Lt. Col. Phil Zedonek Receives the Exceptional Service Award
Filed under Region Hq, Florida Wing, Group 3 on Friday, August 11, 2017 by Author: Maj. Marian Motyl-Szary.

Lt. Col. Phil Zedonek was welcomed to his new “home” – Hillsborough One Senior Squadron (HOSS) – in Tampa on August 1st. 

Lt. Col. Zedonek is well known for his considerable contributions to Civil Air Patrol Florida Wing.  His service includes duty as a Mission Pilot, Mission Scanner, Mission Observer, Safety Officer, Skills Evaluator and Flight Release Officer.  He has served as Group Deputy Commander, Florida Wing Vice Commander, Personnel Officer, Aerospace Education Officer, Government Liaison Officer and Wing Inspector General.  He completed Level 5 of the CAP professional development program in July 2011 and holds a Master or Senior level rating in five specialty tracks.

At his welcome to the squadron, Maj. Sam Chiodo and Capt. Art Stoutenburg  represented Florida Wing Commander Col. Luis Garcia to present Lt. Col. Zedonek with the prestigious Exceptional Service Award.  This recent award will be an excellent accompaniment to the Commander’s Commendation Award presented to him earlier this year.

"In the ten years that Lt.Col. Zedonek has served the Florida Wing, he has always stepped up to the many challenges set before him," said Chiodo. "He has served in the most professional manner with the goal of making the Florida Wing the most successful operation in the Southeast Region."  

"The award is a reflection of the respect many members hold for Lt. Col. Zedonek and our sincere appreciation for the many jobs well done."

Civil Air Patrol South Lakeland Composite Squadron Cadets Excel at CFAA
Filed under Florida Wing, Cadet Programs, Group 3 on Friday, August 11, 2017 by Author: 2nd Lt. James Chamberland Sr..

South Lakeland Composite Squadron Cadets’ C/SMSgt Jake Chamberland and C/A1C Justin Grenkowski attended the week long Air Force JROTC Leadership Camp conducted at Lakeland's Central Florida Aerospace Academy. The program was an opportunity for new incoming freshmen (AS1) to train alongside more experienced AFJROTC students. The Leadership Camp cumulated with a graduation ceremony and award presentation for top students. Civil Air Patrol Cadets excelled throughout the week. Cadet Chamberland took home the award for "Top Drill", besting all cadets, including the upperclassmen. His flight also won the "Top Flight Award". Congratulations C/SMSgt Chamberland & C/A1C Grenkowski upon graduating, earning top awards and representing CAP so well! Semper Vigilans!

Civil Air Patrol Presents Awards to Senator Stargel and Representative Combee
Filed under Region Hq, Florida Wing, Cadet Programs, Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4, Group 5, Group 6, Group 7 on Friday, August 11, 2017 by Author: Florida Wing Public Affairs.

The Florida Wing of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) recognized Senator Kellie Stargel, Florida 22nd District, and Representative Neil Combee, Florida 39th District, on Wednesday, August 2nd for sponsoring the Civil Air Patrol Leave Act in the Florida House and Senate.

Representing CAP for the award presentation at Senator Stargel’s Lakeland office were: Col. Luis Garcia, Commander, Florida Wing; Col. Sergio Seaone, Commander, Florida Wing Legislative Squadron and Lt. Col. Phil Zedonek, past Florida Wing Government Liaison Advisor.

The bill passed both the Florida House and Senate unanimously and was signed into law in May by Governor Rick Scott. The Act states that an important state interest is fulfilled by allowing Senior Members of the Florida Wing of Civil Air Patrol to take authorized Civil Air Patrol leave. Legislation took effect on July 1 of this year.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 58,000 members nationwide and over 3,000 members in Florida Wing. Civil Air Patrol volunteers perform inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. They also perform homeland security, disaster relief, and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state, and local agencies.

In 2016, one of the many missions in which Florida Wing’s unpaid professionals participated was during Hurricane Matthew. Civil Air Patrol members served in several capacities before, during, and after the hurricane, including flying numerous sorties for over a week after the storm to take aerial photographs of storm damaged areas along the Florida coastline for various agencies.

