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Wilson, Secretary of Air Force, Visits CAP Members at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 14:58:56 -0500

One visitor in particular to Civil Air Patrol’s recruiting booth at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh stood out this week among the crowds of thousands attending what has long been one of the world’s largest air shows.

Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Heather Wilson made a point of dropping by the booth during her trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for AirVenture. She met with CAP’s national commander, Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez, and Col. Rose Hunt, Wisconsin Wing commander, as well as senior members and cadets providing support for the air show as part of National Blue Beret, one of CAP’s annual National Cadet Special Activities.

 

Vazquez showed Wilson some of the cutting-edge features inside a CAP Cessna 182 equipped with Garmin G1000 capability on display at the recruiting booth. She is a an instrument-related private pilot who flies a Cessna 152

Wilson’s ties to Civil Air Patrol date back two generations. Her grandfather, George G. “Scotty” Wilson, signed on as the fourth member ever of the New Hampshire Wing after CAP’s founding on Dec. 1, 1941. He commanded the Keene, New Hampshire, squadron and subsequently served as the wing’s training and operations and executive officer before ultimately becoming New Hampshire Wing commander in 1948.

National Blue Beret is held for two weeks every summer in conjunction with AirVenture Oshkosh, which annually draws about 500,000 people and more than 10,000 aircraft. This year it’s staffed by 150 cadets and 53 senior members from 44 states. The CAP members contribute over 4,000 volunteer hours in flight line operations and emergency services and assist the EAA as needed. Fourteen aircraft and 20 vehicles stand ready to support an actual search and rescue mission.

In coordination with Blue Beret, the Wisconsin Wing has established mission bases in Fond du Lac, Appleton, Oshkosh and Sheboygan to provide search and rescue assistance if tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.

Wilson’s visit highlighted a week that had already included an appearance by another high-profile aviator — acrobatic pilot Sean D. Tucker. The air show legend encountered an enrapt audience when he spoke to the cadets volunteering at AirVenture.

Tucker provided the cadets with a behind-the-scenes look at his job and career. “Dream in Technicolor,” he urged his young listeners in describing the path he took more than four decades ago to become a sought-after performer at events across the globe.

Cadet 2nd Lt. Douglas Denny, a member of the New York Wing’s Lt. Anthony L. Willsea Cadet Squadron, took Tucker’s words to heart.

From listening to the famed flier’s presentation, "more than anything, I learned what it means to be a real aviator," Denny said. “He looks, acts and flies like the real deal. It feels really important to meet someone like that and be able to shake their hand.

“He helped me understand the true spirit of aviation,” the cadet added. “I believe Sean D. Tucker is so impressive, because he believes anything is possible, and he shows the world that belief is true.”

The 2008 National Aviation Hall of Fame inductee is sponsored by the Oracle Corp.; he performs as part of Team Oracle at air shows. His yearly appearances at AirVenture climbed to a new level in 2013 when he was named chairman of the EAA’s Young Eagles program, which is devoted to introducing and educating youth 8-17 to aviation.

“Thank you for the job you guys do here,” Tucker told his CAP audience. “Without you volunteering your time and energy, this air show would not go on.”

CAP Brothers Parlay Cadet Experiences into Careers
Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:30:01 -0500

Kristi Carr
Contributing Writer

When Lt. Cols. Randy and Mary Fuller of the Missouri Wing made Civil Air Patrol a family affair, they were thinking about spending time together and instilling volunteer service and patriotism in their three sons.

They got all that and much more. CAP work eventually helped lead each of their sons into meaningful careers.

Sean
Big brother Sean Fuller was the first to capitalize on his CAP background. Today the director of NASA Human Space Flight Programs in Russia, he was the only son old enough to join CAP when the organization first came to his father’s attention through a newspaper article.

Both father and son joined the River City Composite Squadron in Fenton, Missouri. Sean took full advantage of the CAP program, attending summer programs like National Blue Beret, Cadet Officers School and the International Air Cadet Exchange and eventually earning the prestigious Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award, the highest achievement for a CAP cadet.

He already had a strong interest in aerospace before joining CAP, but he allows that the organization helped fuel that interest while providing him with many opportunities to pursue it, including a CAP scholarship that helped him earn a pilot’s certificate and education in model rocketry and the history and fundamentals of aviation.

