Saturday, December 19, 2015

Wreaths Across America

 By Lt Col Juan Tinnirello, CAP (and pictures, except as noted)

 Stuart Highlanders Pipe Band
Saturday, 12 December, 2015 was a sunny and wind free morning that helped to make the ceremony more enjoyable.  Members from Squadrons 18 and 188 were in attendance, as were veterans, soldiers’ family members and over 100 members of the general public.

This ceremony started with the Stuart Highlanders Pipe Band saluting each branch of the Armed Forces with a different song.   The Master of Ceremonies was Kevin Graves, Founder and President of “Some Gave All - The Joey Graves Foundation”.  Then the colors
where presented by the Daly City Police Department, followed by the National Anthem, led by Regina Gonnella from the Avenue of Flags Committee.

Color Guards

U.S. Army Veteran
 William Jackson

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Kristen Matthias, Regent, San Andreas Lake Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. After that, a call for a minute of silence took place at exactly 9:00 AM. The minute of silence occurred simultaneously, at each National Cemetery across the nation, from Washington DC to Guam, and all the Armed Forces and Merchant Marines were honored.

Members of Squadrons 18 and 188
It was a very emotional ceremony, especially during the presentation of the wreaths by individuals and when saluting each one of the different branches of the Armed Forces as well as the Merchant Marines and the POW/MIA.  Gold Start Families, parents of sons/daughters that are buried in the cemetery, also presented a wreath to honor them.

After the main speaker, Lt Col Jeff Brooks from the 23rd Marines, instructions were given about how to place the wreath on each tombstone. 

The closing remarks were given by Kevin Graves, a Gold Start Father.  He was in Afghanistan not too long ago, right in the battle field. He placed soil from that spot in vials that he presented to other Gold Start Families attending the event, as remembrance of the place where their sons/daughters had shed their blood.

Sq. 188 Commander, Capt Luis Rivas,
placing a wreath with 

Lt Hipp & Lt Bitz 
Taps was played by Petty Officer Lena Gemmer and Chief Petty Officer Jared Zygarewicz from the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps Band of the West, and the colors were retired.

 Attendees placing wreaths.

1300 wreaths were placed by the attendees in a specific section of the cemetery. Every year, a new section is covered, so eventually all 145,000 tombstones will be honored.

It was a very moving ceremony and a good way to honor and remember our fallen heroes.

You are invited to return on Saturday, 2 January, 2016 at 8:00 AM to help with the wreath cleanup.

Lt Jim Hipp, Lt Pat Bitz and Lt Col Juan Tinnirello
 (Photo by volunteer)

Tombstones after wreaths were placed

Friday, December 4, 2015

All Hands Meeting, 1 December, 2015.

By Lt Col Juan Tinnirello (and pictures)

Deputy Commander Capt Jordan Hayes welcomed everyone and invited Lt Col Juan Tinnirello to lead the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Commander Maj Rivas is in New York on business.

 Capt Jordan Hayes

November was a quiet month, compared to September. In the events department, the glider is back from its yearly inspection in Nevada. About 15 CAP members, from Squadron 188 as well as other units, helped to assemble the glider on Saturday 21 November. It was a fun day and the writer had a chance to be the second member to fly in the glider.

Lt Patrick Bitz

1st Lt Bitz thanked everybody participating in sales for the Wreaths Across America project and invited members to help in placing the wreaths at the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, Saturday, 12 December at 8:30 AM.  Anyone wanting a ride, go to the squadron that Saturday by 7:00 AM. Please contact Lt Bitz to coordinate.

For the Aero Space Education moment, Lt Bitz showed a video regarding the advancements done by NASA during work experiments right at the Space Station, in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  The main effort of the project is to grow food for future space travelers going to Mars. For more information go to You may have to copy and paste the information in your browser.

