National Commander visits Tennessee university
Monday, April 15, 2019

By Public Affairs Team, Southeast Region

Murfreesboro, Tenn. -

Civil Air Patrol’s national commander, Maj. Gen. Mark E. Smith, visited Middle Tennessee State University recently to celebrate the fifth year of the partnership between MTSU’s Department of Aerospace and the Tennessee Wing of the U.S. Air Force auxiliary.

MTSU’s leadership, including President Sidney A. McPhee and Provost Mark Byrnes, rolled out the True Blue carpet for Smith, who leads more than 60,000 volunteers in fulfilling its congressionally chartered missions of emergency services, cadet programs, and aerospace education.

“We are honored to welcome General Smith and his leadership team to our campus,” McPhee said. “This is yet another productive partnership that allows our university to connect with great prospective students and help serve our community.”\

The university’s College of Basic and Applied Sciences, through its Aerospace department, first inked a partnership with CAP’s Tennessee Wing in 2014 to provide cadets ages 12 to 18 with opportunities to interact with faculty and explore the Murfreesboro campus.

“Civil Air Patrol’s partnership with MTSU is a model that we hope to replicate throughout the country,” said Smith, also CAP’s chief executive officer. “It adds value to our cadet program and helps this great university reach out to excellent prospective students.”

Smith’s day on campus began with a lecture on principles of leadership to about 100 students sponsored by University Honors College and Omicron Delta Kappa.

The general, along with John Salvador, the organization’s chief operating officer, and several senior CAP officers were to tour MTSU’s $3.2 million, 360-degree air traffic control simulator, along with other aerospace labs on campus and at the Murfreesboro Airport.

McPhee hosted a lunch briefing for Smith and his team about MTSU’s partnership with Delta Propel, a special relationship with MTSU Aerospace that allows the airline to identify promising student pilots that lead to qualified job offers before graduation.

Afterward, Smith, a former Air Force fighter pilot and Operation Desert Storm veteran, was honored in a special ceremony at MTSU’s Veterans Memorial, hosted by retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, the university’s senior advisor for veterans and leadership initiatives.

CAP, headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, was founded in 1941, just days before the start of World War II.

MTSU’s close ties with CAP stretch back to July 1948, when CAP’s former Middle Tennessee State College Squadron was organized and MTSU’s Department of Aerospace was just six years old.

MTSU hosted the Tennessee Wing Cadet Encampment in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and welcomed the 2019 encampment’s leadership cadre to campus earlier this month.

Also, for the third consecutive year, MTSU this summer will host the CAP Engineering Technology Academy, a national cadet special activity that attracts about 40 prospective students nationwide to learn about aerospace and engineering technology.

MTSU hosted the Tennessee Wing Cadet Encampment in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and welcomed the 2019 encampment’s leadership cadre to campus earlier this year.

Also, for the third consecutive year, MTSU this summer will host the CAP Engineering Technology Academy, a national cadet special activity that attracts about 40 prospective students nationwide to learn about aerospace and engineering technology.

Col. Dent Young, commander of CAP’s Tennessee Wing, has called MTSU “a valuable partner in many ways but especially in our successful and growing cadet program.” Cadets comprise 500 of the wing’s 1,000 members.

Bud Fischer, dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, encouraged faculty from Aerospace, Engineering Technology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, and Military Science departments to engage with the cadets throughout the partnership.

"MTSU has the academic programs that many of these outstanding cadets will pursue in college,” McPhee said. “These events give them a sneak peek of what’s possible.”

MTSU lured the Engineering Technology Academy away from Auburn University, a point of pride for MTSU alumnus and Southeast Region commander Col. Barry Melton, who oversees CAP wings in five states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“I am proud that my alma mater has established such a strong partnership with our organization,” Melton said. “It truly is a win-win.”

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, MTSU's senior advisor (left); CAP Maj. Gen. Mark Smith; and MTSU Provost Mark Byrnes.
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Photo Caption:  Retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, MTSU's senior advisor (left); CAP Maj. Gen. Mark Smith; and MTSU Provost Mark Byrnes.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP’s 57,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com for more information.
Visit the Southeast Region Civil Air Patrol at https://sercap.us and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sercap

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