 

 

After getting a degree in engineering physics from Embry-Riddle, he already had a job at the United Space Alliance in Houston working on NASA’s International Space Station program. Though his job titles may have changed, he has continued to be involved with the ISS. This fall he will complete his tour of duty in Russia, where he represents NASA in liaisons with Russia, Japan, Canada and Europe.

He describes the ISS as “the cutting edge of human space flight, preparing us to go beyond low Earth orbit, opening the door to commercial space and advancing research to benefit life on Earth as well as prepare for longer-duration journeys deeper into the cosmos.” He goes on to cite the ISS as a prime example of inter-country cooperation in the “greatest engineering achievement of mankind in peacetime.”

Civil Air Patrol Volunteer took an in-depth look in 2015 at Sean Fuller’s work in Russia.

Kurt
Most recently, middle brother Kurt Fuller was named Bell Helicopter manager of the Bell Boeing V-22 program at its Dallas-Fort Worth site.

Like his brothers, he learned to fly while in CAP, doing so through a family friend who owned a plane. After graduation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida with a degree in aerospace engineering, he embarked on a career in aviation, joining The Aerostructures Corp. in 1998. He worked with Aerostructures for five years.

“In 2003, I joined Bell Helicopter-Textron, where I spent the following almost 11½ years on V-22, advancing in my career with increasing responsibility and leadership,” he said. “In November 2014, I left V-22 as the manager of mechanical systems to lead the UH-1Y and AH-1Z engineering team as the chief engineer. In September 2016, I returned to my tilt-rotor roots with a promotion to program manager at Bell for the V-22.”

The V-22, also known as Osprey, is a multimission, tilt-rotor military aircraft with both vertical takeoff and landing and short takeoff and landing capabilities. It’s designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.

Fuller became interested in tilt-rotor aircraft during his first job as a structural design engineer on the 609 Civil Tilt-Rotor with Aerostructures. “It wasn’t helicopters as much as it was tilt-rotors, which I found fascinating by their innovative and transformational capability.”

He credits Civil Air Patrol with kick-starting his career. “CAP provided me early exposure to leadership roles and fueled my passion for aviation,” he said. “CAP also gave me insight into and education regarding U.S. military rank/chain of command and organization (squadron, group, wing), which is a world I work in on a daily basis now.

“CAP likely fueled my passion for working with and supporting the U.S. military,” he said.

Chad
Youngest brother Chad Fuller took the military route and is currently serving as an F-16 pilot with the Colorado National Guard.

“CAP helped foster my interest in aviation and introduced me to the military/Air Force and the many opportunities they had to offer,” he said. “As I spent more time in CAP and participated in many of the activities, it became clear to me that I wanted to pursue a career in military aviation with the dream of being a fighter pilot.”

Because of a wrist injury, Chad didn’t get his wings until he was a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy. When he graduated, he went on to flight school at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, and was later sent to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas to study to be a flight instructor.

He learned to fly the F-16 while at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona., subsequently spending the next four years overseas, first in Korea and then in Italy.

“Being a fighter pilot in the F-16 really is a dream job for me,” he said, adding that the best part of flying an F-16 is “the view from the office! … I love the flying, the camaraderie of the squadron, the challenges and being ready to fight for our country when called upon.”

Chad finished his commitment to the Air Force back at Luke, where he was an F-16 instructor. Always wanting to return to Colorado, he jumped at a job opportunity there and is now on Active Guard Reserve status at Buckley Air Force Base.

Mom and dad
As for mom and dad, both remain active in CAP. After separate stints for each as commander of their Missouri squadron, they moved on to work at the wing level.

Mary Fuller — whose husband claims she joined CAP “out of self defense” as everyone else in the family was already a member — is the Missouri Wing’s assistant chief of staff. Randy Fuller is assistant director of emergency services and serves as the wing’s adviser on government relations and commander of the Legislative Squadron.

“For many years, while all the boys were still home, we functioned as a complete ground team and were usually the first called, since they knew we could deploy rapidly,” Randy Fuller said. “One time, we responded to four emergency locator transmitter missions in a 24-hour period in addition to attending a first aid class.”

