Medal of Honor recipient to speak at Ft. Mitchell, Ala., Wreath-Laying Ceremony
Filed under Region Hq, Alabama Wing, Georgia Wing, Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters, Group 1, Group 3 on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 by Author: Maj Jonathan W. Lartigue, Southeast Region Public Affairs.

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins is awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama at the White House ceremony on September 15th, 2014. CSM Adkins will be the Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker at the local Wreaths Across America ceremony to be held December 13th, 2014 at Ft. Mitchell National Cemetery in Ft. Mitchell, Alabama at 12:00 Eastern. (Photo Credit: US Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Bernardo Fuller)

Ret. Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins to be Guest of Honor at Wreaths Across America ceremony at Ft. Mitchell National Cemetery

By LtCol. Chris Tate and Maj. Jonathan Lartigue

Ft. Mitchell National Cemetery, Ala.- Recent Medal of Honor recipient Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Bennie Adkins, USA Ret., will be the guest of honor and keynote speaker at this a wreath-laying ceremony at noon Eastern Standard Time on Saturday, December 13th, 2014, at Ft. Mitchell National Cemetery, located on Alabama-Georgia border near Ft. Beginning, Ga.

The event, part of the national Wreaths Across America wreath-laying event, is held annually in each December. Wreath-laying ceremonies are laid simultaneously at each national cemetery in the U.S. and overseas. Each year, the Auburn Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol, in coordination with Ft. Mitchell National Cemetery and other area organizations, hosts this memorial event. The public is encouraged to attend and participate.

During the ceremony, CSM Bennie Adkins will be the keynote speaker, and will help place ceremonial wreaths in honor of the Armed Services and our Prisoners Of War/Missing In Action (POW/MIA). CSM Adkins, a native of Opelika, Ala., served with Special Forces for more than 13 years, including three non-consecutive tours in Vietnam. He received the Medal of Honor in September for his actions in Vietnam's A Shau Valley in 1966.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the public is invited to help place the hundreds of live wreaths on the headstones of the heroes laid to rest at Ft. Mitchell National Cemetery. Wreaths will be provided to those who attend.

The mission of the Wreaths Across America event is to ":Remember, Honor and Teach": remember the fallen; honor those who have and are currently serving in our Armed Services, as well as their families; and to teach our youth about the sacrifices made on our behalf.

Live wreaths may be sponsored by the public, and can be done online by visiting and clicking on the “Sponsor Locally” button. Enter the code "AL0007" in the “Find a Fundraising Group,” box. The Civil Air Patrol does not receive any funds from this event, but for every two wreaths you sponsored a third is donated to the cemetery by the Wreaths Across America organization. Wreaths can also be sponsored for a specific person, and those not able to attend in person can contact the Auburn Composite Squadron by email at to have a memorial wreath laid at a specific gravesite.

Group 3 holds Commander’s Call
Filed under Florida Wing, Group 3 on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 by Author: Lt Col Joyce Nader, Pinellas Senior Sq., Florida Wing.

Photo:  Group 3 Staff Members attend Commander's Call

Group 3 holds Commander’s Call

Dateline:  November 13, 2014, Tampa Executive Airport, Hillsborough One Squadron

By: Lt Col Joyce Nader, PAO, PIO (T), Legal Officer, FL 182


Group 3 Commander, Maj Steve Lampasona, held a Commander’s Call on November 13, 2104, at the Hillsborough One Squadron, hosted by Maj Sam Chiodo.

Twelve members of the Group 3 staff were in attendance, along with two guests.

Maj Lampasona stated that “it has been a busy and productive year for Group 3, including the installation of new squadron commanders in the Group. Our year concluded with a well attended and well organized banquet, and we hope to continue that tradition in the upcoming year.”

The meeting opened with a Safety Briefing conducted by Maj Ross Statham, newly transferred from the Georgia Wing.

The Safety Briefing was followed by staff reports covering a myriad of topics: Administration,  the Group 3 website,  the SUI process, a status update on standards for aerial photography, finances including the Group 3 banquet,  the Commander Specialty Track, and upcoming activities and events.

The main topics of interest were the upcoming 2015 Sun n Fun, and the annual Wreaths Across America.

Capt Trishia King will serve as the 2015 liaison for Sun n Fun, with Maj Jim Peto, Group 3 Deputy Commander, volunteering to be the Senior Project Officer. An extensive discussion followed concerning logistics and qualifications to assist at the annual Sun n Fun event.

The highlight of the meeting was presented by Lt Col Larry Fernald, Operations and Maintenance Officer for Group 3. He announced that Group 3 was receiving a newly refurbished aircraft, a Cessna 172. This aircraft is the first completely refurbished aircraft to be assigned to the Florida Wing. This aircraft is in essence almost new since it has a new engine/propeller, avionics, interior and paint.

