Sunday, December 3, 2017

Squadron 188 at the 2017 California Wing Education Conference

By 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach, photos by Lt Col Crystal Housman except as noted

Opening session at the California Wing (CAWG) Educational Conference on Saturday morning. 

Cadets presenting the Colors at the
opening session.
This year’s California Wing Educational conference was a big success. A number of people from Squadron 188 traveled to Southern California (Ontario) to attend – and in several cases to also present workshops:
  • Maj Wang
  • Maj Luneau
  • Maj Ironfield (CAWG Stan / Eval Officer, co-led the Check Pilots Meeting) 
  • Maj DeFord (CAWG Emergency Services Officer, presented not just one but two Aircrew Track workshops: “Let’s Talk Aircrew – Positions and Responsibilities (MP, MO, MS, AP)*” and “Let’s Talk Aircrew – Briefing and Planning – What are Some of the Key Elements We Tend to Forget and the Interaction with the Base Staff?”)
  • Maj Fridell (CAWG Asst Director of Aerospace Communication, “Winning with Your AE Plan of Action”) 
  • Capt Hayes (CAWG Asst Director of Communications, “What’s New in Communications”) 
  • Capt Brown
  • Capt Eichelberger (led/co-presented: Base Staff Track: “Aerial Photography and Staff Interaction”) 
  • Capt Stevulak
  • Capt Rivas
  • 1st Lt Hollerbach (co-presented: Base Staff Track: “Aerial Photography and Staff Interaction”) 
  • 1st Lt Fall
  • 2d Lt Baldwin

* MP - Mission Pilot, MO - Mission Observer, MS - Mission Scanner, AP - Airborne Photographer

It was fun to see people from other squadrons, whom I don’t normally get to see other than at the occasional mission, and have a chance to relax and chat with them. This seemed to be a common theme expressed by attendees.

Lt Hollerbach, co-presenting an AP workshop,
photo by Maj DeFord.
“Awesome networking opportunity. I was able to work with several different squadrons to tentatively schedule 2018 exercises for Group 2. It’s always great to see SoCal people we only get to see twice a year.” Capt Brown

Kudos to CAWG members in general, by one of our members who had transferred to California from another Wing:
“CAWG simply has an amazing combination of quality, capabilities and dedication.” Lt Fall

As a co-presenter of one of the workshops, I can attest to the fact that we really had to focus our comments to fit everything we wanted to talk about into one 45-minute session.  Sounds like Capt Eichelberger and I were not the only ones to struggle with this:

“I learned that it’s tough for presenters to cram one and a half hours of information into the 45-minute slots allocated for each seminar.  So much great information and just not enough time to get it all in.  Also, so many interesting seminars, and each participant had to carefully pick and choose, as you can't go to all of them.” Maj Fridell

Brig Gen Phelka, CAP Vice Commander (L),
Col Stokes, Pacific Region Commander (C), and
Col Ferguson, CAWG Commander (R), at the opening session.
Some pilot or pilots must have impressed Maj Wang, as she commented on learning “that pilots can be useful Ground Team Members too!”  Thank goodness we have multi-skilled and –rated CAP members!  (I am not a Ground Team Member and am suitably impressed.)

The comments by Col Ferguson (California Wing Commander) and others on his staff at the general session on Saturday morning were inspiring. It was interesting to hear about some of the new technologies being evaluated by CAWG for possible deployment. As someone very interested in technology, I was happy to learn that CAWG has someone to oversee CAWG’s R&D efforts to manage these evaluations.

Squadron 188 and other Group 2 members at lunch, from L to R: Maj Kubiak, Maj Lam, Maj Luneau, Capt Stevulak,
Capt Rivas, Maj Ironfield, Capt Hayes, Maj DeFord, Capt Brown, photo by Lt Hollerbach.
Once again, CAP cadets impressed senior members far and wide. Besides my own observations of maturity and professionalism among the cadets I saw at the conference, I heard about one young woman who was able to rescue a former schoolmate, when she witnessed his attempted suicide and was able to notify officials who were able to intervene. This courageous and clear-thinking cadet was presented with a life saving award.  Several of our squadron members congratulated her on a job well done. Our hearts go out to the troubled schoolmate, and we wish him and his family all the best in moving through this difficult period.
Col Ferguson, CAWG Commander

Other cadets impressed with their maturity in handling themselves at presentations and during group workshops such as the tabletop exercise, in which participants simulated a search and rescue exercise. One guide laid out the situation, based on an actual event, and chose an IC (incident commander) from the audience. Participants then prosecuted the simulated search. This could be an intimidating experience, with mostly senior members participating, yet one cadet had enough courage to get in there, make suggestions and speak up. It is great to see our cadet members develop and exercise their leadership skills!

Finally, although I’m sad to say that Squadron 188 did not win any of the Wing awards this time, it’s exciting to see how many awards went to Group 2:
  • Squadron 18 – Cadet Squadron of the Year
  • Capt Hamilton, Squadron 10 – Professional Development Officer of the Year
  • Capt Welch, Squadron 36 – Communications Officer of the Year
  • C/1st Lt Feain, Squadron 10 – Cadet Officer of the Year
  • C/CMSgt Clish, Squadron 10 – Cadet NCO of the Year
  • Maj Morozko, Squadron 10 – Aerospace Education Officer of the Year and Frank Brewer award winner
  • Squadron 10 – Composite Squadron of the Year
  • Squadron 10 – Col Dion E. DeCamp Ground Team of the Year
  • 1st Lt Geelhaar, Squadron 10 – Ground Team Member of the Year
  • Maj Tubis, Squadron 10 – Col Edwin Lewis, Jr. Incident Staff Member of the Year
  • Maj Newell, Squadron 10 – Safety Officer of the Year
  • Maj Albert, Group 2 Cadet Programs Officer,
    talking about his squadron's success with
    cadet programs.
  • 2d Lt Zioulas, Squadron 10 – Senior Officer of the Year

Congratulations to our colleagues at squadrons 10, 18 and 36.  Having met and worked with a number of these dedicated CAP members, I can say – well deserved!

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