Sean Fuller, a major in the Texas Wing’s Ellington Composite Squadron, described service on a ground team as important to the family as he and his brothers were growing up. “Through numerous ELT missions, missing aircraft, responding to disaster relief, standing ready and providing weather spotter information or training for such missions, we did it together.” Later, when he lived in Florida, he continued to serve on ground teams. He was part of one of the first ground teams to respond to Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Kurt Fuller said, “CAP offers a great way to support your local community and aviation through a wide variety of different activities while learning critical skills (lifesaving, leadership, communication, teamwork, etc.) and growing as a family.”

Their father agrees: Randy Fuller has seen CAP’s effect on his three sons.

“CAP was something we could do as a family unit,” he said. “Each of us enjoyed various activities together. It is comforting to see people that were cadets under our command now graduated to senior members with their children now becoming cadets.”

 Wing News

Wilson, Secretary of Air Force, Visits CAP Members at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 14:58:56 -0500

One visitor in particular to Civil Air Patrol’s recruiting booth at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh stood out this week among the crowds of thousands attending what has long been one of the world’s largest air shows.

Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Heather Wilson made a point of dropping by the booth during her trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for AirVenture. She met with CAP’s national commander, Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez, and Col. Rose Hunt, Wisconsin Wing commander, as well as senior members and cadets providing support for the air show as part of National Blue Beret, one of CAP’s annual National Cadet Special Activities.

 

Vazquez showed Wilson some of the cutting-edge features inside a CAP Cessna 182 equipped with Garmin G1000 capability on display at the recruiting booth. She is a an instrument-related private pilot who flies a Cessna 152

Wilson’s ties to Civil Air Patrol date back two generations. Her grandfather, George G. “Scotty” Wilson, signed on as the fourth member ever of the New Hampshire Wing after CAP’s founding on Dec. 1, 1941. He commanded the Keene, New Hampshire, squadron and subsequently served as the wing’s training and operations and executive officer before ultimately becoming New Hampshire Wing commander in 1948.

National Blue Beret is held for two weeks every summer in conjunction with AirVenture Oshkosh, which annually draws about 500,000 people and more than 10,000 aircraft. This year it’s staffed by 150 cadets and 53 senior members from 44 states. The CAP members contribute over 4,000 volunteer hours in flight line operations and emergency services and assist the EAA as needed. Fourteen aircraft and 20 vehicles stand ready to support an actual search and rescue mission.

In coordination with Blue Beret, the Wisconsin Wing has established mission bases in Fond du Lac, Appleton, Oshkosh and Sheboygan to provide search and rescue assistance if tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.

Wilson’s visit highlighted a week that had already included an appearance by another high-profile aviator — acrobatic pilot Sean D. Tucker. The air show legend encountered an enrapt audience when he spoke to the cadets volunteering at AirVenture.

Tucker provided the cadets with a behind-the-scenes look at his job and career. “Dream in Technicolor,” he urged his young listeners in describing the path he took more than four decades ago to become a sought-after performer at events across the globe.

Cadet 2nd Lt. Douglas Denny, a member of the New York Wing’s Lt. Anthony L. Willsea Cadet Squadron, took Tucker’s words to heart.

From listening to the famed flier’s presentation, "more than anything, I learned what it means to be a real aviator," Denny said. “He looks, acts and flies like the real deal. It feels really important to meet someone like that and be able to shake their hand.

“He helped me understand the true spirit of aviation,” the cadet added. “I believe Sean D. Tucker is so impressive, because he believes anything is possible, and he shows the world that belief is true.”

The 2008 National Aviation Hall of Fame inductee is sponsored by the Oracle Corp.; he performs as part of Team Oracle at air shows. His yearly appearances at AirVenture climbed to a new level in 2013 when he was named chairman of the EAA’s Young Eagles program, which is devoted to introducing and educating youth 8-17 to aviation.

“Thank you for the job you guys do here,” Tucker told his CAP audience. “Without you volunteering your time and energy, this air show would not go on.”

CAP Brothers Parlay Cadet Experiences into Careers
Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:30:01 -0500

Kristi Carr
Contributing Writer

When Lt. Cols. Randy and Mary Fuller of the Missouri Wing made Civil Air Patrol a family affair, they were thinking about spending time together and instilling volunteer service and patriotism in their three sons.