Group 3 was assigned this aircraft because of its high usage of aircraft for Cadet O Flights, proficiency flights, and the high number of hours flown in the previous aircraft by seniors and cadets.

The meeting concluded with Maj Lampasona thanking everyone for their help and hard work in making this a successful and productive year for Group 3.



Major Jessica Stearns Takes Command Of Naples Senior Squadron
Filed under Florida Wing, Group 5 on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 by Author: 2nd Lt Donald Binner, Naples Senior Squadron, Florida Wing.

Photo: Major Jessica Stearns accepts command of Naples Senior Squadron from Group Commander, Lt. Col. Raymond Rosenberg. (CAP photo)

NAPLES, Fla., - Reaching out and taking a firm grip on the flagstaff, Jessica Stearns said “I accept command”. In doing so, she assumed the responsibilities for leading the Naples Senior Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.

The Change of Command ceremony, held at the Naples Squadron hanger on Saturday, September 20, 2014, hosted over 100 local attendees. It followed in a time-honored military tradition allowing witness of outgoing Squadron Commander Captain Judy Schiff transferring command to incoming Commander Major Jessica Stearns.

Civil Air Patrol past Commander Lt Col Tom Kuznar opened the formal ceremony. The CAP Naples Cadet Color Guard presented the Colors, which was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. The invocation by Rev. Donald Treglown was followed by remarks by friends of Naples Senior Squadron, community leaders, guests and past Commanders.

The Change of Command ceremony is a military ceremony dating back over 300 years. It is the formal transfer of authority to the incoming Commander that consists of the out-going Commander passing the unit flag, or Colors, to the next Commander. The tradition publicly announces the official transfer of power, unbroken leadership and unit fidelity to the next Commander

The event continued with remarks by CAP Group 5 Commander Lt. Colonel Ray Rosenberg. The history of the Naples CAP was then given by Lt. Col. Tom Kuznar. It started in 1952 with a common group interest in aviation and patriotism. A Charter was issued in 1957 that officially recognized Florida Squadron 023. The group continued to grow and with the inclusion of cadets expanded its service to community by offering Cadet Programs, aerospace education and emergency services. Past support included over-flights of the Deep Horizon oil spill and Naples CAP continues to provide community support. He continued with a letter from Florida Congressman Curt Clawson praising the Civil Air Patrol for its dedication to Cadet Programs, education, and also to Senior Members for Emergency Services and its contributions to the local community.

Lt. Col. David Moruzzi expounded on the history and relationship of the Ft Myers Coast Guard Auxiliary with the Naples Civil Air Patrol. We have shared interested in community safety and to provide assistance in the form of coastal flights used to spot troubled boaters.

Collier County Commissioner Diane Fiala also reiterated the close ties Naples Civil Air Patrol has to the local government and community. She reminded all of the service CAP provides to Naples in the form of emergency services that include assistance to the Sheriff’s Department and staffing the hurricane shelter located in Golden Gate High School.

Naples Airport Authority Mr. Ted Soliday also remarked on the close ties with the Civil Air Patrol and of our common goal of promoting air safety. He also commended Capt Schiff of the valuable assistance Cap senior member provided to the overall success at the recent simulated disaster response event held at Naples Airport. The Civil Air Patrol recently honored Mr. Soliday with the Brewer Award. It recognizes his outstanding contribution to youth aerospace activities.

The actual transfer was officiated by CAP Lt. Col Rosenberg and assisted by the Naples Cadet Color Guard, who then handed the Colors to the Commander. Captain Schiff took the Colors, turned and said, “I relinquish command.” Major Stearns received the Colors and said “I accept command.” The Colors were returned to the Cadet Color Guard and retired. The Squadron’s Commander’s badge was surrendered by Capt. Schiff and pinned to the new Naples CAP Commander Major Jessica Stearns.

Major Stearns has a long and storied history with the Civil Air Patrol, the US Air Force and aviation. She served the aviation community for 58 years: 20 years in the Air Force and 16 years in commercial aviation and 35 years with the Civil Air Patrol. She began as a Cadet and graduated from the first Officers Training School (OTS) to become a CAP pilot at the age of 17. In 1960 enlisted in the USAF, in 1968 went to Viet Nam, flew 381 combat missions, earned 33 impressive awards including (2) Distinguished Flying Cross and 14 Viet Nam Campaign Medals, then retired from the USAF with an inpressive 6800 flying hours.

Her civilian work career began with Peoples Express, then Continental, now United Airlines, flying Boeing 727 and 737’s as First Officer and Captain, retired in 1980 with over 20,000 hours to Bonita Springs, Florida. She has an earned MBA from Golden Gate University, San Francisco. In 2011 was presented with the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilots Award for over 50 years of dedicated service, technical expertise and professionalism. She continues to share her expertise by providing training to student pilots.

