Mt Airy Composite Squadron celebrates a Dual Change of Command

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


Civil Air Patrol Meeting, Thursday, December 14, 2017

Mt Airy Composite Squadron began it’s regularly scheduled Thursday night’s meeting with opening ceremony at Mt Airy Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting room at 6:30 p.m. This second week in December is scheduled for Aerospace education. Uniform inspection was conducted after opening ceremony and was followed by drill instruction outside.

The aerospace class was conducted by cadet 2nd Lieutenant Ashley Pitt and focused on Civil Air Patrol Aerospace Module 2. An airport runway was delineated on the carpet, using masking tape. Following a power point presentation on airport runway lights and signage, cadets were separated into groups. Each group was responsible for a different set of lights. Using tape and markers, the cadets placed colored pieces of tape on the runway. They were allowed to use their notes and Aerospace Module 2 booklet for reference. Senior member Andrew Walker, pilot, was asked to review the finished runway and contribute to the discussion. Points were given to the teams according to accuracy. The last portion of the lesson was to identify airport signs, drawn on the dry erase board, and describe their purpose.

The aerospace session was followed by a dual Change of Command ceremony. Squadron Commander Ray Buzzard and Cadet Commander Blake Scott have faithfully performed their duties to the squadron and are ready to step down. Major John Strong, Maryland Wing Group 1 Commander was present to officiate. A separate post on the event will follow.

2017 December 07, Physical Training Meeting

First Thursday meeting of the month, 2017 December 7, began with the Mt Airy Composite Squadron cadets gathering at Parr’s Ridge Elementary School at 1830, 6:30 pm military time. Following warm-up exercises the cadets performed the one-mile run and recorded their time. With the advent of cold weather, the decision was made to proceed back to Mt Airy Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) meeting room and finish up the evening’s activities.

The use of good judgment and common sense are required during these activities; safety is a priority and taught to the cadets. Lt Col Dean Trombley conducted a follow-up on last week’s lesson on Operational Risk Management (ORM). Learning ORM and its application is an effort to encourage cadets to deliberately make good choices. According to the Civil Air Patrol Program:

“Operational Risk Management (ORM) is a process designed to detect, assess and control risk, and at the same time, enhance mission performance. Simply put, it’s a methodical, six-step process to manage inherent risk.”

The evening’s drill exercise concluded with drill tests and training. Mt Airy Composite Squadron is privileged to have cadets eager to learn and advance through the program.

Civil Air Patrol Meeting, Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mt Airy Composite Squadron began it’s regularly scheduled Thursday night’s meeting with opening ceremony at Mt airy Veterans of Foreign wars meeting room at 6:30 p.m. This second week in November is scheduled for Aerospace education. Uniform inspection was conducted after opening ceremony and was followed by drill instruction outside.

Two aerospace classes were conducted this evening. Under the mentoring form aerospace officers 2nd Lieutenant Buchheit and Captain Smith-Velazquez, cadet 2nd lieutenant Pitt taught a class to cadets about clouds. Cadets were separated into groups, given a bag filled with pictures of clouds, names of clouds, and facts about them to see what was already known before the lesson began. The lesson explained that clouds are made of tiny water droplets and there are three basic types:

  • Cumulus – Cotton ball- like, fair weather clouds
  • Stratus – Uniform, thin, light rain
  • Cirrus – Thin, fair weather

There are ten universally recognized types of clouds. Descriptive discussions included Cumulus congests, Nimbostratus, and Altocumulus. After the lesson, cadets were once again separated into groups and the same game was played to see what was learned from class.

The second aerospace class was conducted from Module 1, Aerospace Dimensions, Introduction to Flight. Cadet Captain Flanick covered Sir Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion and Daniel Bernoulli’s pressure differential theory. The three axis of a plane and an explanation on how a wing lifts.

This structured Cadet Program is divided into sixteen segments, called achievements, involving study and performance in five program areas. Senior cadets have progressed through at least the first eight achievements. With their experience and the assistance of adult mentors, they engage, teach and inspire their peers. Service leadership; leading by example. The Civil Air Patrol cadet program is celebrating 75 years of making a difference and mentoring leaders.

Photos by 2nd Lt Alvarado and C/1st Lt Buzzard,
Article contributions by C/SSgt Franklin and C/1st Lt Buzzard.