They got all that and much more. CAP work eventually helped lead each of their sons into meaningful careers.

Sean
Big brother Sean Fuller was the first to capitalize on his CAP background. Today the director of NASA Human Space Flight Programs in Russia, he was the only son old enough to join CAP when the organization first came to his father’s attention through a newspaper article.

Both father and son joined the River City Composite Squadron in Fenton, Missouri. Sean took full advantage of the CAP program, attending summer programs like National Blue Beret, Cadet Officers School and the International Air Cadet Exchange and eventually earning the prestigious Gen. Carl A. Spaatz Award, the highest achievement for a CAP cadet.

He already had a strong interest in aerospace before joining CAP, but he allows that the organization helped fuel that interest while providing him with many opportunities to pursue it, including a CAP scholarship that helped him earn a pilot’s certificate and education in model rocketry and the history and fundamentals of aviation.

 

 

After getting a degree in engineering physics from Embry-Riddle, he already had a job at the United Space Alliance in Houston working on NASA’s International Space Station program. Though his job titles may have changed, he has continued to be involved with the ISS. This fall he will complete his tour of duty in Russia, where he represents NASA in liaisons with Russia, Japan, Canada and Europe.

He describes the ISS as “the cutting edge of human space flight, preparing us to go beyond low Earth orbit, opening the door to commercial space and advancing research to benefit life on Earth as well as prepare for longer-duration journeys deeper into the cosmos.” He goes on to cite the ISS as a prime example of inter-country cooperation in the “greatest engineering achievement of mankind in peacetime.”

Civil Air Patrol Volunteer took an in-depth look in 2015 at Sean Fuller’s work in Russia.

Kurt
Most recently, middle brother Kurt Fuller was named Bell Helicopter manager of the Bell Boeing V-22 program at its Dallas-Fort Worth site.

Like his brothers, he learned to fly while in CAP, doing so through a family friend who owned a plane. After graduation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida with a degree in aerospace engineering, he embarked on a career in aviation, joining The Aerostructures Corp. in 1998. He worked with Aerostructures for five years.

“In 2003, I joined Bell Helicopter-Textron, where I spent the following almost 11½ years on V-22, advancing in my career with increasing responsibility and leadership,” he said. “In November 2014, I left V-22 as the manager of mechanical systems to lead the UH-1Y and AH-1Z engineering team as the chief engineer. In September 2016, I returned to my tilt-rotor roots with a promotion to program manager at Bell for the V-22.”

The V-22, also known as Osprey, is a multimission, tilt-rotor military aircraft with both vertical takeoff and landing and short takeoff and landing capabilities. It’s designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.

Fuller became interested in tilt-rotor aircraft during his first job as a structural design engineer on the 609 Civil Tilt-Rotor with Aerostructures. “It wasn’t helicopters as much as it was tilt-rotors, which I found fascinating by their innovative and transformational capability.”

He credits Civil Air Patrol with kick-starting his career. “CAP provided me early exposure to leadership roles and fueled my passion for aviation,” he said. “CAP also gave me insight into and education regarding U.S. military rank/chain of command and organization (squadron, group, wing), which is a world I work in on a daily basis now.

“CAP likely fueled my passion for working with and supporting the U.S. military,” he said.

Chad
Youngest brother Chad Fuller took the military route and is currently serving as an F-16 pilot with the Colorado National Guard.

“CAP helped foster my interest in aviation and introduced me to the military/Air Force and the many opportunities they had to offer,” he said. “As I spent more time in CAP and participated in many of the activities, it became clear to me that I wanted to pursue a career in military aviation with the dream of being a fighter pilot.”

Because of a wrist injury, Chad didn’t get his wings until he was a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy. When he graduated, he went on to flight school at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, and was later sent to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas to study to be a flight instructor.

He learned to fly the F-16 while at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona., subsequently spending the next four years overseas, first in Korea and then in Italy.

“Being a fighter pilot in the F-16 really is a dream job for me,” he said, adding that the best part of flying an F-16 is “the view from the office! … I love the flying, the camaraderie of the squadron, the challenges and being ready to fight for our country when called upon.”

