Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sq 188 Does it again!

1st Lt Louie Rivas, CAP
Amelia Earhart Senior Squadron 188
California Wing

The members of Squadron 188 recently learned of their Three-peat as Group 2 Top Senior Squadron of the Year. This honor is awarded to the squadron that best demonstrates their commitment to, and efforts in, fulfilling the three primary CAP missions of Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services.

In 2011 Squadron 188 either assisted with the planning, or represented the squadron, in over half a dozen events in support of the Aerospace Education mission. The events included local airshows, outreach to surrounding communities, and securing internships at the Port of Oakland for local youths.

As a senior squadron, Sq188 doesn't offer a cadet program, but the members do support the cadet programs of other squadrons. For the second year in a row a member of the squadron officiated the Cadet Bowl at Vandenburg AFB. Squadron members provided orientation rides to the Group 2 cadets in CAP aircraft, acted as escort officers for glider rides at the Byron Airport and accompanied cadets from Sq 18 on a USAF C-5 flight simulator ride at Travis AFB. 

The emergency services side of the squadron was busy in 2011. Members continue to train and upgrade their training in the various ES ratings. The squadron saw an increase in the number of qualified mission pilots, scanners, and radio operators to name a few. The squadron also hosted several search and rescue exercisies (SAREX) including one with observers from the USAF evaluating CAP performance.

The good news didn't stop there. Several members of the squadron earned awards for their contributions to the Community, CAP and Squadron 188. Members who earned awards include

Aerospace Education Officer of the Year - 1st Lt Pat Bitz was awarded the Aerospace Education Officer of the Year award for his tireless efforts in promoting aerospace education at local schools, the general public and to the members of Sq 188. His numerous accomplishments include promoting CAP at local airshows, writing the 100 questions for the CAP Aerospace Bowl held at Vandenberg Air Force Base, and organizing the Wreaths Across America campaign for Sq 118. Hats off to 1st Lt Bitz!

Incident Staff Member of the Year - Capt Allen is a highly decorated and distinguished member of Squadron 188. Hi accomplishments include being awarded Lifesaver with silver star award, selected as squadron member of the year three times, Leadership Ribbons, and participated in over 150 missions.

In 2011 Capt Allen participated in 20 missions, including an exercise with National Guard personnel. The goal of the exercise was to evaluate live video streaming capabilities in the event of tsunami striking the west coast. On another exercise,  Air Force observers evaluating the emergency services performance of the Incident Command Staff commented that the entire volunteer team could be mistaken for full time paid emergency services staff. Congratulations once again Capt Allen!

Safety Officer of the Year -  In 2011 Capt Frank Riebli volunteered to be safety officer for Sq 188. That year Capt Riebli researched and presented various safety aviation and non-aviation related topics to the CAP members. He also invited several guests to speak to the squadron on topics such as Human Factors\Errors in Systems, Winter Weather Patterns, and a stunt pilot who shared her experiences of surviving an airplane crash after a catastrophic engine failure.

Capt Riebli received high praise from an evaluator during a Squadron Unit Inspection for his efforts promoting safety to the squadron and all who enter the squadron headquarters.  His enthusiasm and commitment to safety spills over into the audience and his monthly presentations are a squadron favorite. Way to go Capt Riebli!  

The Logbook - Balsem Public Affairs Exceptional Achievement Award for Newsletter of the Year.  Named in honor of the Air Force major considered by CAP historians to be the first Public Affairs officer to serve CAP at the national level in the '50s. Newsletters are judged on content, creativity, technical excellence, quality and results. This is the squadrons first Balsem Award. Thanks to all the members who contribute articles, edited, and otherwise helped to make the Logbook the number one Newsletter of the Year!

Here's a big salute to all the men and women who make Squadron 188 the Group 2 Top Senior Squadron of the Year!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Change of Command

1st Lt Louie Rivas 
Assistant Public Affairs Officer and Mission Pilot
Amelia Earhart Senior Squadron 188
California Wing

L-R: Capt Luneau, Capt Dunham, Major Renwick, Capt Ironfield
The August All Hands Meeting was one filled with tradition, promotions, and awards of the best kind. There was a Change of Command at Squadron 188 this past week. This is a CAP tradition that occurs every three years and it represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a squadron from one commanding officer to another. Capt Jeff Ironfield passed the colors to his deputy commander Capt Noel Luneau signifying this change of command.

The Passing of the Colors
During Capt Ironfield's tenure the squadron saw an increase in its membership, the number of Emergency Services ratings held by its members, and the number of SAREXs hosted by SQ 188. All of these accomplishments helped SQ 188 earn the California Wing 2011 Squadron of the Year award.

Capt Luneau presenting collage to Capt Ironfield
Capt Luneau began his role as SQ 188 commander by thanking Capt Ironfield for his contribution to the squadron and presenting him with a collage of photos of some of the CAP activities Capt Ironfield participated in. Capt Ironfield’s next duty assignment will be that of California Wing Group 2 Deputy Commander and all the members of Squadron 188 wish him the best of luck in his new role.

Capt Noel Luneau assumes his role as new Squadron 188 commander with a squadron that’s poised to repeat many of the same successes it had in 2011. His first order of business was announcing his appointment of Capt Michael Allen as the new Deputy Commander, a role previously held by Capt Luneau.

Capt Luneau addressing the audience
Capt Luneau and Capt Allen played key roles in the squadron’s successes and they bring years of CAP experience. The members of SQ 188 look forward to their tenure as the new leaders of the squadron.

In addition to the Change in Command ceremonies, several members received promotions or awards for their outstanding service and accomplishments. 

Capt Noel Luneau: Awarded the CAP Senior Pilot Rating. This rating is presented to members who have been an active CAP pilot for a minimum of 3 years and logged 1000 hours of pilot in command time.

1st Lt David Dunham: Promoted to Capt & Awarded the Grover Loening Award. This award is presented to senior members who successfully complete the third level of the professional development program.

Maj Renwick presenting Capt Dunham the Loening Award

Dunham family places Capt bars

1st Lt Michael Allen: Promoted to Captain.
Capt Allen getting his Captains bars

Major Renwick announcing Capt Allens Lifesaving Award
A very special award was presented this evening as well. Capt Michael Allen received word from Group 2 Commander Major Steve Renwick that he would soon be receiving the Certificate of Recognition for Lifesaving. Capt Allen received the award for saving the life of a cadet choking during dinner.  His quick thinking and action saved a young life and a family from a tragic outcome. You can find Capt Allen’s account of this event on the July 6, 2012 post of The Logbook. Kudos Capt Allen!

The squadron would like to thank The English Rose of San Carlos for the food they donated to the squadron for the evening’s ceremonies.  The cookies and sandwiches were a big hit with crowd and quickly disappeared.