Sunday, January 26, 2014

Final Salute

Story and Photos By Lt. Col. Juan Tinnirello, CAP

Star of the Valley Mausoleum
On Friday afternoon, January 10, 2014, members of Amelia Earhart Senior Squadron 188 of the Civil Air Patrol participated in the ceremony to pay final respects to Squadron 188's Honorary Colonel George Edward Dijeau, CAP, who passed away on December 20, 2013.

Besides family and friends, present at the ceremony from Sq. 188, were Major Noel Luneau, Squadron Commander, Captain Luis Rivas, Deputy Commander, Captain Lutz Heinrich, First Lieutenant Douglas Perreira, First Lieutenant Gabriel Fletcher-Hernandez and Lieutenant Colonel Juan Tinnirello.

Col. Dijeau's wife Harriet and her son
Honor Guard from Travis Air
Force Base salute as the
coffin passed by
The ceremony took place at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Santa Rosa, California, in the Star of the Valley Mausoleum. During the ceremony, Colonel Dijeau's son, Edward F. Dijeau commented about his father's wonderful and long life.  He stated that his father told him: "One way to be happy and live a full life is not to hold any grudges." George developed a passion for flying right after he worked on the World's Fair in Treasure Island back in 1939, while he was an electrician.  The day after the World's Fair opened, he rented a plane and a pilot to fly over it, so he could see from the air what it looked like.  That flight cemented his desire to become a pilot.  He started his own flying club but later on, he learned that Civil Air Patrol (CAP) was financed by the government, so he joined up.
Col. George Dijeau
Family and friends

Edward F. Dijeau talks about his father
George became an instructor and had an instrument certificate, so when the Army Air Force needed instructors, he joined. George trained pilots for WWII in Texas but unfortunately, he suffered a back injury while teaching cadets to perform slow rolls and that earned him a medical discharge from active duty. So, he went back to CAP and patrolled the shorelines of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico looking for German submarines.  Even though he carried a 25 pound bomb in the plane he never spotted a submarine.

Later on, George became an airline pilot. He had many stories to tell, including one about a forced landing in a DC4 in the Pacific Ocean that was so perfect that the plane remained intact and did not sink for five hours.

Audrey Dijeau played the violin to
her grand father
Edward's daughter Audrey played the violin as her final salute to her grandfather. After Audrey finished playing the violin, her brother James talked about the wonderful life his grandfather lived and the fact that James managed to have all four generations of Dijeau fly a Stinson Acrobatic Biplane on Father's Day in 2010 and 2011.  George still had a current medical certificate that allowed him to be a pilot in command with over 14,000 flying hours, even though he did not command the biplane.

Grand son James Dijeau
Commander Maj. Luneau commented on the many accomplishments George had achieved during his life in CAP, including the fact that at age 95, he was still driving a very large motor home towing a car behind it. George was 99 when he passed away.

After the comments, the United States flag from the coffin was folded by the Honor Guards from Travis Air Force Base and given to Edward Dijeau.  At that time, the Travis Air Force Honor Guard played Taps with a bugle.

Once the bugle silenced, the coffin was moved to the lift and it was placed on the final destination in the Mausoleum, Row A #36.
Taps being played by Travis Air Force
Base Honor Guard
Edward Dijeau receive the folded
flag from the Honor Guard

Farewell Colonel Dijeau and blue skies ahead until we meet again.

Col. Dijeau's daughter Rhonda and Maj Noel Luneau

Monday, January 13, 2014

December 2013 - CONSTANT WATCH 13 Communications Exercise

By 1Lt Hayes and 2Lt Choate

Portable antenna at the remote base
In December, CAWG participated in CONSTANT WATCH 13, a nationwide communications exercise designed to test the rapid-deployment of portable medium-to-long range HF radios and the passing of formal message traffic for an external customer.  Group 2 Comm Officer 1Lt Jordan Hayes, along with two members of Squadron 14 from Group 5, deployed to a field base on Brannan Island in the Sacramento Delta, where they set up antennas and radios using emergency power sources for the duration of the 48-hour exercise.  Messages were passed to and from 10 other stations around the country, including providing a vital link to Hawaii. On Saturday December 7th, members of Squadron 188 assembled at the squadron and practiced sending formal message traffic to the field base before travelling to the base to lend support to the activity.  On Sunday the 8th, before the exercise concluded, CAP 445 from Oakland, while out on a proficiency flight, made contact with the field base and searched for a practice beacon.
1Lt Hayes at the remote base

Wondering what it was like to participate in CONSTANT WATCH 13 on this chilly but fun weekend?