Chad finished his commitment to the Air Force back at Luke, where he was an F-16 instructor. Always wanting to return to Colorado, he jumped at a job opportunity there and is now on Active Guard Reserve status at Buckley Air Force Base.

Mom and dad
As for mom and dad, both remain active in CAP. After separate stints for each as commander of their Missouri squadron, they moved on to work at the wing level.

Mary Fuller — whose husband claims she joined CAP “out of self defense” as everyone else in the family was already a member — is the Missouri Wing’s assistant chief of staff. Randy Fuller is assistant director of emergency services and serves as the wing’s adviser on government relations and commander of the Legislative Squadron.

“For many years, while all the boys were still home, we functioned as a complete ground team and were usually the first called, since they knew we could deploy rapidly,” Randy Fuller said. “One time, we responded to four emergency locator transmitter missions in a 24-hour period in addition to attending a first aid class.”

Sean Fuller, a major in the Texas Wing’s Ellington Composite Squadron, described service on a ground team as important to the family as he and his brothers were growing up. “Through numerous ELT missions, missing aircraft, responding to disaster relief, standing ready and providing weather spotter information or training for such missions, we did it together.” Later, when he lived in Florida, he continued to serve on ground teams. He was part of one of the first ground teams to respond to Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Kurt Fuller said, “CAP offers a great way to support your local community and aviation through a wide variety of different activities while learning critical skills (lifesaving, leadership, communication, teamwork, etc.) and growing as a family.”

Their father agrees: Randy Fuller has seen CAP’s effect on his three sons.

“CAP was something we could do as a family unit,” he said. “Each of us enjoyed various activities together. It is comforting to see people that were cadets under our command now graduated to senior members with their children now becoming cadets.”

Enduring Patriot
Mon, 17 Jul 2017 16:58:39 -0500

Russell Slater
Contributing Writer

Even though Civil Air Patrol Capt. John Gleeson retired as a business owner more than 20 years ago, the 93-year-old aviation veteran shows no signs of slowing down. The dedicated great-grandfather has a third-class medical certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and is the oldest active pilot in Hawaii.

Gleeson brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Honolulu Senior Squadron, where he serves as public information officer. Motivated by a love for flying and serving others, he continues to demonstrate an enduring patriotism that has not waned through the years.

Answering the Call
Gleeson developed his lifelong passion for flying while growing up in Long Beach, California. As a young adult, he and thousands of his peers were deeply moved by a historic event that spurred them to take immediate action.

“Dec. 7, 1941, was a day like no other. Patriotism was palpable, even reaching down to an 18-year-old laborer at a California shipyard,” Gleeson recalled. “I got up early Dec. 8, 1941, to enlist to protect our country at the Long Beach, California, main post office. I arrived there about 7 a.m., surprised to see a line of 20 or 30 other young men.

“Many, many young men across the United States of America felt the same,” he said.

As a member of the 8th Air Force Gleeson flew a B-24 Liberator and was involved in both combat and covert missions in Europe. He served as a flight engineer and later would see action again during the Korean War.

During World War II “we, 8th Air Force, flew a multitude of bombing missions into Germany, single-aircraft night missions. I remember the apprehension with an element of terror thrown into the mix. The adrenalin was piqued from the moment of full power at takeoff until seeing the English coastline at the completion of our mission.”

“The covert missions were completely different.“Civilian clothes, unmarked and unarmed aircraft, skeleton crew and a very long flight," he added. "The mission was hazardous, due to the lengthy time over the North Sea and the threat of Nazi night fighters as we crossed the most northern area of Norway. Once we were in Swedish airspace we were safe, as Sweden was a neutral nation.”

Gleeson is quick to dispel any romantic notions of secret wartime missions. “The mystique of combat and covert missions does not take into account the abject loss of millions of lives around the world during World War II. If the pundits around the world that initiate wars were required to participate in actual combat, there would be far, far fewer conflicts.”

After the end of hostilities, Gleeson declined a direct commission in the California National Guard, but his military service wasn’t yet finished.

He remembers the Korean War as a very different experience from the Second World War.

“I re-enlisted in early 1948, and I was assigned to the 452nd Bomb Group Flight Test Department. We were flying Douglas B-26 Invaders. We were an Air Force Reserve unit and were activated immediately on the call to arms for the Korean Conflict. I flew a lot and enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.