2017 Fall Awards Celebrated at Mt Airy Composite Squadron

Mt Airy Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol (CAP), celebrated an evening of awards and promotions on October 26, 2017 at the Mt Airy Veterans of Foreign War (Post 10076) meeting room, Mt Airy, Maryland. Cadets began the evening completing last minute details before the ceremony (7:30pm). Mt Airy Composite Squadron was privileged to have guest speaker Senior Chief David C. Clipson, US Navy, and presenter Rear Admiral Scott Giberson, US Public Health Services, at the evening event. Lieutenant Colonel Ray Buzzard, Mt Airy Composite Squadron Commander, was master of ceremonies and Lt Colonel Dean Trombley the facilitator.

Former Cadet 1st Sergeant Jason Lohoefer, now US Marine Corps Private 1st Class visiting home after boot camp, kicked off the ceremonies with an address to the squadron. He spoke of his chosen career and upcoming specialized training. Lohoefer discussed his chosen career and attributes his success to his Civil Air Patrol leadership training and experience.

Senior Chief David C. Clipson, USN, was the evening’s guest speaker and motivator. Senior Chief Clipson is a hospital corpsman, a career executive with over 25 years’ experience in healthcare management, a dynamic leader/mentor and strong communicator. His discourse held several strong messages that hit home with his audience:

  • Set goals, even at the age of twelve, they provide direction and achievement opportunities. Your goals may evolve into something different but you are still moving forward.
  • Service and sacrifice, know the difference. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made to career or family; choices will have to be made in order to find balance.
  • Understand that as you wear the uniform, cadets all over the country are also wearing that uniform; “You are part of something bigger.”
  • “When you serve, you serve in and out of uniform, . . . make sure you hold a higher standard.”

RADM Giberson, USPHS, honors the importance of organizations like Civil Air Patrol. As a presenter, Rear Admiral Giberson is an inspiration to the cadets and they are privileged to receive their promotions and awards from him. The Mt Airy Composite Squadron cadet program continues to grow and evolve as cadets progress through the Civil Air Patrol 16-step plan. The plan is divided into four phases with a milestone achievement award at the completion of each phase. The squadron is enjoying the existence of cadet staff officers that help to teach, run programs and assist with basic administrative duties. The evening’s promotion and awards were as follow:

  • Katherine Grasley promotes to Cadet Airman
  • Mitch Walker promotes to Cadet Senior Master Sergeant
  • Dylan Marty promotes to Cadet Airman 1st Class
  • Jackson Curtis promotes to Cadet Staff Sergeant, achieving the first Cadet Milestone and receiving the Wright Brothers Award
  • Dimitry Madsen promotes to Cadet Airman
  • Ashley Pitt promotes to Cadet 2nd Lieutenant, achieving the second Cadet Milestone and receiving the General Billy Mitchell Award
  • Cadet 2nd Lt Raegan Buzzard promotes to Cadet 1st Lieutenant
  • Flight Officer Raymond Buzzard completes his Level I Orientation and receives a Membership Ribbon
  • 1st Lt Brian Winters promotes to Captain; received his Level II, Technical Training, Benjamin O. Davis Award and Leadership Award Ribbon, earlier this month
  • 1st Lt Laura Smith-Velazquez promotes to Captain and receives her Level II, Technical Training, Benjamin O. Davis Award and Leadership Award Ribbon

Photos by 2nd Lt Mary Ann Alvarado and 2nd Lt Patti Messick


Civil Air Patrol Meeting, Thursday, October 12, 2017

Mt Airy Composite Squadron , Civil Air Patrol, met on 2017 Oct 12, second Thursday meeting, at the Mt Airy Veterans of Foreign Affairs meeting room, Post 10076, at 1830 (6:30 p.m.). The meeting began with opening ceremony and inspection inside. followed by basic drill practice outside the VFW. Cadets practiced faces, rests, and salutes to become better at their basics.

Outdoor activity was concluded and squadron returned inside for a session on aerospace led by C/Capt. Flanick. The class began by separating cadets into two teams and competing in a ‘Jeopardy-style’ competition on aerospace. Once finished, cadets regrouped as a class to discuss why we did the Jeopardy quiz and continued on the topic of aerospace. C/Capt. Flanick touched on the history of aerospace, when it began (which was 500 B.C. by the Greeks), how historic figures used aerospace to fight in battles, and who the Father of Modern Rocketry is (Robert Goddard). He also went over different types of fuel rockets used to launch rockets and compared the fuels to see which one would be better. We covered four main systems of a full scale rocket:

  • Payload System – depends on the mission: fireworks, explosives, human beings, cargo, satellites . . .
  • Guidance System – includes very sophisticated sensors, on-board computers, radars, and communication equipment. It has two main roles during the launch of a rocket; to provide stability for the rocket, and to control the rocket during maneuvers.
  • Propulsion System – produce thrust: propulsion systems develop thrust in different ways, but all thrust is generated through some application of Newton’s third law of motion.
  • Structural System – frame: ncludes all of the parts which make up the frame of the rocket; the cylindrical body, the fairings, and any control fins. The function of the structural system is to transmit the loads from the forces generated during the flight and to provide low aerodynamic drag for flight through the atmosphere.