Also in attendance at this special event was past Naples Squadron Commanders Lt. Col. David Moruzzi, Lt. Col Andrew Eliopoclos, Lt. Col. Charles Dinsmoor and Major Humbert Gressani. Representing Marco Island CAP included Commander Capt. Robert Corriveau. Special thanks to all other attendees who made this a truly special occasion.

C/Col Joshua Lewis receives Spaatz Award at Group 3 Annual Awards Banquet
Filed under Region Hq, Florida Wing, Cadet Programs, Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7, Group 800, Florida Feature on Friday, October 24, 2014 by Author: Lt Col Joyce Nader, Pinellas Senior Sq., Florida Wing.

Photo:  Spaatz recipient C/Col Lewis, Maj Gen Schoeppner, with proud parents Mike and Laura Lewis

C/Col Joshua Lewis receives  Spaatz Award at Group 3 Annual Awards Banquet

Dateline:   October 18, 2014, Clearwater, FL

By:    Joyce Nader, Lt Col, PAO, Legal Officer, FL 182, and

         Adam Borgman, 2d Lt, PAO, FL 447


Florida Wing Group 3 seniors and cadets meet in Clearwater, FL, on October 11, 2014, for their annual banquet.  Among the members in attendance, Maj Steve Lampasona, Group 3 Commander, also welcomed Maj Gen John Schoeppner, USAF (Ret), Col Michael Murrell, CAP National Headquarters, and Capt. Hayden Collins, CAP, Georgia Wing.

During the banquet, the Group recognized many annual award winners, including the Civil Air Patrol's most distinguished  cadet award, the General  Carl A. Spaatz Award, presented to C/Col Joshua Lewis,  FL 447, and the most distinguished senior award, the Level V Gill Robb Wilson Award, given to Maj Jennifer Richards, Florida Wing  staff member.

C/Col Joshua Lewis was presented with the Spaatz Award, the highest and most prestigious honor issued by Civil Air Patrol to a cadet for demonstrating outstanding achievement in leadership, character, fitness, and aerospace education.  This award was presented by the distinguished Maj Gen John Schoeppner, USAF (Ret), who was introduced to the audience by Lt Col Larry Fernald, FL 182.

C/Col Lewis was accompanied by his parents to the Awards Banquet, where he received this high honor. Also present to give him the Spaatz award was his Unit Commander, Maj Yvonne Rodriquez, FL 447, who distinguished herself by being named Senior Member of the Year, 2013, at the same banquet.  

Graciously accepting the Spaatz award from Maj Gen Schoeppner, in front of his proud parents, his unit  commander, and the other admiring cadets and seniors in the audience, C/Col Lewis spoke about the qualities necessary to succeed in not only CAP, but in school, work, and in life.

The Master of Ceremonies for this year’s Group 3 banquet was C/Col Alec Lampasona, a Spaatz award recipient in 2012.  With his admiring parents looking on, C/Col Lampasona officiated with distinction, warmth, and a lot of humor.  Maj Steve Lampasona was seated at the head table, while Maj Joyce Lampasona , Commander of  Wesley Chapel Cadet Squadron, one of the Quality Cadet Unit Award winners,  was seated in the audience, both happily watching their son as the perfect MC for the night.

The keynote address was given by Capt Hayden Collins from the Georgia Wing. He met C/Col Lampasona when young Lampasona attended Collins’ Region Cadet Leadership School. Capt Collins made such an impression with his inspiring message, that he was invited to address the Group 3 banquet cadets and seniors.

In an interview conducted before the banquet, Capt Collins stated, “the leadership of this nation is comprised of the 1 percent. CAP cadets are training to be the next new leaders.” During his address, he echoed those remarks, stating to the cadets in the audience, “You are training to be this nation’s new leaders, the 1 percent. But we need more than one percent to succeed.  Your mission is to make it 2 percent.”  He went on to implore that “one man, one decision can change the course of the country, and make a positive impact.”  Capt Collins concluded by calling upon the audience, the cadets and seniors, to “lead with boldness.”

Other highlights of the banquet were the Presentation of Colors by Clearwater Composite Color Guard; Honor Guard Rifle Performance by Wesley Chapel Honor Guard;  and  POW-MIA Table by North Tampa-Lutz Honor Guard.

The Group 3 Awards were presented by the Group 3 Commander, Maj Lampasona, as assisted by Capt Trisha King, Group 3 Cadet Programs Officer, along with Maj Jim Peto, Group 3 Deputy Commander. The Wing, Region, and National Awards were presented by Col Michael Murrell, CAP National Headquaters.