1st Lt Al Chavez
1st Lt Al Chavez attended a meeting at the California Earthquake Authority and made a presentation to us about all the information available about “Hazards” related to all types of natural disasters.  Going to the following Web site  will provide information about earthquake, flood, fire and tsunami. Placing your home or business address in the designated block will provide customized information for your particular location.  Lt Chavez also talked about the expected weather influence of El NiƱo.  More information can be found at  He distributed a Fact Sheet about both events. This presentation was the Safety Education for the month.  If you were not at the meeting, you missed a lot of good information.
One mission took place 5 November for an ELT in Auburn. Maj Chris Johnson was the IC3-T, Maj Noel Luneau the MP, and Maj Mark Fridell the MS.  This was the first find for Maj Fridell. Maj Kathy Johnson completed her CD certification. Capt Rivas and Lt Choate renewed their Form 5 and Lt Gast completed his CAP Instructor Pilot for Gliders. The aircraft flew 18.2 hrs. and the van was driven 457 miles. 

Capt Hayes reminded us that squadron’s dues must be paid now.

The Squadron’s Holiday Party will be held at the Oakland Aviation Museum on 15 December at 6:00 PM. Contact 1st Lt Eric Choate for details.

The squadron will be dark until 5 January, 2016, our All Hands Meeting. On 9 January a G1000 ground school is scheduled to take place. Contact Capt Georgios Michelogiannakis for details.

Capt Jordan Hayes and Maj Mark Fridell
 receiving the Find Ribbon
Maj Fridell received his rescue Find Ribbon (with propeller) for his first find.

The entire staff of Squadron 188 wishes everyone very Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year 2016!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

All Hands Meeting, 3 November 2015

By Lt Col Juan Tinnirello (and pictures)

Capt Luis Rivas
Squadron Commander Capt Rivas welcomed everybody and asked Col Tinnirello to lead the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Commander Rivas welcomed new member James Weeks and proceeded to give a review of all the events in another very busy month for the squadron. Besides the participation in the Group 2 SAREX at Palo Alto, the FEMA mission for the forest fire was the main one, with a large participation of squadron members where more that 14,000 pictures were taken altogether.

Also, there were a couple of ELT missions and one for the State of California.

Maj Luneau renewed his Form 5 and Maj DeFord renewed his Ground Team Leader. Also on the assets usage, the aircraft flew 30.8 hours and the van traveled 516 miles.

1st Lt Patrick Bitz 
Lt Bitz talked about the importance of remembering the armed forces personnel that gave their lives to defend our freedom.  What better way to do it that by placing wreaths on their tombstones at the Golden Gate National Cemetery, in San Bruno this coming December.  The program called Wreaths Across America is helping to do so and we can participate by purchasing wreaths. More information is provided at the end of this article.

Maj DeFord announced that there is a new way to have a small last minute planned ES mission to help with training a few people.  Contact him for details.

Also, Lt Gast is our newly minted CFI-G for gliders. Congratulations - and members, take advantage of this new opportunity.

Coming up on November 17, Capt Hayes will have an improved talk from the one he gave at the Wing Conference about “Radios for Aircrew” and for everyone that uses CAP radios.  A pot luck is planned, so call him to coordinate if you plan to attend.

December 1, is our next “All Hands Meeting”. During the meeting there was a majority of members that wished to have a Holiday Party.  More will follow as Capt Rivas looks into the different possibilities.

Most of the 14 members awarded Disaster Relief award
Capt Michelogiannakis 
receiving award

On the awards list, Capt Michelogiannakis obtained his Level 3 (Grover Loening Award), Lt Choate received an Orientation Pilot Award for completing more that 50 sorties. Lt Kraus was granted a Rescue Find Ribbon (with prop device) first find. Lt Adams received a Leadership Award (1st Technician rating LOGISTICS). SM Carter, Level 1 Membership Award.  Forteen members awarded Disarter Relief Ribbon with V device for Presidencial Declared disaster for the Butte and Valley Fires.
Promotions: Lt Adams was promoted to 1st Lt and SM Roudnev was promoted to 2nd Lt. 

           Lt Choate receiving 
           Orientation ribbon award
Lt Kraus receiving Rescue ribbon award

Lt Adams receiving
 Leadership award
In the Safety Education Maj Fridell made a very interesting presentation about “Bird Strikes”. The inspiration for the topic started at the Livermore Airport while doing some work and a strange noise started to become more pronounced.  It was a flock of geese!  The statistics for this type of incident are very impressive. If you were not there, you missed an excellent presentation plus insights to protect you about this type of accidents.

