Thursday, December 14, 2017

December 2017 All Hands Meeting - Happy Holidays!

Mingling before the meeting starts. Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello.
By 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach. Photos as noted. 
Members (from L to R: 1st Lt Chavez, SM Binninger, 1st Lt Fall,
SM Jones, 2d Lt Sharma) and guests before the meeting.
Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello. 

New member, SM Binninger.
Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello

A warm welcome to our two new squadron members: SM Binninger (new to CAP) and 1st Lt Ettingoff (transferring from Virginia Wing).

Squadron Monthly Recap

November was a relatively quiet month in terms of missions, but we did have one ELT mission in Stockton, with Maj Michelogiannakis (MP), Capt Hayes (MRO), 1st Lt Choate (MO) and 1st Lt Devine (UDF) participating. Congratulations to Lt Devine for his first Find in this mission!

On 8 November, the 129th Rescue Wing invited cadets and Group 2 CAP members to participate in orientation rides. Thanks to Capt Warmkessel (Watsonville) for organizing this event on our side. Participating from our squadron were Lt Col Tinnirello, Lt Col Glenn, Capt Gast, 1st Lt Hollerbach, 2d Lt Campbell, SM Jones, and SM Rainville.   This was my first ever ride in a helicopter, and I think I’m now really spoiled!  That was a lot of fun, especially with being able to ride with the side doors open the entire time and getting a whole new (and windy) perspective on flying! On our tour of the Bay, we also got awesome views of landmarks including the Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Embarcadero, and SFO.
Lt Devine (L) receiving a ribbon for this Find from
Capt Hayes (R). Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello.

Lt Hollerbach (L) and Lt Kraus (R) discussing the finer
points of flying. Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello.
On 2 December, we had a Group 2 Flight Clinic, with Squadron 188 participants including Maj Blank, Maj Ironfield, and Maj Michelogiannakis serving as instructors, and Capt Brown, Capt Fenolio, 1st Lt Hollerbach, and 1st Lt Kraus as trainees. Click here for more info on this fun and very educational event.

On 17-19 November, many of our squadron members traveled to Ontario CA to attend the CAWG Educational Conference. Click here for more info.

Waiting for the meeting to start. Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello.

1st Lt Roberts (foreground).
Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello.
Members and guests at the holiday party after the business part of the
meeting. Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello. 

Members and guests at the holiday party after the business part of the
meeting. Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello. 

I Know About This: Better Pilot Series – Personal Minimums

Lt Choate on Personal Minimums. Photo by 2d Lt Roudnev. 
1st Lt Choate presented the current installment of this series, talking about personal minimums – inspired in part by last month’s SAREX at KLVK, in which we had unusual weather for California. This prompted Lt Choate to think further about different types of minimums related to weather and other factors, such as:

  • Visibility
  • Straight-in vs circling to a runway
  • Winds and crosswinds
  • Fuel reservers
  • Altitude
  • Recency and experience
  • Familiarity with equipment
  • Familiarity with an airport
  • Takeoff and landing runway length
  • Etc.

As a reminder to all CAP pilots: in some cases CAP minimums are more conservative than FAA ones. Every pilot needs personal minimums – what are yours?

How often do you revisit and revise (up or down) yours?  And you do make your revisions while you are on the ground, and NOT while you are out flying, right?!

New Regs

Maj Michelogiannakis on 70-1. Photo by 2d Lt Roudnev.

New regulations – everyone’s favorite topic!  Remember, the goal of our new regs is to increase safety.

Maj Michelogiannakis went through highlights of the new requirements, many of which include changes to the flight release process as well as qualifications for flight release officers. Please read the regulations in their entirety, as they are now in effect!  Also, we can expect a new California Wing supplement to come out in the next weeks/months.

Upcoming Events

Please join other CAP members at the Saturday 16 December Wreaths Across America event. The ceremony begins promptly at 9 AM, at the Golden Gate National Cemetery.  This is part of a national event, taking place simultaneously at national cemeteries throughout the country, to honor our fallen veterans. Click here for descriptions of the event from past years or click here for information about the Wreaths Across America organization.
Maj Fridell, photo by
Lt Col Tinnirello

The squadron will be dark for the rest of the year’s Tuesdays. The next All Hands meeting will be on Tuesday 2 January 2018.   Enjoy safe and peaceful holidays between now and then.

