24 May 2018 Promotion Week Meeting

Mt Airy Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol, met at the Mt Airy VFW, Post 10076, meeting room on the fourth Thursday in May 2018 at 1900. The meeting progressed with opening ceremonies, drill and drill testing. A cyber and social media awareness lesson was conducted by Commander Laura Smith-Velazquez and Cadet Master Sergeant Dylan Marty gave a refresher course on Customs and Courtesies.

Special guests from the VFW were in attendance. VFW Commander Landon Becker presented the VFW NCO of the Year (2017) to Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Aurora Albertson and VFW Cadet of the Year (2017) to Cadet First Lieutenant Raegan Buzzard. Also in attendance was retired Brigadier General Mark Bailey. He made time to talk to the cadets about his personal road to leadership and applauded their efforts and enthusiasm.

photos by 1st Lt Alvarado

Third Week Wednesday at Izaak Walton League

16 May 2018 – Mt Airy Composite Squadron gathered at the Mt Airy Chapter Izaak Walton League Reservation. The evening began with the traditional opening formation and uniform inspection. The emergency services topic was an interactive presentation on the Identification of natural hazards. Cadets prepare for local Summer activities and participation in Civil Air Patrol Summer Encampment.

The highlight of the evening was a rocket motor demonstration arranged by 2nd Lt Jim Buchheit and provided by Greg Coll, NASA propulsion engineer and member of the ” American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics” (AIAA). The cadets read the procedures while Mr. Coll executed the steps and fired the system. The demonstration covered the theory, components and procedures required to safely fire a bi-propellant rocket propulsion system. The two propellants were combined in a combustion chamber at the correct pressure and ignited to produce the thrust. The event provided the perfect opportunity to discuss career opportunities, education, safety training and personal protection.

photos by C/1st Lt Buzzard

Squadron heralds in a Change of Cadet Command

April 05, 2018. Mt Airy, Md.

Mount Airy Composite Squadron, a unit of the Maryland Wing (MDWG), Civil Air Patrol (CAP), held a Change of Cadet Command ceremony at the Mt Airy Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 10076. Cadet First Lieutenant (C/1stLt) Raegan Buzzard, former cadet commander, passed command to Cadet Second Lieutenant (C/2ndLt) James Buchheit who accepted the squadron’s guidon and the opportunity to spread his proverbial leadership wings as the new cadet commander. Squadron commander, Captain (Capt.) Laura Smith-Velazquez officiated the cadet commander’s change of command which was attended by family, friends and other squadron members.

Serving as the squadron’s cadet commander is the ultimate challenge for a cadet officer and one that every cadet aspires to achieve. Within any squadron, the cadet commander is the most visible cadet, a role model for the entire cadet cadre, and the primary liaison between the senior staff and the cadet staff. Fulfilling the duties and obligations of cadet commander is an enormous test of leadership skill. Mt Airy squadron is fortunate to have a bevy of dedicated cadets who are advancing through the program and honing their leadership skills.

Buchheit joined the program in 2015 and has shown great aptitude for academics, selfless service and leadership. This cadet’s commitment and perseverance has enabled him to step through every position available in the cadet chain of command and afforded him the opportunity to work with the squadron’s cadet and senior members. Speaking on behalf of the squadron, Commander Smith-Velazquez stated, “We look forward to the continued growth and maturity of our youth leaders and invite everyone to encourage them in their pursuit of excellence in service.”

Today’s cadets are tomorrow’s aerospace leaders. Through its Cadet Program, CAP has been transforming youth into responsible citizens since 1942. To achieve its overall goals, the Cadet Program is organized around four main program elements: leadership, aerospace, fitness and character. CAP develops youth through self-paced study of the art of leadership. Through a graduated curriculum, cadets first learn to follow, then to lead small groups, and ultimately experience command and executive-level leadership, earning cadet grade and honors along the way. CAP produces confident young leaders who think independently and persuade others in an atmosphere of teamwork and mutual respect. Former cadets can be found in leadership positions in the military, aerospace industry, public service and the professions.

