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 National News

Ambitious Cadet Became Air Force's 1st Black Female Fighter Pilot
Thu, 15 Feb 2018 09:54:45 -0600

Over 1 million young people have worn the Civil Air Patrol cadet uniform since Cadet Programs was founded in 1942. Countless thousands have grown into dynamic Americans and aerospace leaders. But one in particular — Shawna Rochelle “Lex” Kimbrell — stands out this February as CAP celebrates Black History Month.

Kimbrell, a CAP cadet in the Colorado Wing, went on to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy and became the Air Force's first black female fighter pilot.

“I was never apprehensive about pursuing my dream,” said Kimbrell, who acknowledged wanting to be a fighter pilot as early as the fourth grade.

After earning her pilot wings in August 1999, Kimbrell flew over 170 combat hours in the F-16 Fighting Falcon during Operation Northern Watch in Iraq. “The sorties were anticlimactic until I recognized that people were actually shooting at us,” she told the Air Force News Service in 2012.

Kimbrell has enjoyed a successful career in the Air Force, earning an Air Medal with one device, an Aerial Achievement Medal and an Army Commendation Medal, among others.

Now a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, she is stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, where she is a member of the 78th Attack Squadron and serves as an MQ-9 pilot and mission commander.

Reflecting on her life, also in 2012, Kimbrell told Civil Air Patrol Volunteer magazine that CAP contributed greatly to her success.

“The military-like experience CAP afforded me really assisted with my transition to military life,” she said, adding that the cadet encampments she participated in as a cadet in Parker, Colorado, in the early 1990s gave her a sense of comfort when she went on to attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

Kimbrell initially joined CAP to help her earn a pilot’s certificate. “But I ended up doing a lot more,” she said.

As team commander, Kimbrell led the Colorado Wing’s drill team to a first-place finish in the Rocky Mountain Region’s competition and then represented the region in the National Cadet Competition. She also commanded cadets in her local squadron.

“One of the most difficult things to do, I think, is to lead your peers,” she said, “and CAP is a great way to learn that skill.”

National Headquarters Hosts 1st Air Force’s Williams, Ekman, King
Wed, 07 Feb 2018 17:20:50 -0600

Lt. Gen. R. Scott Williams, commander of both 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern) and the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, visited Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters today, accompanied by his vice commander and by 1st Air Force’s command chief master sergeant.

When Williams and his contingent -- Brig. Gen. Kenneth P. Ekman and Chief Master Sgt. Richard D. King -- toured the National Operations Center, they got a look at WMIRS, CAP’s Web Mission Information Reporting System.

Designed by the center’s Terry Raymond, the software helps the NOC oversee all CAP missions — from start to finish. Built-in features in WMIRS allows CAP “to track sorties, payments and everything else,” said Ron Olienyk, deputy director of operations.

“From an accountability standpoint, WMIRS plays a role in our string of unqualified audits,” added CAP Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, national commander and CEO. As of fiscal 2016, CAP has achieved nine straight unqualified audits.

Williams shook hands with Raymond and Norm Ginther, another NOC employee. “CAP provides outstanding support to 1st Air Force and our nation,” he said. “Great work. Thanks a million.”

Earlier, Williams spoke with aerospace education and cadet program staff, including Dr. Jeff Montgomery, the AE director.

Montgomery told Williams “the general public is our outreach.” He showed the general several of CAP’s new STEM Kits as well as a set of textbooks. “We reach 300,000 students with AE products and programs,” he said.

“We didn’t have this when I was a kid,” Williams said. “I want to join now!”

He also heard from Curt LaFond, director of cadet programs, who talked about the four-tier program and how it’s growing, thanks in part to CAP’s partnership with the Air Force.

Smith offered his endorsement: “I consider our cadet program to be the best youth development program in the nation, bar none.”

 

Williams took command of 1st Air Force and USNORTHCOM in July 2016. As the Joint Force Air Component commander for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and USNORTHCOM, the 1st Air Force commander is directly responsible for developing contingency plans and conducting full-spectrum Air Force air and space operations in the continental U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as over the maritime approaches to the U.S. The organization is also responsible for providing Defense Support of Civil Authorities as the air component to USNORTHCOM.

He previously served as the chief, Office of Military Cooperation, U.S. Embassy, Kuwait. His earlier commands include the 169th Operations Group and 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, as well as the Air National Guard Readiness Center, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

A command pilot with more than 3,900 flying hours, Williams has also flown 300 combat hours in operations Provide Comfort, Deny Flight, Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom. He was a participating commander in numerous coalition-partner exercises. He has also served as an instructor pilot.

Ekman became 1st Air Force and Air Forces Northern Command vice commander in January. Before that, he served as chief, Office of Defense Representative Pakistan. Previous assignments include sailplane instructor at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, squadron and wing F-16 weapons officer, air component strategist, fighter squadron commander, analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and wing commander.