The last class of the evening for cadets was the safety briefing led by Lt. Col Trombley. He went over the safety pledge, cadet oath, and how everything we use in CAP is owned by the Corporation.

Article by Cadet Staff Sgt Amy Franklin, NCO – Public Affairs

Civil Air Patrol Meeting, Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Mt Airy Composite Squadron met for October’s third week meeting, Thursday, 2017 October 19, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 10076, at 1830 (6:30 p.m.). Focus for this week is Emergency Services. As is the custom, the squadron begins with opening ceremony, honoring our flag and nation, followed by uniform inspection. This evenings uniform is Airman Battle Uniform (ABU). The purpose of  uniform inspection:

“Respect is the first step in wearing the uniform; it is your visible offering to the past, to those who served before you. When you wear it you become part of its tradition, visible proof, that time honored customs still live on. Remember, every time you put that uniform on you no longer represent yourself; you become the Civil Air Patrol, and the United States Air Force. And every one who sees you will judge you, CAP, and the Air Force based on your appearance.”

The Chief’s Gorilla Guide For Looking Good In Uniform
By Chief Master Sergeant Robert D. Chiafos
Camp Dodge, IA
3rd Edition (Revised) January 2007

Following inspections the meeting began with basic drill practice outside the VFW. Cadets practiced faces, rests, and salutes to become better at their basics. Inside, cadets began a class about Emergency Services (ES) led by Lt. Col. Trombley, the class began by talking about the courses that need to be completed for ES:

  • ICUT: Civil Air Patrol Intorductory Communications User Training
  • IS-100: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Independent Study – 100 is an introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS 100). This course describes the history, features, principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
  • IS-700: FEMA Independent Study – 700, is an Introduction to the National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents
  • GES 116: Civil Air Patrol General Emergency Services 116
  • First Aid & CPR certification

Cadets learned about the organizational structure and different positions that are part of  Emergency Services: Operations, Planning, Logistics, Administrations/Finance, Public Information Officer, Safety Officer, and Liaison Officer All the officers are under one Commander known as the Incident Commander. A handout was provided to the cadets to help them work toward IS 100 & 700 certification.

Finally, cadets went outside to do more basic drill, and performed a “Bearing Test”. The objective is  to see who could maintain their “Military Bearing” (a straight face) the longest while Staff Members tried to distract the cadets and break their bearing resolve.

Article by Cadet Staff Sgt Amy Franklin, NCO – Public Affairs

2017 October 05 – Physical Training

The first Thursday of October 2017 saw the gathering of Mt Airy Composite Squadron cadets at Parr’s Ridge Elementary School at 1830, 6:30 pm military time. Cadet First Sergeant James Buchheit took charge of the warm-up exercises. Deputy Commander of Cadets Dean Trombley and Testing Officer Brian Winters were in attendance to monitor and record performance.

Physical Training (PT) is one of the core aspects Civil Air Patrol. “The goal of the cadet physical fitness program is to make cadets physically fit and to motivate them to develop a lifelong habit of exercising regularly.” The use of good judgement and common sense are required during these activities; safety is a priority and taught to the cadets. Civil Air Patrol uses the USAF wingman concept in the cadet program as a sort of buddy system supporting the overall well-being of its airmen and is shown to best advantage during these exercises

“The wingman concept is also an important part of the CAP cadet program and includes fundamental instruction in CAP Core Values, the wingman concept, safety and cadet protection for new cadets. It is especially important that each cadet know he or she can turn to a wingman for advice and moral support. Even more, with the wingman program, each cadet wingman is proactively watching his or her mate and stepping forward to help when the cadet needs assistance.”  Major Karl Lotvedt, Commander, Osprey Composite Squadron; Maryland Wing News, Feb. 09, 2016.

The setting of the sun on short fall days brought the outdoor fitness activities to a close. The cadets loaded up and proceeded to the Mt Airy Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) meeting room to finish up the evenings’s activities.

Article and photos by 2nd Lt Mary Alvarado