Capt Rivas and Lt Adams’s 
 wife, Pamela, attaching the epaulets
        Capt Rivas and Capt Hayes 
        attaching epaulets to 2nd Lt Roudnev
 Capt. Rivas finished the meeting thanking SM Wayne for facilitating press coverage on the Concord mission and also thanking Capt Rex Beach for all the work he did during his participation as a squadron member and who is now leaving for the East Coast.  Fairwell Rex, we will miss you.

Maj Fridell presented 
“Bird Strike”

Wreath Sponsorship Program:

Go to   on the left side column go to the bottom to “Wreaths Across America” and click on it. On the “Contents” list click on 5Donate.  Then follow the directions for Webb Order.

If you have problems, please contact 1st Lt Patrick Bitz at 925-858-9590
Besides honoring our heroes you help Squadron 188 finances, as we receive $5.00 for each wreath sold.  Thank you for participating and tell your family, friends and coworkers about it.

 Bird strike just before it happened!

Capt Rex Beach saying goodbye!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Disaster Relief Mission - California Fires

By Maj Kathy Johnson, photo provided by CAP

The Civil Air Patrol’s California Wing completed an airborne photography mission over the Butte and Valley fire areas near Sacramento, CA on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  FEMA will use the images to assess the burn areas and identify the damage to burned or destroyed homes, buildings and other structures. These photographs will support their effort to provide financial aid to the affected home and land owners.

“The Civil Air Patrol, as part of the Air Force’s Total Force, is proud to support FEMA with aerial photography,” says California Wing Incident Commander Lt. Colonel Mitch Richman.  “Within a relatively short period of time, we were able to cover a wide area and provide high quality, GPS-referenced photos to FEMA.”

For seven days in September and October, California Wing flew 49 flights that photographed approximately 232 square miles of both burn areas.  Flying relatively close to the terrain, Civil Air Patrol provided nearly 4,800 images of the devastated regions.  The Butte and Valley fire areas covered about 92,000 and 69,000 acres, respectively.

Aerial Photograph Taken by Civil Air Patrol of an Area Affected by one of the California Wildfires 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Livermore Open House and Air Show

By SM Alexei Roudnev and 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach, photographs as noted

CAP attended the LVK Airport Day on October 3, in celebration of the airport's 50th anniversary. For more information on the event, please click here.

1st Lt Robert Adams Showing the Cessna 206 to Young Future Pilots, photo by SM Roudnev 

Maj Noel Luneau Enjoying a Moment of Relaxation
by the Flying Particles Booth, photo by SM Roudnev

Work started on Friday, the day before the airshow, when we washed the plane. It was never so fresh and clean.  Thanks to all who helped with that - especially 1st Lt Eric Choate, who volunteered to take on cleaning the entire belly of the plane - a messy job.

Saturday was LVK day! We had the Turbo Cessna 206 and our van on the field.

The Cessna became one of the airshow stars:  Everyone with kids wanted to have their picture taken inside.

What's an Airshow without Aerobatics?
Photo by SM Roudnev
Many people stopped by and asked about CAP. It was surprise for some people that CAP is not just about "beacon searches."

Our cadets helped.  Thank you to Squadron 18 cadets!  They also put up a great booth to help provide information to visitors.  Maj Shawn Lawson was interviewed by KKIQ and was able to provide valuable information about CAP's mission and about Squadrons 18 and 188.

It was a good opportunity to make new contacts and friends.

All this was accompanied by impressive acrobatics.
Maj Lawson being Interviewed for KKIQ, photo
provided by Maj Lawson

Even when show ended, there was a long line of visitors waiting for their chance to sit inside the Cessna 206 and have their picture taken.

Other emergency services were represented at the show as well. The USCG brought one of their helicopters to show to the public.
Families Lining up to get their Pictures Taken with the Cessna 206, photo by SM Roudnev

East Bay Cadet Squadron 18 Booth, photo by Maj Lawson
USCG Helicopter at the LVK Airshow, photo by SM Roudnev

CAP Van and Cessna 206, photo by SM Roudnev

Lt Choate Cleaning the 206, photo by Maj Luneau

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fleet Week Event at Moffett Field

By 1st Lt Doug Teeple, Sacramento Composite Squadron 14, photographs by Maj Noel Luneau

CAP Aircraft at Moffett Field for Fleet Week Event
The Fleet Week event at Moffett alongside the presence of two MV-22 Ospreys for a First Responders exercise was very successful.

