Monday, March 23, 2015

Mountains, Mountains, Mountains

By 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach

Another busy weekend for Squadron 188 members.  Five members of our squadron showed their dedication to continuous improvement in their skills by participating in Northern and Southern California training opportunities.

As flying in the mountains brings additional risk factors beyond other flying that many of us who live near the coast normally do, it requires special skills to stay safe.  California Wing (CAWG) Groups provided 2 different training opportunities for mountain flying this past weekend.

Lt Rugroden (3rd from left) among his graduating class at the Mountain Flying Clinic

Lt Roberts, Mission Safety
Officer-Trainee in AUN
Congratulations to 1st Lt Gene Rugroden, who attended the Mountain Flying Clinic and joined the ranks of Mountain Flying Certified Mission Pilots.

Congratulations to 2d Lt Tim Roberts, who obtained his Mission Scanner (MS) rating and trained as Mission Safety Officer (MSO) at the Group 5 exercise in AUN.

Lt Stevulak planning his AP sortie
In addition, Maj Jeff Ironfield, 1st Lt John Stevulak, and Lt Hollerbach participated in the Group 5/2 exercise and practiced their Mission Pilot (MP), Airborne Photographer (AP), Mission Observer (MO) and mountain flying skills.

Maj Ironfield is ready to fly
A huge thank you to 1st Lt Eric Choate for flying to SAC to pick up Maj Ironfield and Lts Stevulak and Hollerbach on Saturday evening.

Aircrew planning their sorties in AUN

Friday, March 20, 2015

In Memoriam - Brigadier General Warren J. Barry, CAP

By Lt Col Juan Tinnirello, photos by Lt Col Tinnirello

View of the Holy Cross Cemetery
Brigadier General Warren J. Barry, CAP was buried this morning at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Antioch, CA. Brigadier Barry became a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) member in 1952 and after progressing through the ranks in California and Pacific Region, he became National Commander for the years 1990-1993. A mass was celebrated this morning at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Antioch, were he was an usher and a respected parishioner for more than 50 years.

Father Roberto Corral, OP, Pastor of Holy Rosary Church in Antioch, Addressing the Participants
National, Pacific Region, State and local members of CAP were present to give their respect and condolences to family members. United States Armed Forces Veterans were present as well and accompanied the caravan carrying the ashes to Holy Cross Cemetery in their motorcycles. Cadet Rodriguez played Taps as everybody saluted.

Col Kenneth Parris, Lt Col Brett Dolnick, Group 2 Commander and Captain Douglas Perreira, Squadron 188, among several others CAP members attending the event

United States Armed Forces Veterans Saluting while Taps is Being Played

Cadet Rodriguez from Squadron 37 at Reid-Hillview Airport, San Jose, Plays Taps

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Congratulations, Maj Steven DeFord

By 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach, photo by Capt Georgios Michelogiannakis

Congratulations to Maj Steven DeFord, for completing his IFR Form 5.  Out of 9 powered aircraft pilots, with Maj DeFord, Squadron 188 now has 5 pilots who have completed their IFR Form 5. In addition, the squadron has 2 glider pilots.

Also, thanks to Maj Jeff Ironfield for helping Maj DeFord with his training and to Capt Michelogiannakis, who was the IFR Form 5 check pilot.

Maj Steven DeFord after his successful IFR Form 5

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The History of the Squadron 188 Patch

By Lt Col Juan Tinnirello, CAP

Squadron 188 original patch
Squadron 188 was started by Maj Paul Groff back in the year 1988.  Prior to starting the Senior Squadron, he was with Cadet Squadron 18, which was at the time also located at the Oakland Airport North Field.  Both squadrons operated out of the same building, where now all the car rental companies are located.

