Civil Air Patrol

“The Mission Remains the Same, We Adapt the Approach” – A Successful Blended Missouri Wing Conference

Almost 200 members participated in Missouri Wing’s first blended (in-person and virtual) wing conference, held on Saturday, March 20, 2021, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Consistent with the state’s COVID-19 restrictions and the wing’s coronavirus remobilization plan, in-person participants were limited to fifty people with the rest participating online.

The morning session’s featured speakers included: Missouri Wing Commander Col. Thomas Martin, North Central Region Commander Col. John O’Neill, CAP-USAF North Central Liaison Region Commander Lt. Col. Jeffrey Meyers, USAF, and CAP National Vice Commander Brig. Gen. Edward Phelka. Master of Ceremonies was Lt. Col. Michael Toedebusch. Brig. Gen. Phelka presented the national vice commander’s briefing reviewing CAP’s successes over the last year despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, specifically congratulating Missouri Wing on establishing a national benchmark approach allowing individual units to advance their activity phase level based on individual county COVID statistics.

“We are an amazing organization with people who have stepped up in challenging circumstances to really serve our fellow Americans, our communities, our states, and our nation,” said Phelka. “My thanks to you for staying involved, staying engaged, and being a Civil Air Patrol volunteer. It’s meaningful work. Civil Air Patrol saves lives, and Civil Air Patrol shapes lives. You all inspire me with what you do.”

Following an invitation-only working lunch for unit commanders with Col. Martin, afternoon breakout sessions included presentations on logistics, the new national education & training program, emergency services including Missouri Wing’s role in the state’s New Madrid earthquake plan, and cadet programs post COVID and beyond. Additional breakout sessions are scheduled over the next two weeks and will include: becoming a glider tow pilot, the new inspector general program, how to implement the Cadet Great Start program, fundraising, and WMIRS for ground teams.

Special guests during the day’s events included: CMSgt. Michael Mudry, North Central Region Command Chief; Col. Erica Williams, North Central Region Director of Education and Training; CMSgt Robert Dandridge, CAP National Command Chief; and Brig. Gen. Kenneth Eaves, Assistant Adjutant General commanding the Missouri Air National Guard.

Highlights from the conference included:

• Promotion of Maj. Jennifer Smith, Missouri Wing Headquarters, to Lt. Col.; and promotion of SMSgt. Charline O’Neill, Ft. Leonard Wood Composite Squadron, to CMSgt.
• Presentation of the Exceptional Service Award to Lt. Col. Jennifer Smith, Missouri Wing Headquarters, in recognition of her outstanding service as Missouri Wing Chief of Staff, Chair of the Missouri Wing COVID Remobilization Team, and co-coordinator of the prolonged St. Louis County Emergency Operations Center support mission.
• Presentation of the Meritorious Service Award to C/Col. Reagan Hess, Wentzville Composite Squadron, and Maj. Steve Vogt, Mineral Area Senior Flight, in recognition of their outstanding service during the prolonged St. Louis County Emergency Operations Center support mission; and to Lt. Col. David Miller, North Central Region Headquarters, in recognition of 15 years of continuous service to Wreaths Across America at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.
• Presentation of Region Commander’s Commendations by Col. O’Neill to members of the Missouri Wing COVID-19 Remobilization Team on behalf of their ongoing efforts over the last year: Col. Thomas Martin, Col. Erica Williams, Lt. Col. David Miller, Lt. Col. Michael Toedebusch, and Capt. Sampath Samarasinghe.
• Presentation of Commander’s Commendations by Col. Martin to Maj. Steve Vogt, Mineral Area Senior Flight, in recognition of his service as an incident commander for multiple missions; and to Lt. Col. Brian Jones, Maj. Jered Horn, and Maj. Perry Workman in recognition of their outstanding efforts in growing the Col. Travis Hoover Composite Squadron during the pandemic.
• Recognition of Central Missouri Composite Squadron’s C/Col. Alexander Jones’ General Carl A. Spaatz Award, Missouri Wing’s seventh Spaatz Cadet in 24 months, tying a wing record from the 1990’s.
• Recognition of seven squadrons that received the national Quality Cadet Unit Award for 2020: (alphabetically) Harry S Truman Composite Squadron, Laclede County Composite Squadron, Lee’s Summit Composite Squadron, Platte Valley Composite Squadron, Springfield Regional Composite Squadron, Table Rock Lake Composite Squadron, and Wentzville Composite Squadron.
• Recognition of Platte Valley Composite Squadron as the Missouri Wing’s Squadron of Merit for 2021, and recognition of Springfield Regional Composite Squadron as the Wing’s Squadron of Merit for 2020.
• Recognition of Springfield Regional Composite Squadron as the North Central Region Squadron of Distinction for 2020.