Representing multiple California Wing squadrons, Lt Teeple, Capt Joshua Edwards, and Maj Luneau were present.  Major Luneau flew in the 2013 T206H from Auburn, which we positioned very close to the 129th ANG Wing and the Ospreys, which flew in from Miramar.

MV-22 Osprey
The Osprey exercise was to demonstrate the ability to convert it to a mobile hospital room for air rescue operations that can be deployed by CalOES and FEMA who were represented in large numbers.

The presence of CAP was appreciated by Fleet Week organizers, and future partnering is welcome.  I met the Fleet Week executive leadership to discuss future participation and it was stated that they look forward to partnering with us in the future.  Lt Teeple’s brother, James Teeple, the Program Manager for the V-22 with Boeing, was instrumental in positioning our partnership with Fleet Week leadership.  They understand that CAP can bring more assets for static display or operational demonstration with more advance planning.

Fleet Week Activities at Moffett

CAP Aircraft at Moffett Field
Many Marines, Air Force and CalOES officers and crew learned about CAP as an important component of the CA First Responders portfolio and as part of the total Air Force capabilities.

Organizing for Fleet Week 2016 kicks off in April, so it’s not too soon to start thinking about next year.

We would like to send a thank you to Lewis Lueben, executive leader of Fleet Week, for supporting our participation.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Urban Shield 2015 - Mass Casualty Event Training Exercise

By 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach and Maj Steven DeFord, photos as noted

Lt Hollerbach and Maj DeFord both participated in this year’s Urban Shield exercise, albeit in two totally different functions:  Maj DeFord in the field, working on medical scenarios, and Lt Hollerbach looking at the big picture.

For those unfamiliar with Urban Shield, here is some background information on Urban Shield and Yellow Command, taken from the Urban Shield website (paraphrased slightly):

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office hosted Urban Shield 2015, a planned training exercise involving local, national, and international first responder agencies.  The event began Friday, September 11, 2015 and ended on the following Monday.

Urban Shield is separated into 10 operational Area Commands designated Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Silver (all tactical), Red (fire), White (EOD), Yellow (mass casualty event), EMS (no color designation), Medical Branch (no color designation).

Maj DeFord, who is also an emergency room physician, helped with SWAT team training for mass casualty incidents (MCI), where SWAT teams got EMS teams to work with them, going in after the scene was secured to help triage and evacuate the victims.  According to Maj DeFord, the scenarios were “a whole lot of fun!”  Anywhere between about eight and several dozen victims were out to be sorted and moved to casualty collection points with a certain need for haste, given how much the victims outnumbered the rescuers.  The victims were in full moulage, and even a few mannequins to represent more gruesome injuries (amputations and the like).

Dr Maj DeFord Putting to Good Use His ER Skills with
a Simulated Victim, photo by Sun Lin
One of the other scenarios Maj (Dr!) DeFord participated in was the MCI drill:  An EMS team had a small fleet of ambulances and a large number of victims that they had to re-triage, load on ambulances, and bring to the scenario, where Maj DeFord and others played the receiving emergency room, handling a flood of victims requiring more definitive care (blood, chest tubes, surgery, and the like).

As part of her ongoing PIO training, Lt Hollerbach was fortunate to be invited as observer into the Oakland Emergency Operations Center (EOC), as part of the Yellow Command training.

In 2013, the Bay Area Regional Catastrophic Planning Team collaborated to establish a “Yellow Command” component to Urban Shield to complete a full-scale exercise to test the Regional Catastrophic Earthquake Mass Fatality Plan.

The goal of Yellow Command 2015 was to engage EOCs throughout the Bay Area Region and promote coordination across agencies and jurisdictions in response to a complex coordinated terrorist attack. It involved live communication from two field play sites to local EOCs, driving regional coordination regarding needed resources and mutual aid. The exercise focused on validating the roles and responsibilities of regional transit agencies per the Regional Catastrophic Earthquake Mass Transportation and Evacuation Plan.

Yellow Command also provided an opportunity for Bay Area agencies to practice the use of regional tools such as Cal COP (CA Common Operating Picture) and Web EOC for maintaining situational awareness and communications with regional partners during planned and unplanned events.

