December 14, 2017. Mt Airy, Md. “Sir, I accept command.” With these words, Mount Airy Composite Squadron, a unit of the Maryland Wing (MDWG), Civil Air Patrol, held Change of Command ceremonies at the Mt Airy Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 10076. The Change of Command is a time-honored military tradition designed to mark the occasion when responsibility of command is passed from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander. On this night, the occasion was marked with a dual change of command.
The evening began with the ceremony to mark the change of the squadron’s commander. The Master of Ceremonies, Second Lieutenant (2d Lt) Mary Alvarado began with a brief military history and description of the symbolism behind the “passing of the flag.” Cadet Chief Master Sergeant (C/CMSgt), James Buchheit, served as the squadron guidon (flag) bearer accompanied by Major (Maj) John Strong, Group 1 Commander, MDWG, who served as the presiding officer.
The squadron’s guidon was passed from C/CMSgt Buchheit to outgoing squadron commander, Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) Ray Buzzard who presented it to Strong. Strong then presented the guidon to the incoming squadron commander, Captain (Capt) Laura Smith-Velazquez. With the words, “Sir, I accept command,” Smith-Velazquez formally accepted command duties and responsibilities for the Mt Airy squadron.
After the squadron commander’s ceremony was completed, Smith-Velazquez and Strong officiated the cadet commander’s change of command. Serving as the cadet commander is the ultimate challenge for a cadet officer. It is an enormous test of leadership skill. The position stands at the epicenter of the squadron as the cadet commander is the most visible cadet, a role model for the entire cadet corps, and the liaison between the senior staff and the cadet staff. Cadet First Lieutenant (C/1st Lt) Blake Scott stepped down as the squadron’s cadet commander and C/1st Lt Raegan Buzzard became the new cadet commander. Former cadet commander Scott gave a farewell address and the evening came to a close with refreshments and fellowship. The squadron prepares to bring in the New Year with a new infusion of energy and enthusiasm.
Photos by 2d Lt Mary Alvarado