On Monday, January 22, 2018, former cadet First Lieutenant Timothy Blake assumed command of the Bessemer Composite Squadron, the largest squadron in the state of Alabama, becoming the youngest Squadron Commander in the Alabama Wing at age 23.
Lieutenant Blake has been a member of the Civil Air Patrol since he was 14. Initially, it was a Civil Air Patrol Drug Demand Reduction presentation at Robert F. Bumpus Middle School in Hoover that attracted Blake to the cadet programs; but it was his love of aviation that led him to become a member.
As a cadet, Lieutenant Blake earned his Earhart Award and used the Aviation Initiative for Cadets to earn his private pilot's license at a fraction of the cost. This helped him attain his FAA Instrument Rating as he worked toward his Commercial Pilot license. Without this program, Lieutenant Blake isn't sure he would have known where to start his aviation career.
Free orientation flights were Lieutenant Blake's favorite aspect of the cadet program. Those flights launched his excitement for aviation into a full-blown passion for flying. Leadership training and opportunities as a cadet prepared him for his role as a commander.
Lieutenant Blake is excited about becoming a Squadron Commander after growing up in the cadet program. He believes that experience gave him a unique understanding and perspective as a commander that will benefit the squadron as a whole. His advice to cadets is to take advantage of every opportunity and don't give up because you never know where you will find yourself or who you will be leading in the future.
Lieutenant Blake extends his thanks to Instructor Pilot Lieutenant Colonel John Rhoades for working diligently with him during his pilot training. Deputy Commander for Cadets Captain Selene Vaught for shepherding him through his cadet program years, giving him a strong understanding of all aspects of the cadet program and providing a solid structure of organization, and former Bessemer Composite Squadron Commander Captain Robert Newsome for mentoring him in his transition into his new role as Squadron Commander.
Lastly, Lieutenant Blake extends his thanks to Alabama Wing Commander Colonel Brett Lewis and the Bessemer Composite Squadron for entrusting him with the honor of becoming Squadron Commander.