  • Cal COP leverages local and regional risk management and critical infrastructure assessments—layered with real-time, intentional, technological, and natural hazard threat information—to create a common threat awareness picture.
  • Web EOC is the crisis information management system used by emergency management officials during an activation of their Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Two-way integration of Cal COP and Web EOC significantly enhances situational awareness across emergency management and public safety agencies.

In the exercise that Lt Hollerbach participated in, the EOC was activated a few minutes after 9 AM, continuing until noon.  The scenario started with simulated attacks in various parts of the Bay Area, with Oakland monitoring the situation. Throughout the morning, the scenario unfolded, with additional crises and coordinated (simulated!) attacks continuing.

Although most of the training was communications oriented, the EOC was staffed with IC, Planning, Logistics, Operations, and other sections, in addition to PIOs.  This was great, to see the whole incident management system come together.
This Year's Urban Shield T-Shirt,
photo by Lt Hollerbach

Since Lt Hollerbach was the least experienced person in the room (at least in the context of handling mass casualty events), pretty much every conversation she had with team members was a learning experience - both in furthering her PIO training and and in seeing firsthand the entire command structure in action, in a large-scale event spread across the entire Bay Area, with multiple jurisdictions coming together and sharing information and resources.

No details of the scenario or any photographs of the EOC, for security reasons.  All you get is a photo of the t-shirt!  If you want to see more, you’ll have to find a way to participate next year.

The skills and professionalism of the people staffing the EOC were impressive.  Many thanks to Urban Shield and particularly the EOC for letting us participate.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Water Survival Training with the US Coast Guard

By 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach, photos as noted

Earlier in September, several members of Squadron 188 - and other squadrons - participated in the US Coast Guard’s (USCG) Water Survival Training course.  Thanks to 1st Lt Al Chavez and Capt Jordan Hayes for organizing this training and to the USCG for allowing us to participate.

Pre-Flighting the Anti-Exposure Suits Provided to
us by the USCG, photo by Lt Fletcher-Hernandez
Lt Stevulak after a Successful Swim, photo by
Lt Fletcher-Hernandez
Every CAP crew member who is part of an extended overwater flight must be current in Water Survival (WS) certification. Although most of our Wing’s sorties are not extended overwater flights, such flights are not as extreme as one might think: Other than the take-off or landing phase, an extended overwater flight is defined as any flight operation, sortie or event, conducted outside the normal power-off gliding distance of land, as determined by altitude, distance, glide speed, wind and other determining factors.

One does not have to be far out over the ocean for this: Crossing the Bay or the Monterrey Bay or other nearby bodies of water at a low enough altitude can easily put one of our aircraft into an extended overwater flight.

On September 3, Squadron 188 members Maj Noel Luneau, Capt Hayes, Lt Chavez, 1st Lt Eric Choate, 1st Lt Gabriel Fletcher-Hernandez, 1st Lt John Stevulak, and Lt Hollerbach met up with the USCG instructors and trainees at Dunes State Beach in Half Moon Bay for a little swim… and some serious training.

Warm and DryAgain... Pictured from Left to Right: Lt Fletcher-Hernandez, 1st Lt Tony Stieber, Lt Hollerbach,
Lt Stevulak, Maj Luneau, Capt Hayes, Lt Chavez, 2d Lt Frank Geelhaar, 1st Lt Eric Meinbress, Lt Choate,
photo provided by Lt Hollerbach 

Lt Hollerbach and USCG Teammates after our Swim,
photo by Lt Fletcher-Hernandez

Maj Luneau Dreaming of Flying a Helicopter, photo by
Lt Fletcher-Hernandez
Lt Choate Learning to Use Pyrotechnics Safely,  photo by
Lt Fletcher-Hernandez

Lt Choate Surviving in a Life Raft, photo by Maj Luneau
The day was unbelievably fun:  After a safety orientation, we divided up into groups of 5 that would swim out to a life raft anchored offshore and practice our open water skills, one group at a time.  In the swim, some of us got to try out the Coast Guard-provided anti-exposure suits and/or other full body clothing to help us simulate swimming in flight suits, as we would need to if we found ourselves in the water after ditching.