Mount Airy Composite Squadron is a composite of both senior and youth programs whose members are drawn from Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties. The Squadron meets Thursday nights, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Mt Airy Veterans of Foreign War, Post 10076, 107 S. Main, Mt Airy, Maryland. Have a passion for aviation, dream of flight, are considering a career in the military? Want to serve your community and enhance your leadership skills? Join us. Youths, ages 12 to 18, parents and adults interested in the cadet or senior program are always welcome to drop in. For more information, contact Commander Laura Smith-Velazquez at lsmith@cap.govFollow Mt Airy squadron on Facebook at https://goo.gl/wNFmdJ

Photographs by: Senior Member Linda Grasley

2018 April 15 Warfield Air National Guard Cook Team

Mt Airy Composite Squadron cadets and senior members were privileged to support the Warfield Air National Guard Drill Weekend on Sunday, 15 April 2018. Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol, Group 1, was represented by Mt Airy and Bethesda Chevy Chase Composite Squadrons.

Mt Airy cadets rolled up their sleeves and accepted the onerous assignment of dish washing. Cadet Staff Sergeant Katherine Grasley and Cadet Senior Airman Madsen immersed themselves in the fast-paced, hot task of rinsing and loading, while  Staff Sergeant Dylan Marty unloaded and delivered clean plates and utensils in the steamy, hot bath environment. Marty was quoted to say, ” I concentrated on integrity and selfless service” when asked about his duty assignment. Mt Airy’s newest cadet, Cadet Airman Conner Snyder, demonstrated his enthusiasm and appreciation with his attention to courtesy when accepting dirty trays to process. Cadet 1st Lt Raegan Buzzard and Cadet Senior Master Sergeant Aurora Albertson took on the task of washing pots and pans alongside Bethesda Chevy Chase’s First Lieutenant Donahoe. We are immensely proud of our cadets and their performance.

Following the Dining Hall duties, the cadets were treated to a tour of the airplane hangar, the A-10 “Warthog” and training missiles. The experience is one of the most memorable for a youth or adult. It is interesting to talk to the mechanics, pilots and engineers. Their personal experiences and perspective on the planes and their careers. We wish the 175th Wing a safe journey and good flight in all their endeavors.

photos by 1st Lt Mary Alvarado and cadet 1st Lt Raegan Buzzard

2018 New Year

Mt Airy Composite Squadron brought in the new year with enthusiasm, conquering many challenges and embracing change. The website was down for a brief time, but getting all the bugs out took longer. Forgive the interruption. The challenge of this post is to bring everyone up to date.

January :

  • Cadets voiced an interest in forming an Emergency Services Ground Team. Cadet Commander Raegan Buzzard and 2nd Lt Alvarado attended the Maryland Wing Ground Ops Academy to check out the program. Imagine an operation set up with volunteers who have years of experience and an avid interest in teaching the next generation. Not enough praise can be heaped on Lt Col Midkiff and his group of volunteers for their efforts at the Ground Ops Academy.
  • The squadron made the decision to meet every third week on Wednesday at the Mt Airy Izaak Walton League in an effort to have a place for emergency services training.
  • Cadets and Senior members ventured to Arlington Nation Cemetery for Wreath Clean up.
  • Promotion night saw the advancement of senior members as well as cadets and the formal presentation of Maryland Wing awards were made. See the 2018 January Promotion post for more detail.
  • Commander Smith-Velazquez, senior member Madsen, cadets Madsen and Grasley joined Carroll Composite Squadron on a visit to the Smithsonian Aerospace Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


  • Cadet  Staff Sergeant Grasley leads the charge to gain Ground Team certification and attends the Ground Ops Academy. Introductory User Training Communications (ICUT) was conducted by Cadet Mullaney, a radio enthusiast, working on his evaluator qualifications. His teaching material and performance was evaluated by senior evaluators in attendance. This was a great example of cadets stepping up to lead.
  • Captain Iacarino visited the squadron to speak on the subject of summer encampment. More than a “boot camp” it’s a week long exercise in personal growth, self-discipline and leadership. Cadets make new friends, experience new activities, achieve self knowledge and earn bragging rights.
  • Maryland Wing Subordinate Unit Inspection occurred on promotion night. Cadet staff stepped up and conducted the night’s program while the Commander and senior members assisted in the inspection.  Mt Airy Composite Squadron did very well on their inspection and are relieved to put it behind them and focus on new goals.
  • Cadets Katherine Grasley and Dylan Marty achieved the Wright Brothers Milestone Award. Cadet Deputy Commander James Buchheit achieved his General Billy Mitchell Milestone Award. A formal presentation of the Mitchell award will be made when the numbered certificate is received.