Ekman is a command pilot with 3,000 flying hours in the F-16 and F-22, including 600 combat hours.

King has been command chief master sergeant for both Continental U.S. NORAD Region and 1st Air Force since August 2016. He advises Williams on matters influencing the health, morale and welfare of assigned enlisted personnel and their families.

King previously served as command chief master sergeant of the New York Air National Guard Chief. He is currently on a military leave of absence from the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he serves as a police detective. He served as a security forces specialist for the New York Air National Guard for 22 years.

His leadership assignments include a six-year Special Duty assignment as first sergeant, deployed noncommissioned officer in charge of Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection in support of Operations Iraqi/Enduring Freedom in 2002 and 2005 and Operations Group superintendent in 2008. He retired as a police officer with the city of Niagara Falls and the town of Niagara, New York, in May 2012 after 23 years of New York state civil service.

 Wing News

Ambitious Cadet Became Air Force's 1st Black Female Fighter Pilot
Thu, 15 Feb 2018 09:54:45 -0600

Over 1 million young people have worn the Civil Air Patrol cadet uniform since Cadet Programs was founded in 1942. Countless thousands have grown into dynamic Americans and aerospace leaders. But one in particular — Shawna Rochelle “Lex” Kimbrell — stands out this February as CAP celebrates Black History Month.

Kimbrell, a CAP cadet in the Colorado Wing, went on to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy and became the Air Force's first black female fighter pilot.

“I was never apprehensive about pursuing my dream,” said Kimbrell, who acknowledged wanting to be a fighter pilot as early as the fourth grade.

After earning her pilot wings in August 1999, Kimbrell flew over 170 combat hours in the F-16 Fighting Falcon during Operation Northern Watch in Iraq. “The sorties were anticlimactic until I recognized that people were actually shooting at us,” she told the Air Force News Service in 2012.

Kimbrell has enjoyed a successful career in the Air Force, earning an Air Medal with one device, an Aerial Achievement Medal and an Army Commendation Medal, among others.

Now a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, she is stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, where she is a member of the 78th Attack Squadron and serves as an MQ-9 pilot and mission commander.

Reflecting on her life, also in 2012, Kimbrell told Civil Air Patrol Volunteer magazine that CAP contributed greatly to her success.

“The military-like experience CAP afforded me really assisted with my transition to military life,” she said, adding that the cadet encampments she participated in as a cadet in Parker, Colorado, in the early 1990s gave her a sense of comfort when she went on to attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

Kimbrell initially joined CAP to help her earn a pilot’s certificate. “But I ended up doing a lot more,” she said.

As team commander, Kimbrell led the Colorado Wing’s drill team to a first-place finish in the Rocky Mountain Region’s competition and then represented the region in the National Cadet Competition. She also commanded cadets in her local squadron.

“One of the most difficult things to do, I think, is to lead your peers,” she said, “and CAP is a great way to learn that skill.”

National Headquarters Hosts 1st Air Force’s Williams, Ekman, King
Wed, 07 Feb 2018 17:20:50 -0600

Lt. Gen. R. Scott Williams, commander of both 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern) and the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, visited Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters today, accompanied by his vice commander and by 1st Air Force’s command chief master sergeant.

When Williams and his contingent -- Brig. Gen. Kenneth P. Ekman and Chief Master Sgt. Richard D. King -- toured the National Operations Center, they got a look at WMIRS, CAP’s Web Mission Information Reporting System.

Designed by the center’s Terry Raymond, the software helps the NOC oversee all CAP missions — from start to finish. Built-in features in WMIRS allows CAP “to track sorties, payments and everything else,” said Ron Olienyk, deputy director of operations.

“From an accountability standpoint, WMIRS plays a role in our string of unqualified audits,” added CAP Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, national commander and CEO. As of fiscal 2016, CAP has achieved nine straight unqualified audits.

Williams shook hands with Raymond and Norm Ginther, another NOC employee. “CAP provides outstanding support to 1st Air Force and our nation,” he said. “Great work. Thanks a million.”

Earlier, Williams spoke with aerospace education and cadet program staff, including Dr. Jeff Montgomery, the AE director.

Montgomery told Williams “the general public is our outreach.” He showed the general several of CAP’s new STEM Kits as well as a set of textbooks. “We reach 300,000 students with AE products and programs,” he said.

“We didn’t have this when I was a kid,” Williams said. “I want to join now!”

He also heard from Curt LaFond, director of cadet programs, who talked about the four-tier program and how it’s growing, thanks in part to CAP’s partnership with the Air Force.

Smith offered his endorsement: “I consider our cadet program to be the best youth development program in the nation, bar none.”