During that period, he attended flight school and received his private pilot’s certificate.

Once an Aviator … ‚Äč
After his wartime experiences, during the 1960s Gleeson briefly flew a Beechcraft T-34, a training craft, with Civil Air Patrol in Sparks, Nevada. He and his wife – they’ve now been married for 71 years – moved to Honolulu in 1972, and eight years later he decided to join CAP.

He went on to serve as  commander of the glider squadron out of Mokuleia and proudly says, “Yes, I am still actively flying gliders.”

Upon retiring from his own business – John Gleeson Ltd., a mechanical contracting company that specialized in engineering and marine sales/consulting – in 1995, Gleeson remained active organizing aviation-related events in Hawaii.

 

Before and after his retirement, he organized aviation classes and meetings at schools, an Aviation Weekend for the YCMA (which included a speaker, a film, and an air tour of the island of Oahu) and other events aimed at getting young people interested in flying.

Gleeson is also founder of the Great Hawaiian Air Race, an event that involved aircraft from the U.S., United Kingdom, Spain, Canada, Japan and Australia. The race generated about $150,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation over a five-year span.

And he is one of the founding directors of the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island in Oahu; he served at the museum’s director for three years.

Another memorable chapter in Gleeson’s life involved production of “Pearl Harbor,” the 2001 Michael Bay film based on the Japanese attack on the American naval base, the very attack that drove Gleeson to enlist at 18. He organized a charter flight for Disney executives, dubbed the First Attack Flight, that showed the route the attackers flew, radar sites and gun positions.

Given his outstanding record of more than 50 years of safe flight operations, Gleeson received the Master Pilot Award from the FAA in 2006. His undying spirit of service continues to make a positive impression on those who serve with him.

“Since I joined the Civil Air Patrol in August 2013 as a senior member, John was my mentor and I looked up to him for guidance,” said Capt. Roy Barden, commander of the Honolulu Senior Squadron since 2016. He credits Gleeson and Col. Patrick Collins, Hawaii Wing commander, for helping him achieve his current position.

Barden described Gleeson as “a great leader. There’s no such thing as a challenge too big to handle. He really did a great job setting up our squadron’s Facebook page. He is still very active in our unit. … I would love to be able to be his age and still be in the active flying community.”

Enduring 
Betty Friedan, one of the founders of the modern feminist movement, once said, “Aging is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”

Gleeson is a perfect example of someone who draws on the strength of his experience in order to set the stage for new opportunities. He agrees his stories from both the military and civilian sectors are valuable. He is in the final stages of putting together a book intended for his family.

He continues to serve as an example to his fellow citizens as a patriot whose love of country has endured the test of time.

What does he have to say about the life he’s led? “What a journey!” he exclaimed.

Ind. Unit Uses Employer Grants For NESA Cadet Scholarships
Fri, 14 Jul 2017 10:36:27 -0500

By Kristi Carr
Contributing Writer

Here’s a math equation worth checking out: Take one employer contribution, multiply by five Civil Air Patrol members and what do you get?

In the case of the Indiana Wing’s Fort Benjamin Harrison Composite Squadron, the answer is five fully paid scholarships to send cadets to CAP’s National Emergency Services Academy for training in the Ground Search and Rescue School this summer.

Multiplication
Besides belonging to the same CAP unit, the five grant recipients are all employees of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co. at its world headquarters in Indianapolis.

Maj. Mitch Mitchell, squadron commander, works there as an information technology architect. He learned that CAP would be eligible to receive the Lilly grants through his volunteer honors and passed that information on to his fellow squadron members, who are also Lilly employees.

“This is the third year our squadron has tapped into volunteer grants available through the Lilly Foundation,” he said.

The previous two years the funds, allocated through the squadron’s finance committee, went for general squadron expenses, such as uniforms, ribbons, field trips and training. But this year the unit — very interested in expanding its ground team capabilities from urban direction-finding to full search-and-rescue — is dedicating the Lilly Foundation grants to fund six scholarships to CAP’s summer NESA program.