Annual Missouri Wing unit award winners included:

• Unit with the Best Social Media for the Year: Platte Valley Composite Squadron.
• Unit with the Best Website for the Year: Platte Valley Composite Squadron.
• Unit with the Best Newsletter for the Year: Platte Valley Composite Squadron.
• Aerospace Activity of the Year: Table Rock Lake Composite Squadron flight simulator trailer.
• Frank G. Brewer Memorial Aerospace Award – Non-CAP Organization: Midwestern Soaring Association.
• Cadet Program of the Year: Wentzville Composite Squadron.
• Senior Program of the Year: Wentzville Composite Squadron.
• Squadron of the Year: Platte Valley Composite Squadron. Annual Missouri Wing individual award winners included:
• Recruiting and Retention Officer of the Year: 1st Lt. Jessica Rice, Lee’s Summit Composite Squadron.
• Administrative Officer of the Year: Capt. Timothy Sizemore, Harry S. Truman Composite Squadron.
• Legislative Officer of the Year: Maj. Wayne Wallingford, Missouri State Legislative Squadron.
• Property Management Officer of the Year: 1st Lt. Derek Haber, Lee’s Summit Composite Squadron.
• Communications Officer of the Year: 1st Lt. Steve Binning, Gateway Senior Squadron.
• Finance Officer of the Year: Lt. Col. Dave Futch, Platte Valley Composite Squadron.
• Transportation Officer of the Year: 1st Lt. Lester Mitchell, Ft. Leonard Wood Composite Squadron.
• Safety Officer of the Year: Capt. Michelle Spurgeon, Ft. Leonard Wood Composite Squadron.
• Incident Staff Member of the Year: Capt. Timothy Sizemore, Harry S. Truman Composite Squadron.
• Incident Commander of the Year: Maj. Steve Vogt, Mineral Area Senior Flight.
• Orientation Pilot of the Year (Most O-rides): Capt. Jason Taylor, Springfield Regional Composite Squadron.
• Jeanne M. Holm Aerospace Education Officer of the Year: Capt. Sampath Samarasinghe, Harry S. Truman Composite Squadron.
• Frank G. Brewer Memorial Aerospace Award – Cadet: C/1st Lt. Christopher Foster, Platte Valley Composite Squadron.
• Frank G. Brewer Memorial Aerospace Award – Senior Member: Capt. Sampath Samarasinghe, Harry S. Truman Composite Squadron.
• Character Development Instructor of the Year: Maj. Kurt Glaesemann, Lee’s Summit Composite Squadron.
• Jack Sorenson Cadet Programs Officer of the Year: 1st Lt. Victoria Van Horn, Lee’s Summit Composite Squadron.
• Cadet NCO of the Year: C/MSgt. Lilly Shah, Wentzville Composite Squadron.
• Cadet Junior Officer of the Year: C/Capt. Nicholas Spry, Platte Valley Composite Squadron.
• Squadron Commander of the Year: Capt. Michelle Spurgeon, Ft. Leonard Wood Composite Squadron.
• Torch Award: Lt. Col. Jennifer Smith, Missouri Wing Headquarters.
• Cadet of the Year: C/Col. Reagan Hess, Wentzville Composite Squadron.
• Senior Member of the Year: Lt. Col. Shannon Brown, Harry S. Truman Composite Squadron.

The conference’s morning session speaker presentations, select breakout sessions, and annual awards ceremony were recorded and are available at the Missouri Wing Civil Air Patrol Public Affairs YouTube site at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQoaeQ2vEbFl0Jc1ApZW4Mw (external link) (the morning session audio glitch resolves at about the 3:23 minute mark).

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