Along with the many distinguished Cadet, Senior, and Unit awards presented throughout the evening, another high honor was given to Maj Jennifer Richards, who received the highest award presented to a senior member. Maj Richards, who completed Level V, was awarded with the Wilson award.  Maj Richards has distinguished herself in her CAP activities over the years, serving in many different roles. She is now serving as the Florida Wing historian.

  The evening concluded with an After Banquet Dance for the cadets and seniors alike.

The list of award winners for Group 3, prepared by Capt Trisha King,  Cadet Programs Officer, Group 3,  for 2013 (there was no awards banquet) and for 2014 are as follows:                                                 

 Group 3 Banquet Awards 2014

General Carl A. Spaatz Award: C/Col Joshua Lewis Clearwater Composite Squadron FL 447

Amelia Earhart Award: C/Capt Viviana Angelini Clearwater Composite Squadron FL 447

Gill Robb Wilson Award: Maj Jennifer Richards, Florida Wing Staff

Senior Member of the Year:  Capt Samuel Chiodo Hillsborough One Senior Squadron FL 310

Cadets of the Year:

Phase I: C/SrA Aydan Hanthorn FL 301 Hernando County Composite

Phase II: C/SMSgt Samuel Collins FL 243 North Tampa Lutz Cadet

Phase III: C/1st Lt Gretchen Sandorf FL 447 Clearwater Composite

Phase IV: C/Capt Kyle Curabba FL 458 Wesley Chapel Cadet

Commander’s Commendations:

                C/Lt Col Jeremy King, C/2d Lt Hannah Harbridge, and Capt Trisha King for outstanding support to the CAP mission during the 2013 Sun-n-Fun Airshow and Exposition.

                Capt Sam Chiodo for outstanding support to Group 2 in preparation for their SUI.

Southest Region Meritorious Service Award:

                C/Capt Kyle Curabba for outstanding and exceptional service in a position of immense responsibility as the cadet commander and cadet lead instructor at the inaugural Southeast Region Honor Academy in Tennessee June 2014.

Quality Cadet Unit Awards:

                89th MacDill Aviation Cadet Squadron FL089

                Palm Harbor Cadet FL 438

                North Tampa Lutz Cadet Squadron FL 243

                Wesley Chapel Cadet Squadron FL 458

                                          Recognition of 2013 Award Recipients

Senior Member of the Year: Maj Yvonne Rodriguez Clearwater Composite Squadron FL 447

Cadets of the Year:

                Phase I: C/Brandon Wynn Clearwater Composite Squadron

                Phase II: C/Nichole Yager Hernando County Composite Squadron

                Phase III: C/Kyle Curabba Wesley Chapel Cadet Squadron

                Phase IV: C/Miriam Elena Lee Wesley Chapel Cadet Squadron

Air Force Association 2013 National CAP Aerospace Education Cadet of the Year Award:

 C/Lt Col  Jeremy King Polk County Composite Squadron FL 274

The AFA recognizes one CAP cadet for outstanding aerospace education contributions with its national CAP Aerospace Education Cadet of the Year Award. This is an annual award that goes to the most deserving cadet in the nation who has made significant contributions by promoting aerospace education within CAP and the local community.

Seniors and Cadets Work Together to Spruce up Squadron building
Filed under Florida Wing, Group 2 on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 by Author: Lt Col Joyce Nader, Pinellas Senior Sq., Florida Wing.

Photo:  FL 066 cadets helping with cleanup

Dateline:   October 18, 2014,  Albert Whitted Airport

By:   Joyce Nader, Lt Col, PAO, Legal Officer, FL 182

Pinellas Senior Squadron members and St. Petersburg Cadet Squadron members teamed up on October 4, 2014, to spruce up the Unit’s building  located at Albert Whitted Airport.

Eager to get to work,  seniors and cadets met early that morning to share work duties to clean up the grounds around the building. There was a light rain which delayed the start of the joint work project.

Cadets and seniors enjoyed juice, coffee and pastries while they waited for the clouds to break and the rain to stop.

Maj Adrian Cuarta and Lt Ronalee Klase came together to schedule the work party for the benefit of both squadrons.  Maj Cuarta was pleased at the turnout, and said he “enjoyed the collegiality and commraderie and spirit of the group in working together to achieve a common goal.”

He said it was heartening to work with the young cadets and their unit commander Lt Klase, and said “their enthusiasm and work ethic was contagious.”

“Everyone worked hard and broke a sweat and got their hands and elbows dirty”, according to Lt Col McConnell.

Barbara Fernald, spouse of Lt Col Larry Fernald, was the “chef” for the day, grilling  burgers and hot dogs with all the fixings  for the hungry crowd.

The joint work day was a successful effort, and another one will be scheduled soon.

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