Time went by and the squadron grew. Some time in late 1991 Maj Groff challenged the cadets of Squadron 18 to design a patch for the Senior Squadron. The original chosen drawing was handmade. Where it went is history, and the writer never found it, even though he saw it when it was presented to the squadron for approval.
Squadron 188 new patch artwork
The name of the cadet that designed the patch has also been lost. However, a picture of the first edition of the embroidered patch is here for your viewing.   Also enclosed is the letter dated 29 Feb 1992 from Maj Groff requesting the approval of the patch by the Group 2 Commander. The letter requesting the approval explains the symbolism behind the design of the patch.

In 2010 the Squadron ran out of the original patches. With the electronic era in full swing, then Capt Noel Luneau electronically updated the patch's design.  At the writer’s request, he changed the shape to conform to the regulations for a squadron patch.

Well, the details of the new design are substantially better than the original handmade version, and the embroidering machines of that time were not as sophisticated as the
Squadron 188 new patch picture
 current ones.  So, the details are significantly improved.

Both the drawing and a photograph of the current patch are included for your comparison.
The squadron has patches available for sale to any non-CAP individual for $10.00 each. You can contact the writer, if interested – or please leave a comment in this blog.  Of course, CAP members get a discount.  The current and old versions of the patch are scattered around the nation in some CAP displays and private patch collections.

March 2015 All Hands Meeting

By 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach, photos by Lt Col Juan Tinnirello

Squadron 188 Members and Guests Before the Meeting

At this month’s All Hands meeting, the following awards and promotions were given:

Leadership Ribbon

  • 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach - Technician rating in the PAO specialty track

Newly Minted Capt Jordan Hayes

  • 2nd Lt Karin Hollerbach was promoted to 1st Lt.
  • 1st Lt Jordan Hayes was promoted to Capt.

In addition,

Maj Noel Luneau Receives his Counter Drug Clasp
from Capt Luis Rivas
  • Maj Noel Luneau was awarded his 3rd Counter Drug clasp.
  • Maj Chris Johnson renewed his CUL and MSO ratings.
  • Maj Kathy Johnson renewed her FASC rating.
  • Capt Lutz Heinrich was awarded his Air Crew rating.

Godfrey Watson Checks out
the Folks at Squadron 188 

Welcome to the guests who came to visit us during our squadron meeting, Godfrey and Mohammad (Mo).  Godfrey is an ATP pilot with Commercial, Multi-Engine, Instrument, Instructor, and Glider ratings. Mo is an A&P mechanic. We hope both of you will join us!

Maj Steven DeFord Discusses Natural Hazards
Safety Briefing
This month’s safety briefing was conducted by Maj Steven DeFord, who walked us through common natural hazards, including poisonous plants and animals, encountered by Ground Team (GT) members. The presentation covered quite a lot of information that GT members are expected to know and  knowledge they must demonstrate in order to earn this rating. If you are interested in obtaining a GT3 rating and you missed this briefing, please see Maj DeFord.

Upcoming Events
On March 10th, the squadron meeting includes an aerospace excellence (AEX) session led by Lt Col Roger Glenn.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Statewide Communications Exercise a Great Success!

By 2d Lt Karin Hollerbach, photos as noted 

On a Saturday in January 2015, the California Wing (CAWG) of the Pacific Region Civil Air Patrol conducted a statewide Communications Training Exercise. Amelia Earhart, Senior Squadron 188 at the Oakland Airport North Field hosted the exercise and participated as the mission base for the entire state.

Squadron 188 members prep the airborne repeater before
taking it up in CAP 445. From left to right: 1st Lt Jordan Hayes,
Capt Luis Rivas, Maj Steven DeFord, 1st Lt Eric Choate.
Photo by Maj Noel Luneau.
One hundred and sixty-nine CAP members from all 8 CAWG Groups participated in the exercise, which also included 9 vehicles and one aircraft. An additional 6 aircraft on self-funded missions informally joined the radio message passing tasks.  Each Group’s tasking generally included passing a pre-defined message to each of the other Groups. Each Group was also required to confirm receipt of messages from all the other Groups. A total of approximately 60 unique messages were sent, in many cases relayed, and received by their intended recipients throughout the state. 