  • The Ground Ops Academy is gaining squadron cadet interest. Cadets Staff Sergeant Dylan Marty and Airman Conner Snyder join Staff Sergeant Katherine Grasley. The training continues and field experience is added to the mix.
  • Cadets fill out Summer Encampment registration and scholarship forms.
  • Aerospace night had the cadets experimenting with fundamentals of physics and exploring design skills and creative thinking to save the egg.
  • Cadets Buzzard, Marty and Madsen join Captain Winters at the annual Kiwanis of Frederick All U Can Eat Pancake Breakfast.
  • Fourth week Promotion night was cancelled due to bad weather and Carroll County school closing.
  • Fifth week Thursday was held at the Izaak Walton League (IWL). Operational Risk Management was cadet led and Steve Barton, IWL, conducted safety training.

Mt Airy Civil Air Patrol Squadron joins thousands of Wreaths Across America supporters at Arlington National Cemetery

15 December 2017. Arlington, Va. Mt Airy composite squadron partnered with Maryland Wing (MDWG) members, other Civil Air Patrol (CAP) regional representatives and community volunteers at the Wreaths Across America (WAA) annual event held at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC). Occurring yearly in December, National Wreaths Across America Day, brings together volunteers around the nation with a mission to Remember, Honor and Teach at coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and at over 1,400 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad. CAP, the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, has been an avid supporter of Wreaths Across America and its mission since the program’s inception in 1992.

CAP is committed to encourage and train its members to provide community services that include honor and color guards for ceremonies, logistic distribution, radio communications, sponsorship and aerospace education. Mt Airy squadron worked to raise wreath sponsorships for the ANC event during the 2017. In preparation for the event, cadet major (C/Maj) Daniel Flanick discussed the value of freedom and trained Mt Airy seniors, cadets and community volunteers in the customs and courtesies to be observed when laying wreaths; remembering the fallen and honoring those who served.

On the National WAA Day, Mt Airy cadets provided an honor guard and joined with over 75,000 other volunteers in placing wreaths upon ANC gravesites of the men and women who have served America. This year’s large crowd at ANC placed more than 245,000 wreaths at gravesites of U.S. service members. It was an awe inspiring day as participating volunteers stopped to observe and photograph the many solemn deeds. Throughout the day, many participants and attendees were heard to comment “I like the show of respect.”

Mt Airy squadron members returned to Arlington National Cemetery on January 20, 2018, to assist in the cleanup day, commonly known as ‘Wreaths Out.’ The day’s mild temperature and clear skies brought volunteers out in droves. By 8:45 a.m., the cemetery headstones were clear of wreaths, the dumpsters full and the cleanup complete. “This is a day where the wreaths so solemnly placed on the headstones of our nation’s fallen service members and their families are respectfully removed by volunteers,” said Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, Katharine Kelley.

Taking into account the well-known historical sites in ANC, cadets and seniors took advantage of the opportunity to also view the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and visit the Arlington House, John F. Kennedy’s Eternal Flame and the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. Witnessing the time-honored ceremonies, discovering the rich history and reflecting on the many sacrifices made by our military men and women, the Mt Airy members achieved the Wreaths Across America mission to Remember, Honor and Teach.

2018 January Promotions Meeting

2018 January 25, Mt Airy, MD Promotion night meeting, held every fourth week of the month was held at the Mt Airy VFW, 1900 (7:30pm). Mt Airy Composite Squadron’s opening ceremony and inspection was followed with leadership education, conducted by cadet Master Sergeant Albertson. Albertson incorporated a knowledge game to create friendly competition between cadet teams and reinforce knowledge gained. Major Flanick and First Lieutenant Buzzard reviewed etiquette and formality used while conducting a Promotion Review Board (PRB). Cadets took turns approaching and conducting a promotion board.

The first promotion night of the year saw the advancement of cadets, senior members and the presentation of awards.

  • Promotion:
    • Cadet Senior Airman Jackson Varley
    • Cadet Senior Airman Katherine Grasley
    • Cadet Major Daniel Flanick
    • 1st Lieutenant Mary Alvarado
  • Awards:
    • 2017 December Cadet of the Month –C/SrA Katherine Grasley
    • 2017 Cadet of the 4th Quarter – C/SrA Katherine Grasley
    • Maryland Wing Outstanding Cadet Officer of the Year – C/Maj Daniel Flanick
    • Maryland Wing Finance Officer of the Year – 2d Lt Patti Messick
  • Training Achievement:
    • Senior Member Linda Grasley
    • Senior Member Dawn Madsen

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