Inside the remote base
To assist 1Lt Hayes in setting up a 90’ HF antenna, I [2Lt Choate] flew out to Rio Vista on Friday afternoon for the weekend's comm exercise.  We hauled everything (several 35 pound batteries, several antennas, backpacks, and whatnot) from the truck to the field base.  It was about 100 yards from the parking area and took almost all of the remaining light.  Then we unpacked and erected the antenna. We were grateful for the little remaining light we had, as this step would have been much harder in the dark (and sleet!).  After some cleanup, 1Lt Hayes took me back to the Rio Vista airport.

Capt DeFord and Capt Rivas
2Lt Choate and Capt Rivas
The next day, I met Capt Rivas, Capt DeFord, and 2Lt Stevulak at the Oakland Airport.  There we took turns passing formal radio messages to 1Lt Hayes over the CAP radio.  Then we inspected the van, packed up and headed out with 2Lt Stevulak staying behind.  I planned the route from Oakland to the comm location, and Capt Rivas drove while Capt DeFord sat in the back to observe, instruct, and evaluate us on our "UDF" skills.   When we arrived at Brannan Island, we were greeted by 1Lt Hayes and several members of the Sacramento squadron who had been working the radio through the night.  1Lt Hayes reported the antenna we had set up was working great and that they had been able to reach Hawaii, and Washington.  After lunch, we broke into two groups, with one working outside to setup another antenna between a 30 foot pole and a tree.  Meantime, in the other group, I learned the ins and outs of the ALE (Automatic Link Establishment) system, which is used to automatically establish connections with and catalog other stations coming up on the net around the country.  Once links were established, we were able to make contact and pass formal messages to the humans at the other locations.  After that, Capt DeFord, Capt Rivas, and I headed back to Oakland, concluding our involvement in the weekend's exercise.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 2014 All Hands Meeting - Happy New Year

By 2Lt Hollerbach, Photos Courtesy of Lt Col Tinnirello

January 7, 2014 – our first meeting of the New Year!

During this monthly meeting, the following promotions and ratings were awarded to members of Amelia Earhart Senior Squadron 188.

Capt Michelogiannakis, 1Lt Kraus
and 1Lt Fletcher-Hernandez 
1st Lt Georgios Michelogiannakis promoted to Capt
2d Lt Gabriel Fletcher-Hernandez promoted to 1st Lt
2d Lt Robert Kraus promoted to 1st Lt

Capt Michelogiannakis receiving his
promotion from 2Lt Choate and
Capt Rivas

Leadership Ribbon
1Lt Fletcher-Hernandez and Capt Rivas
1st Lt Gabriel Fletcher-Hernandez achieved the technician rating in the Communications Specialty Track.

Newly minted CAP pilot 2Lt Choate

CAP Pilot
1st Lt Robert Kraus
2d Lt Eric Choate

With the addition of these two new CAP pilots, Squadron 188 now has a total of 9 CAP pilots (Maj Luneau, Maj Riebli, Capt Ironfield, Capt Coreas, Capt Michelogiannakis, Capt Eichelberger, 1Lt Rugroden, 2Lt Choate, 2Lt Kraus) plus 5 trainees in the pipeline!

Safety Training
After the awards, for this month’s safety training, we watched and discussed a heartbreaking video.

The story told in the video is about Russ Jeter, an experienced and careful pilot, who made a critical error and paid a very high price for it – the loss of his son. Kudos to Mr. Jeter, for sharing his story and funding the creation of this video.

As pilots, we are all taught to evaluate whether or not we are fit to fly on any given day, using tools such as IMSAFE and others. But sometimes it is difficult to really evaluate our own fitness, particularly in areas where the answers may not be

1Lt Rugroden
obvious.  We can readily determine things like – did I get enough sleep last night?  Do I have a cold? Am I taking any medications right now? Have I been drinking alcohol in the last X hours? Etc. But what about more subtle factors like stress?

1Lt Chavez
There is a lot of research about the negative effects of stress: Stress can cause us to lose concentration, become forgetful, and generally perform poorly on tasks, even those that may be quite familiar to us. Recognizing these effects and evaluating their potential impact, however, can be extremely difficult. A simple IMSAFE self-check may not be adequate when “stuff happens” in life, particularly when these precipitating events occurred days or weeks earlier, as was the case in Mr Jeter's story.

1Lt Bitz
The video can be accessed here, on the AOPA website.

Stay safe!