Besides swimming on our own and in a group float technique, we got in/out of the life raft and inventoried our survival equipment.  Besides the ocean portion, we had additional training on the beach, practicing using pyrotechnics safely, building fires and survival shelter, using pumps such as the kind the USCG would provide to survivors in life rafts during a rescue, and other techniques.

Most of us were in teams of 1 CAP member per 4 USCG members. Each team rotated through each of the swim and on-land learning stations.

We were very lucky with the water temperature, which was a balmy 68 deg F.  My wet suit plus exposure suit was way too warm - at least relative to what you might expect in the Pacific Ocean off of Northern California!   Worse yet, the combination was much too buoyant for me, especially when paired with even a partially inflated PFD/personal flotation device (which, as my USCG team members explained to me, was one size fits all, to include enough buoyancy for the 200-300 lb men in their ranks).

Even letting almost all the air out of my PFD, I could not duck under the waves to swim beyond the surf.  Since I love to swim in the ocean and play in the surf, it was both frustrating and funny. Like a little piece of cork, each time I tried to dive underneath a wave, I popped right back up, was inhaled by the breaking wave, and ended up being flung closer to shore than I’d started.

Two of my USCG teammates ended up pushing me underwater in each wave, until we got past the surf zone. I was never so grateful to be held UNDER water in the ocean by two men much larger than myself. Really, they were being helpful, not trying to drown me!

Several of us played in the surf before it was our turn to swim out to the life raft offshore. Lt Fletcher-Hernandez's video shows us in the surf zone, with me being pummeled by a wave.  I like how he neatly stops the recording before one can see that I did survive.

The waves picked up later in the afternoon, and the last team, consisting of all CAP members, had to work a lot harder swimming out to the life raft. To keep everyone safe, the USCG instructors brought the raft in a little closer to shore. Just the same, they spent every bit as much time in the water as everyone else was required to do, in order to pass the class.

Recently, we had a discussion about professionalism and what it means to CAP, so it was still on my mind during this training, and I was very happy (but not surprised) to see that both the USCG instructors and the trainees demonstrated exemplary professional behavior throughout the day. It was a great pleasure to train with them.  CAP can be grateful for the opportunity to learn from and together with them.

An especially big thank you goes out to our host, AST1 Aviation Survival Technician Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Kline, Rescue Swimmer U.S.C.G, as well as the other outstanding instructors from the Air Station San Francisco: ASTC Moyer, AST2 Hanchette, AST3 Munns, AST3 Bell, and AST3 Santoyo, not to mention ASSF Chief's Mess for the delicious barbecue.

Capt Coreas, photo by
Lt Hollerbach
Following the water portion of the training, over Labor Day weekend Capt Yudis Coreas taught the classroom portion, which included -

  • Training requirements and reasons for them
  • Operational requirements
  • Equipment
  • Mission preparations and planning
  • Weather information beyond what we might ordinarily obtain for a flight, such as sea state information (wave height, direction and frequency) and what it means to flight planning and ditching
  • Special preflighting practices for overwater flights
  • CAP limitations and personal limitations
  • In-flight procedures
  • Ditching
  • 406 MHz and 121.5 MHz beacons
  • Survival gear
  • Survival after ditching
Know your limitations.  If you had to ditch when the waves are a 9 on the Beaufort Scale, would you survive? Perhaps better to stay home safely.
Photo provided by CAP
(classroom training materials)

At the end of class, we took turns practicing timed egress from the airplane, in crews of 3, including remembering to exit with a simulated raft, which required some additional crew coordination that most of us are not used to when thinking about emergency egress on land.  Not so easy to do in just a few seconds - although everyone was able to do it and meet at the tail of the aircraft in well under the required maximum 60 seconds.

Classroom Participants, photo provided by Maj Luneau

If you haven’t taken this training yet, I highly recommend it.  It might save your life some day, or enable you to save someone else’s by participating in a mission that you would otherwise not be able to participate in.  In the meantime, the training itself is a lot of fun. An alternate water date is set for September 17, so it's not too late.

SM Sturgill (2nd from left) and Lt Gross (3rd from left), along with USCG
Participants during Safety Equipment Lecture, photo by Capt Hayes
...  September 18 addendum:  Congratulations to SM Kenneth Sturgill and 2d Lt Michael Gross for completing their water portion on September 17.