In front of a crowd of over two hundred guests, Colonel G. Barry Melton firmly grasped the flag staff held out in front of him bearing the Civil Air Patrol Southeast Region’s Colors. In speaking the words “I accept Command”, Melton began a journey of leading CAP Southeast Region that follows in the footsteps of the 18 commanders who have preceded him since 1948.
Following the change of command ceremony, Colonel Melton stepped to the podium and addressed the members for the first time as Region Commander. “I plan to continue the tradition for the pursuit of excellence that has been established by my predecessors,” said Melton. “Southeast Region maintains the highest operation tempo of all the CAP Regions and it is important that we accomplish our mission in a safe and effective manner.”
Prior to accepting the role of Region Commander, Melton served as Southeast Region Vice Commander. His responsibilities involved overseeing CAP activity across the large operations area. He joined CAP in 1986 as a charter member of the Cleveland, Tennessee Composite Squadron. His distinguished CAP career includes leadership assignments at virtually all levels of the CAP organization including service as a National Board member and Tennessee Wing Commander.
The formal change of command ceremony, a longstanding military tradition, was conducted during the evening banquet at the annual region conference held on June 6, 2015 in Georgia. CAP National Commander, Maj. Gen. Joseph Vazquez, selected Melton to replace outgoing SER Commander, Colonel Alvin J. Bedgood, who has led the Region since 2011.
Colonel Bedgood said, “Southeast Region is the largest CAP Region in terms of membership and plays a leading role with many CAP programs. It has been an honor to lead the Region and its members. We have made great strides in improving our stewardship over the resources entrusted to us by U.S. Air Force and the American people. I am confident that going forward, the CAP Southeast Region is in capable hands under the leadership of Colonel Melton.”
Melton is a Cleveland, TN native and graduate of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Recording Industry Management at MTSU followed by his Master’s degree from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA for Television Production and Programing.
Melton said one of his goals as incoming commander is to ensure that tactical operations work cooperatively between Wings. “With the geographic diversity we have in the Region, it is vital that we can coordinate efforts along state borders and between CAP Regions.”
Southeast Region is comprised of more than 9,000 members and is one of the eight regions of the Civil Air Patrol. The Southeast Region includes the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and United States Virgin Islands.
Traditional Passing of the Colors
Symbolized by the passing of unit Colors, Colonel G. Barry Melton (right) accepts the responsibility of command from CAP National Commander, Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez. (photo: Maj. Jeff Carlson)
This article was produced from the Southeast Region Online News system. Electronic distribution is made possible through syndicated services. For more information, contact the Chief Editor Lt Col Judy Steele at JSteele@sercap.us.