Maj Noel Luneau gives input
to base staff and aircrew before
beginning operations.
Photo by 2d Lt Hollerbach. 
The exercise included message traffic using FM radio, HF radio, and an airborne tactical repeater. Radio operators from an incredible list of squadron facilities throughout the state participated: Oakland, Reid-Hillview, Auburn, Palo Alto, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Brackett, Concord, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Camarillo, Riverside, Costa Mesa, Los Alamitos, Palomar Mtn., Palomar Peak, San Diego, Montgomery Field, Fallbrook, Carlsbad Airport, Laguna Niguel, Chula Vista, Camp Pendleton, Chino Airport, Palm Springs, Hemet-Ryan, Big Bear, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Chatsworth, and Rosamond; as well as in CAP vehicles in remote locations, on CAP-approved radio equipment at members’ homes, and in aircraft acting as Highbird (relays).

Maj Noel Luneau, Squadron 188, acted as Incident Commander (IC) for the exercise, working closely with Project Officer, 1st Lt Jordan Hayes, Squadron 188, to make this event happen.  Together, these two dedicated CAP members provided high quality leadership for the exercise, and Lt Hayes worked diligently for several months leading up to, during, and immediately after the event. Because of the many volunteers participating, Maj Luneau and Lt Hayes were able to organize the entire large-scale exercise and complete it with a budget of less than $1,000.

A ground team appreciated the quintessential Northern California view, complete with marine fog layer viewed from Mt Diablo. Photo by Maj Timothy Albert, Squadron 44.   
Maj Luneau says, “thanks to the incredible efforts by Lt Hayes, California Wing proved that our Communication capabilities would be available when required.  It was gratifying to be part of an exercise that utilized members at bases, vehicles, aircraft, and their homes. In the event of a disaster, our strength and success in message passing statewide will rely on these distributed assets. Bravo Zulu California Wing Communicators!”

Participation in the event ranged from highly experienced communicators and planners to members working on their communications ratings for the first time to those of us who have gained some experience but who can stand to learn a lot from large-scale, realistic exercises. 

Squadron103 members are operating the radios in the Commo Room. From left to right: 
1st Lt Joe Vanherweg, Squadron 103, Maj Jim Breedlove, Squadron 103, 
Maj Kenneth Thompson, Squadron 103. Photo by 1st Lt Bryce Dilger, Squadron 103. 
In the author’s case, acting as Mission Observer (MO) in one of the self-funded aircraft flying Highbird, and holding the Mission Radio Operator (MRO) rating without a large amount of experience to go along with that rating, lessons learned included, for example: After checking into one net using one of the relays, then even when acting as Highbird and expecting to talk to several different nets, before switching from one relay frequency to another, check out of the net!  “Right, as a pilot, I knew that.”  Somehow as an MO and not formally part of the mission’s flights, the author forgot… and promptly got thumped (virtually and in a friendly manner!) by a concerned Net Control upon rejoining the home net when returning to base.  This is what training is all about.

Using repeaters fairly far to the south in the State, the Highbird coming from San Francisco Bay Area Group 2 was successful in reaching Central Coast Group 4, and relaying messages back to Group 2 and Norcal Group 5.

A Riverside-based ground team in Southern California has
found a suitable location on Santa Rosa Mountain for its radio
transmissions. Photo by 1st Lt Richard Matano, Squadron 5.
According to Lt Hayes, “Mission Pilot (MP) 1st Lt Eric Choate, along with MO Capt Luis Rivas, flew CAP 445 from Oakland as an alert-launched airborne tactical repeater almost to the Los Angeles basin area at high altitude, allowing operators from at least 5 Groups to utilize ad hoc long-distance radio communications links.  While CAP 445 was out of range of Group 2’s local repeater, the aircraft reported an ‘ops normal’ to an operator in Group 4, who relayed it via VHF to an operator in Group 3, who then relayed it to the base in Oakland over HF.  All of this occurred in less than 4 minutes.  We can all feel better knowing that CAWG has that kind of real-time mission capability.”