Mark your calendars: on 30 January 2018, the “5th Tuesday” in January, we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Squadron 188’s CAP Charter!

Congratulations to the following members for their awards, promotions and renewed or new ES ratings:

  • Maj Fridell: Command Pilot: 2000+ hrs PIC + 5yrs as CAP Pilot; Red Service Ribbon (10 years)
  • Maj DeFord completed Senior Operations Specialty Track
  • Maj Michelogiannakis: renewed AOBD
  • Capt Rivas: renewed F5
  • Capt Stevulak: Red Service Ribbon (5 years)
  • 1st Lt Choate: renewed F5 
  • 1st Lt Devine: completed UDF and received a Find Ribbon (see above)
  • 1st Lt Roberts Senior Safety Specialty Track
  • 2d Lt Sharma’s promotion (from SM to 2d Lt)
  • SM Jones: completed MS rating 
  • SM Rainville: completed MS rating
  • SM Binninger: Membership Ribbon for completion of Level I
  • 2d Lt Sharma (2d L) being assisted with his new Lieutenant's
    epaulets by family members and Capt Hayes (R).
    Photo by 2d Lt Roudnev. 
  • SM Mello: Membership Ribbon for completion of Level I

Happy holidays to all! Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello

Monday, December 4, 2017

Group 2 Flight Clinic at CCR, OAK, PAO and RHV

By 1st Lt Karin Hollerbach, photos as noted.

This weekend, a number of Group 2 pilots participated in a flight clinic, with emphasis on refining everyone’s takeoff and landing skills.

The clinic started off with a ground school session. Since this was a Group 2 event, and we’re all scattered around the Bay Area, we avoided everyone having to travel to a single destination by having the ground school session online. In our virtual meeting, we reviewed common takeoff and landing problems, as well as factors causing them and ways to avoid and/or mitigate them – prevention always being the best option!  Maj Michelogiannakis led this discussion, which was a mandatory part of the clinic.

We were lucky with the weather – after forecasts earlier in the week showed likely precipitation during the day, we had benign VFR conditions and a very high overcast layer only, as well as minimal wind.  OK, maybe not ideal for those pilots specifically wanting to work on their cross-wind takeoff and landing techniques, but great for those of us focusing on other aspects.
Maj Michelogiannakis (L) and Capt Fenolio (R) after their sortie at KOAK.
(Credit unknown - a nice person at the airport.)

Most of the flights were conducted in our G1000 182s, and a couple of people flew the 206 at KRHV.

Capt Brown and I were both assigned to the 182 at Concord airport, KCCR, flying with Maj Ironfield.  We all had a good time and packed an awful lot of takeoffs and landings into 2 short sorties! Twelve landings and two go-arounds later, I know I met my training goals in my sortie.  Thanks to Maj Ironfield (and all the other instructors) for making himself available for this training!

All in all, we had 13 pilots participating in this clinic, flying four airplanes at four different airfields: 4 instructor pilots, 8 trainee pilots, and 1 incident commander (who had to remain on the ground to so that the rest of us could fly safely).

Maj DeFord – Incident Commander (Squadron 188)
Lt Hollerbach (L), Capt Brown (C) and Maj Ironfield (R) between
sorties at KCCR. Photo by Lt Col Tinnirello.


  • Maj Michelogiannakis – Project Officer and Instructor (Squadron 188)
  • Capt Fenolio – Trainee (Squadron 188)
  • 1st Lt Kraus – Trainee (Squadron 188)


  • Maj Ironfield – Instructor (Squadron 188)
  • Capt Brown – Trainee (Squadron 188)
  • 1st Lt Hollerbach – Trainee (Squadron 188)


  • Capt Arasmith – Instructor (Squadron 10) 
  • Capt Hartman – Trainee (Squadron 80) 
  • 2d Lt De Bleecker – Trainee (Squadron 10) 


  • Lt Col Sena – Instructor (Squadron 80)
  • Maj McCutchen – Trainee (Squadron 10) 
  • 1st Lt Gross – Trainee (Squadron 10) 

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!