The grants pay for five cadets to attend NESA at Camp Atterbury in Edinburg, Indiana, this month. One of the cadets, Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Michael Allford II, has been awarded two of the six total scholarships to attend both basic and advanced NESA courses. Allford, a 16-year-old homeschooled sophomore with five siblings, hopes to join the U.S. Air Force and sees the NESA training as a step toward that.

“I’m grateful to attend NESA on this scholarship,” he said. “Our squadron will benefit also, because after the training I will be ground-team certified. I’m excited for this opportunity to gain knowledge and skills to help our squadron.”

Addition
The grants carry tangible benefits in addition to the scholarships they provide. “Our cadets are very busy with school and other activities,” Mitchell said. “Having access to these grants means we don’t need to spend our time on fundraising to relieve families and cadets of the financial burdens of attending these programs.”

And of course, from the squadron’s standpoint, the grants provide the seeds from which its search-and-rescue ground team will emerge. In addition to the five cadets, the squadron sent two senior members for NESA training.

One of those is 1st Lt. Steven Schwartz, senior consultant for manufacturing at Lilly, who is the squadron’s deputy commander and is responsible for cadet programs. Following NESA training, he and the cadet scholarship recipients will form a ground team based at Indianapolis Regional Airport.

“The Lilly Foundation money is well spent,” Schwartz said. “It helps our cadets in several ways — allowing them to provide volunteer support towards emergency services missions, training them in transferrable skills as ground team members and developing in them leadership qualities.

"We are fortunate that the Lilly Foundation makes contributions for all five of the Lilly employees who are members of our squadron.”

Other Lilly employees who arranged grants for the Fort Benjamin Harrison squadron include 1st Lt. David Nickels and 2nd Lts. Steven Seifert – who is particularly involved with the cadets participating in the Air Force Association’s national CyberPatriot cyber security competition – and Gregory Blair.

The equation
Grant opportunities from companies vary in scope and requirements. In the case of the Lilly employees, the Lilly Foundation offers $250 grants to any employee who volunteers at least 30 hours a year to a qualifying organization; such grants are sometimes referred to as “Dollars for Doers.”

Other employers may provide grants that match a donation from the employee. In some cases, a single company may offer both volunteer and matching grants. Some companies offer corporate team volunteer grants when a group of employees volunteers together, often on a single initiative.

While options may vary by company, the process of obtaining funding through employers is usually quite easy. Notice of fund availability can be accessed through human resources departments and is likely published in employee handbooks. When an employee monetary contribution is required, that often can be accomplished through a regular payroll deduction.

In the case of the Lilly Foundation grants used by the Fort Benjamin Harrison squadron, no monetary donations are required and filling out a form on the foundation website is all that’s needed. “It’s that simple,” said Mitchell.

Membership in the recipient organization may not be required, either. In some cases, even parents, spouses, company retirees or non-CAP members can designate CAP as the grant recipient. Those who volunteer on a governing board of the organization they want to benefit are sometimes eligible for larger grants.

Regardless of an employer grant’s specific requirements, it’s important to funnel the grant through CAP National Headquarters for record-keeping purposes. Companies routinely use third parties to handle these grants, and participants need to designate the receiving CAP unit or program they want, so that the money can be transmitted appropriately to the proper destination when National Headquarters receives it. National Headquarters reports link the money received to a single employee identification number, so there are no tax implications for a single unit or program. The entire process can take between three and six months.

A list of tknown employers who offer grants to CAP, including many grant specifics, can be found online. . Inquiries can be directed to giving@gocivilairpatrol.org.

The sum
Employer grants can be an overlooked resource, but they’re worth investigating. They can be a boon to CAP and its members but also have broader ramifications. Though limits apply, some employer grants run into the thousands of dollars.

What the Lilly Foundation notes applies to all employer grants: funding from employers is a generous recognition of employees’ dedicated volunteer service that, in turn, strengthens the communities where they live.

Blair, who is relatively new to CAP, has nevertheless had previous experience in fundraising for other organizations. He discovered along the way that many companies have policies that support their employees’ volunteer work.

Of the Lilly Foundation grant, he wrote, “This program has made a huge difference in what we can offer cadets and helps to multiply the impact of my volunteer efforts to further CAP’s mission. I would highly encourage each and every one of you to seek out similar program in your company.”