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2015 North Carolina Wing Conference

NC Wing Members
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North Carolina Wing Members attending general session. (click image to view full size)
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Great time in Raleigh

12/15/2015––Who ever said you couldn’t have fun, laughter, learning and entertainment all at the same time didn’t attend this past weekend’s North Carolina Wing Conference in Raleigh, NC. Festivities began Friday evening with the Commander’s desert reception and karaoke. Everyone enjoyed the karaoke, whether you were watching or performing. One of the highlights was Col. Crawford and his daughter performing together. The members of the Operations Staff were also a favorite.

Saturday was a jammed packed day full of learning, sharing of ideas, connecting with old friends and honoring those who stepped up and went above and beyond. It was also the day we were honored to recognize and celebrate those who helped start what we, as Civil Air Patrol, have become today. Besides the annual awards and seminars, one of the highlights of the day was the honoring and presentation of the remaining Congressional Gold Medals to the families of NC Wing Civil Air Patrol’s WWII founding members. The festivities ended with the formal banquet and Cadet dance. A great time was had by all.

The morning started with the general assembly. The colors were presented by the Middle East Region Championship Color Guard from the Raleigh-Wake Composite Squadron. Remarks were provided by Lt. Col. K. Hubbard, Liaison Region Commander and Col. J. Knowles, Middle East Region Commander. The National presentation was made by Col. L. Ragland, CAP National Executive Officer and Ms J. Debardelaben, Deputy Director of Public Affairs. Col. Crawford provided an update on the past year and set the stage for the remaining months of his term as the Wing Commander. Along with the annual Wing awards, there were also some National and Regional awards handed out. Colonel Crawford stated that there is still some Wing “Of the Year Awards” that has not been presented yet. There is still time for people to submit names of deserving individuals for those awards. The following awards were presented:

Meritorious Service Award – Lt. Col. Max Benbow and Maj. John May

National Commander’s Commendation Award – 1st Lt. Kathleen Maxfield and C/Maj. Kyra Willis

Gill Rob Wilson Award – Lt. Col. Shelley Gonzales; Lt. Col. Dion Viventi; Maj. Edward Angelovich; Maj. Francis Parker, Jr. and Capt. Michael Willis

Grover Loening Award – Capt. Gene Merklein, Jr

Middle East Region Senior Chaplain of the Year – Lt. Col. Norman Wayne Byerly

Cadet Program Officer of the Year – Capt. Michael Willis

Finance Officer of the Year – Maj. Brendan Kearns

Chaplain of the Year – Chaplain (Capt.) Shannon Maness

Professional Development Officer of the Year – 1st Lt. Phillip Hooper

Communicator of the Year – Maj. Fred Draper

Public Affairs Officer of the Year – Maj. Sherry Haskell

Drug Demand Reduction Officer of the Year – Capt. Joel Lipsey

Safety Officer Of the Year – Lt. Col. Thomas Bly

Col Edwin Lewis Incident Staff Member of the Year – Maj. Christopher Bailey

Cadet NCO of the Year – C/SMSgt. Lelyand Cathey

Cadet of the Year – C/Maj. Kyra Willis

Senior Member of the Year – Lt. Col. Wallace Courtney

During the Wing Conference Major James Elliott was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. In the evening at the banquet C/2d Lt. Seth Brannon was presented his Billy Mitchell Award. C/2d Lt. Brannon is the first cadet officer from the North Carolina Leadership Academy Cadet Squadron (NC-825) to achieve this award.

At the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony, 13 additional medals were handed out to the families of North Carolina Civil Air Patrol recipients. A reading of the names, with a single ring of a bell after each name, was observed in honor and remembrance of those who gave their life while serving their country as a member of CAP. We thank all the founding members of the North Carolina Civil Air Patrol for their service to our country.

Both Cadets and Seniors were busy attending seminars in the afternoon. There was something for everyone and covered all kinds of topics that are of interest to CAP members. Two different sessions were held certifying personnel in first aid and CPR. The Cadets spent a few hours at Adventure Landing. They also had seminars on customs and courtesies, review board 101, earning your wings and get out of the hanger to name a few. The Seniors had seminars in ES, Logistics, Recruiting and Retention, PAO/PIO, and Command among several others.

The banquet held Saturday evening was hosted by Lt. Col. Jay Langley and Maj. Chris Bailey. They kept the room entertained and laughing throughout the evening. If you were not there, you missed a great time! There was a photo booth available for anyone who wanted some photos. A balloon maker was also there and was seen making such things as a Vikings hat, a hat with an Eagle on top, Rudolph the red nose reindeer, Santa and an angle just to name a few. Captain Tracie Langley and a few helpers did a wonderful job creating a winter wonderland over in a corner where people could go take pictures. The evening ended with a dance for the Cadets and any Seniors who wanted to dance.

If you were not able to make it, you missed a wonderful time. This conference kicked off our yearlong celebration of Civil Air Patrols 75th anniversary celebration that will culminate next year. Be on the lookout for the announcement of when and where the Wing Conference will be held. It will be an event you will not want to miss! Special thank you to all the members who helped plan, prepare and put together this year’s Wing Conference. They did a great job pulling everything together.