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Saturday
Jul152017

Southwest Region's Col. Mark Smith Named CAP's Next CEO/National Commander

New Top Senior Leader Will Assume Command at 2017 National Conference in San Antonio

Col. Mark Smith has been selected as Civil Air Patrol’s next chief executive officer and national commander by the organization’s Board of Governors.

A change of command ceremony with Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez, current CEO/national commander, will be held during CAP’s National Conference in San Antonio on Sept. 2.

Smith, Civil Air Patrol’s Southwest Region commander, will serve as the organization’s top senior leader for the next three years. As CAP’s 24th CEO/national commander, Smith will lead CAP’s 57,000 members across the U.S. in fulfilling the organization’s three congressionally chartered missions — emergency services, cadet programs and aerospace education.

“Col. Smith has the right blend of leadership skills, qualifications and experience to lead Civil Air Patrol into the future,” said retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Judy Fedder, chair of CAP’s Board of Governors. “The members of the Board of Governors look forward to working with Col. Smith to continuously improve the organization in support of the outstanding service our members provide to their communities, states and nation.”

Smith has excelled in Civil Air Patrol as a commander at the squadron, wing and region levels. He has completed all five levels of the CAP professional development (PD) program. He earned PD master ratings in command and safety as well as a senior rating in aerospace education. He has also earned an executive rating in CAP’s Organizational Excellence program.

He also heads up CAP’s Leadership Development Working Group, which is a national-level team that has developed products, tools and courses to better equip CAP’s leaders at all levels for success. The group recently released a highly acclaimed Unit Commander’s Course.

“Col Smith represents the best of the executive volunteer leaders in Civil Air Patrol today,” said Vazquez. “His leadership of Southwest Region, as well as work on a new generation of squadron and wing commander training, greatly benefits all CAP members. He is a great choice to succeed me, and I look forward to working with him to achieve a smooth transition.”

In addition to his experience in CAP, Smith has 43 years of leadership experience in the Air Force, industry and other nonprofit volunteer organizations. His background includes experience with strategic planning, leading change, positively influencing organizational culture and motivating units to achieve higher levels of performance. He is also passionate about servant leadership and helping organizational members achieve their full potential.

Smith has a doctorate in education in ethical leadership from Olivet Nazarene University, a master’s of aviation management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a bachelor’s in international affairs from the U.S. Air Force Academy. He is a graduate of the Air Force’s Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College.

“The selection process for national commander was revised five years ago to reflect the needs of the organization,” said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Marné Peterson, chair of the Board of Governors’ personnel committee. “The board is excited to announce Col. Smith’s selection as the next national commander/CEO and we are confident he will serve the organization and its members extremely well in the coming years.”

After being notified of his selection, Smith said, “I am excited to be given the opportunity to serve as Civil Air Patrol’s next CEO and national commander. I look forward to partnering with our phenomenal volunteers and staff to take our organization to even greater levels of excellence in service to community, state and nation.”

Saturday
Jul152017

NASA: Experience the 2017 Total Eclipse

 

On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse.

This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk.

NASA created a website,  https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/, to provide a guide to this amazing event. Here you will find activities, events, broadcasts, and resources from NASA and their partners across the nation.

 

Saturday
Jul152017

Air Force Fighter Pilots Of The Year Announced

The Air Force announced the recipients of the 2016 Air Force Fighter Annual Awards in May 2017.

The award is designed to recognize fighter pilots and weapon systems officers’ commitment, performance, leadership and aviation skills that were instrumental to mission success of their units, the U.S. Air Force and the Defense Department.

The awards board comprised of qualified 11F and 12F officers and senior leaders reviewed major commands submissions for the top Air Force fighter pilots and WSOs and selected winners based solely on primary, flight-related duties.

“By recognizing our most talented fighter pilots and WSOs at the unit, MAJCOM ,and Air Force levels, the fighter awards demonstrate the value the Air Force holds in primary mission accomplishment,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Nowland, the deputy chief of staff of operations. “To be recognized as the best means you are the most lethal aviator we have in our Air Force. Congratulations, that is awesome.”