In order to work disaster and emergency services (ES) missions and to acquire the necessary training to serve on ES teams, Civil Air Patrol members sometimes have to take time from their paid jobs.

The Civil Air Patrol Leave Act provides certain employment protections for members of the Florida Wing of the Civil Air Patrol who are absent from their place of employment due to service or training with the Civil Air Patrol.

The value of CAP volunteer efforts for 2016 in Florida was estimated at $9.6 million.

At the presentation, Senator Kelli Stargel said, “Civil Air Patrol is a valuable asset of volunteers that corrals needed resources when our community needs them most. This is the kind of policy we should be pushing in our state. I am glad to have sponsored this legislations and grateful that it was passed into law.”

“I was happy to work with Senator Stargel in sponsoring this legislation. It offers protection for those who are volunteering their time and effort for a vital service,” Representative Combee added.

This past weekend, Florida Wing underwent an evaluation of its emergency and disaster response teams by the U.S. Air Force liaison to Civil Air Patrol. The Deputy Incident Commander for Civil Air Patrol for the exercise, Lt. Col. George McCord of the Boca Raton Composite Squadron, was the first in the state to use the Civil Air Patrol Leave Act to attend the training exercise and evaluation.

“Without the Leave Act in place, I might not have been able to participate in this vital exercise for Civil Air Patrol and Florida Wing,” said Lt. Col. McCord. “My supervisor was supportive, but it gave him the extra support he needed to give me the time off. I am thankful we have this legislation in place to support me and other Florida Wing members in our effort to serve our communities in times of need.”

Fruit Cove Cadets Graduate from Hawk Mountain SAR School
Filed under Florida Wing, Cadet Programs, Group 2 on Friday, July 28, 2017 by Author: Maj. Dennis Maloney.

Four cadets from Fruit Cove Cadet Squadron (SER-FL-171) – C/CMSgt Max Abreu, C/TSgt Sam Schoenherr, C/SMSgt Spencer Charles, and C/CMSgt Benjamin Uy – recently graduated from Hawk Mountain Search and Rescue School in Kempton, Pa., after a challenging and rigorous week of training.

The cadets followed a squadron tradition that has sent members to the popular National Cadet Special Activity conducted by PAWG every summer since the unit was started three years ago.

“Our cadets absolutely enjoy going there,” said Squadron Commander Capt. Al Uy. “They seem to like the thrill and confidence that they get from the experience.”

For Cadet Abreu, it meant a return to Hawk Mountain for a third year but his first as a staff member. “This was a real opportunity for me to share my experience and knowledge with the basics,” he recalled.

“I am very proud that Max served on the Hawk Mountain staff,” added Capt. Uy. “He has shown so much maturity since attending the school along with improving his leadership skills. He was really a great representative for our squadron and FLWG.”

The Fruit Cove cadets came away from Hawk Mountain with lots of memories.

Cadet Charles learned many new skills, including rappelling. “That was my favorite activity,” he remembers. “Somehow I was able to relax and fall down a 168 foot tall tower.”

“I had to call on lots of mental and physical strength when they put us through some vigorous courses,” said Cadet Uy. “But I made it.”

Charlotte County Honor Guard Takes Lead at Minor League Game
Filed under Florida Wing, Cadet Programs, Group 5 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 by Author: Lt. Col. Jeff P. Carlson.

The color guard from the Charlotte County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol presented the colors during the opening ceremony of a baseball game between the Palm Beach Cardinals and Charlotte Stone Crabs on July 3rd.

“It was a major honor for our cadets to be invited to present our nation’s flag at the Charlotte Sports Park,” said Maj. Earle Bretz.

Training to Air Force standards, the color guard is just one of many activities in the cadet program that foster CAP core values of respect, integrity, excellence and volunteer service. Cadets in the Honor Guard program are trained to meet a high-level of professionalism and be “driven to excel by a strong sense of dedication, patriotism, love for my fellow man, God, Country, and Civil Air Patrol”. The CAP program is designed to develop leadership and good citizenship in America's youth, using aerospace education, Air Force role models and emphasis on public service.

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