Orientation Pilot of the Year: 1st Lt. Robert Dueck, Gateway Senior Squadron (34 O-rides).
- Pilot with the Most Flight Hours: 1st Lt. Robert Dueck, Gateway Senior Squadron (147.9 flight hours).
Only a partial list of annual wing awardees was named at the weekend’s banquet. The remaining wing award winners will be announced at the upcoming wing conference to be held in March of 2019, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City, Missouri, in conjunction with the wing commander change-of-command ceremony and the North Central Region conference.