2016 Air Force Fighter Award Winners:

• Fighter Instructor Pilot of the Year: Maj. John R. Widmer, 314th Fighter Squadron, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico

• Fighter Instructor Combat Systems Officer of the Year: Capt. Kari M. Armstrong, 389th Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho

• Fighter Flight Lead of the Year: Capt. Victor V. Ditommaso, 421st Fighter Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah

• Fighter Wingman of the Year: Capt. Michael R. McLain, 480th Fighter Squadron Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany

• Fighter Combat Systems Officer of the Year: Capt. Justin S. Dickinson, 391st Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho

“The tremendous mission accomplishment represented by the endeavors of these officers is truly extraordinary,” said Maj. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm, the Air Force assistant deputy chief of staff of operations. “We look forward to their continued success and contributions to the United States Air Force.”

 

Saturday
Jul152017

The Aerospace Center for Excellence Will be “Aligning the Stars for Students” Thanks to GiveWell Community Foundation

The Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) will align the stars for students by bringing the only public planetarium to residents in Polk County thanks to GiveWell Community Foundation’s Impact Polk Annual Grant Program. 

Polk County is currently home to more than 160 schools and 97,000 students, making it the eighth largest school district in the State of Florida. The planetarium will be used as a teaching tool during school visits and reside on the Sun ‘n Fun Expo campus in the interactive learning lab for group tours and general museum guests. Since the planetarium is portable, the Aerospace Center for Excellence plans to visit approximately 25 public schools per school year, reaching close to 625 students in the Polk County area. ACE plans to deliver the experience to approximately 5,000 more individuals throughout the year during their summer camps, group tours, on-site educational activities and the annual Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In & Expo.

With this experience, students will be able to immediately apply knowledge learned to core concepts taught in the classroom, as well as, be able to analyze and understand related text, teachings, and problems encountered in the future that reflect lifelong educational benefits.

Richele Floyd, Education Director at the Aerospace Center for Excellence, says this addition to the Education Corridor on the Sun ‘n Fun Expo Campus will be a great tool for educators and students alike.

“We are excited to offer this technology within our existing, year-round, educational programs at ACE,” Floyd said. “The planetarium will be a valuable tool for educators and will provide students with a memorable experience on our campus or in their own classroom.”

The project is funded through a grant from George W. Jenkins Fund within the GiveWell Community Foundation.

For more information on this portable planetarium, contact Richele Floyd at 863-644-2431 or email her at RFloyd@flysnf.org. More information about Aerospace Center for Excellence educational programs can be found at www.flysnf.org

Saturday
Jul152017

FAA Establishes Drone I.D. Rulemaking Committee

Whose drone is that? It’s a critical question for law enforcement and homeland security when an unmanned aircraft (UAS) appears to be flying in an unsafe manner or where it’s not supposed to fly.

Currently, there are no established requirements or voluntary standards for electrically broadcasting information to identify an unmanned aircraft while it’s in the air. To help protect the public and the National Airspace System from these “rogue” drones, the FAA is setting up a new Aviation Rulemaking Committee that will help the agency create standards for remotely identifying and tracking unmanned aircraft during operations. The rulemaking committee planned to hold its first meeting June 21-23 in Washington, DC.

The group’s membership represents a diverse variety of stakeholders, including the unmanned aircraft industry, the aviation community and industry member organizations, manufacturers, researchers, and standards groups. The rulemaking committee will have several major tasks to:

  • Identify, categorize and recommend available and emerging technologies for the remote identification and tracking of UAS.
  • Identify requirements for meeting the security and public safety needs of law enforcement, homeland defense, and national security communities for remote identification and tracking.
  • Evaluate the feasibility and affordability of the available technical solutions, and determine how well they address the needs of law enforcement and air traffic control communities.

Eventually the recommendations it produces could help pave the way for drone flights over people and beyond visual line of sight.

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