 

Williams took command of 1st Air Force and USNORTHCOM in July 2016. As the Joint Force Air Component commander for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and USNORTHCOM, the 1st Air Force commander is directly responsible for developing contingency plans and conducting full-spectrum Air Force air and space operations in the continental U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as over the maritime approaches to the U.S. The organization is also responsible for providing Defense Support of Civil Authorities as the air component to USNORTHCOM.

He previously served as the chief, Office of Military Cooperation, U.S. Embassy, Kuwait. His earlier commands include the 169th Operations Group and 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, as well as the Air National Guard Readiness Center, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

A command pilot with more than 3,900 flying hours, Williams has also flown 300 combat hours in operations Provide Comfort, Deny Flight, Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom. He was a participating commander in numerous coalition-partner exercises. He has also served as an instructor pilot.

Ekman became 1st Air Force and Air Forces Northern Command vice commander in January. Before that, he served as chief, Office of Defense Representative Pakistan. Previous assignments include sailplane instructor at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, squadron and wing F-16 weapons officer, air component strategist, fighter squadron commander, analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and wing commander.

Ekman is a command pilot with 3,000 flying hours in the F-16 and F-22, including 600 combat hours.

King has been command chief master sergeant for both Continental U.S. NORAD Region and 1st Air Force since August 2016. He advises Williams on matters influencing the health, morale and welfare of assigned enlisted personnel and their families.

King previously served as command chief master sergeant of the New York Air National Guard Chief. He is currently on a military leave of absence from the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he serves as a police detective. He served as a security forces specialist for the New York Air National Guard for 22 years.

His leadership assignments include a six-year Special Duty assignment as first sergeant, deployed noncommissioned officer in charge of Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection in support of Operations Iraqi/Enduring Freedom in 2002 and 2005 and Operations Group superintendent in 2008. He retired as a police officer with the city of Niagara Falls and the town of Niagara, New York, in May 2012 after 23 years of New York state civil service.

CAP Radar, Cell Phone Analysis Lead to Discovery of Downed Plane in Tenn.
Wed, 31 Jan 2018 13:00:59 -0600

A downed airplane with two passengers was located early today near Huntsville, Tennessee, with assistance from Civil Air Patrol’s National Radar Analysis and Cell Phone Forensics teams.

U.S. Department of Agriculture crews found the plane, with one survivor. CAP worked directly with the Tennessee Army National Guard after being called on by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center once the aircraft was reported overdue from its planned arrival.

Lt. Col. John Henderson, vice commander of the radar team, explained CAP’s role in the search: “The NRAT team was activated for a missing Beechcraft Bonanza scheduled to fly from Venice, Florida, to Urbana, Ohio, a distance of 800 miles. In concert with the Cell Phone Forensics Team, six members of our team were able to find the proper radar track, produce products to help the searchers, and distribute to the field.

“The crash site was found 1½ miles past the last radar hit, with one survivor. It was a true team effort, where high levels of collaboration between the CAP teams and AFRCC pulled all the clues together very quickly for actionable results.”

Maj. Justin Ogden, a member of the CAP National Cell Phone Forensics Team, said that within 30 minutes of being activated his team was able to locate clues from the phones on the Beechcraft that narrowed the search area from six states to a single county in Tennessee.

“Additional review of cell phone clues produced a final recommended search area of 2.6 square miles,” he said. “This allowed local search teams to concentrate their efforts.”

CAP’s Tennessee Wing deployed two aircrews to Scott County, providing aerial support for the overnight search.

“Our teams received a call late last evening and were deployed within two hours,” said Lt. Col. Ande Boyer, incident commander.

"Once again, Tennessee Wing has answered the call to serve and has done so quickly and professionally. I am proud to serve with this dedicated group of volunteers," said Col. Dent Young, Tennessee Wing commander

"While we are thankful that our efforts and the efforts of our partnering agencies were able to locate the site and the surviving passenger quickly, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the pilot," Boyer said.

Manasco, Asst. Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower & Reserve Affairs, Flies with CAP
Wed, 31 Jan 2018 12:57:21 -0600

Shon J. Manasco, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, toured Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters on Tuesday afternoon, visiting various offices and then capping off his visit with a flight in a CAP Cessna over Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Accompanied by top CAP officials, Manasco paid visits to the Cadet Programs and Aerospace Education directorates as well as to the National Operations Center, meeting with national staff as well as with Alabama Wing cadets.

Then came his flight in a CAP Cessna 206, piloted by Lt. Col. Durk Gerhardt, CAP-USAF inspector general. CAP’s national vice commander, Brig. Gen. Ed Phelka, was a crewmember. During the flight, Phelka explained how CAP uses its high-tech glass cockpit aircraft to help the organization perform its missions in an outstanding manner.

As assistant secretary, Manasco is directly responsible for the supervision of manpower, military and civilian personnel, Air Reserve component affairs and readiness support for the Department of the Air Force. He graduated from U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a degree in systems engineering and management. Manasco is a U.S. Army veteran and held numerous leadership positions while in uniform.