15:51 PM

CAP-USAF SE Liaison Region's Weldon Honored as Civilian of the Year

Rita Weldon, newly retired secretary for CAP-USAF’s Southeast Liaison Region at Dobbins Air Force Base, Georgia, has been recognized with a Continental U.S. NORAD Region-1st Air Force Civilian Category 1 of the Year Award for her work assisting CAP-USAF’s and CAP's missions.

Accomplishments during 2018 for which Weldon, who served as secretary for 12 years and 11 months, was honored included:

  • Enabling CAP-USAF members to assist Civil Air Patrol activities by ensuring approval of travel orders.
  • Assisting with inspections of CAP-USAF and CAP units to validate compliance leading to mission readiness.
  • Coordinating annual training requirements for Southeast Liaison Region members to ensure they were prepared to support Air Force and CAP mission requirements.
  • Completing more than 39 hours of Total Force training.
  • Advising members during the planning and successful execution of CAP wing and emergency services conferences and coordinating CAP-USAF members’ participation in support of these activities.
  • Furthering CAP’s emergency services excellence by gathering data and coordinating CAP-USAF member participation in support of compliance inspections and operational evaluations.
  • Maximizing the Southeast Liaison Region commander’s calendar to afford greatest exposure to CAP members and activities.
  • Expediting the integration of new CAP-USAF members to hasten mission readiness and promote Air Force presence to CAP members.

She was also lauded for increasing military, civilian and contractor morale through the office’s holiday luncheon; participating in Cobb County’s annual “Stuff a Bus” toy drive; volunteering 12 hours quarterly at an area nursing home, where she provided scarves and read to the elderly; and helping provide organizational history through the creation of the Southeast Liaison Region Heritage Hall.

CAP-USAF is responsible for ensuring that CAP is organized, trained and equipped to fulfill Air Force-assigned missions. CAP-USAF provides day-to-day support, advice and liaison to CAP as well as oversight for CAP programs, with particular emphasis on safety and program requirements.

Also recognized during the Air Forces Northern annual awards ceremony at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, were:

Outstanding Professionals of the Year:

  • Airman of the Year: Airman 1st Class Hope Parrish (1st Air Force)
  • Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Staff Sgt. Robert Hawlik (177th Fighter Wing)
  • Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Master Sgt. Quintin Johnson (1st Air Force, Detachment 2)
  • Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt Michael Grigsby (601st Air Operations Center)
  • Field Grade Officer of the Year: Maj. Christopher Algeier (1st Air Force, Detachment 1)
  • Civilian Category 2 of the Year: Barry Arzberger (Western Air Defense Sector)
  • Civilian Category 3 of the Year: Ed Williams (601st Air Operations Center)
  • Aerospace Control Alert Command Post Controller of the Year: Tech. Sgt Thomas Capito (177th Fighter Wing)
  • Aerospace Control Alert Maintainer of the Year: Staff Sgt. Kiara Moreno (144th Fighter Wing), Detachment 1)
  • Aerospace Control Alert Pilot of the Year: Capt. Jordan Gegner (142nd Fighter Wing)
  • Security Forces Member of the Year: Tech. Sgt. William Picher (144th Fighter Wing)
  • Drill Status Guardsman/Reservist (Enlisted) of the Year: Senior Airman Pierre Chaniz-Rico (177th Fighter Wing)
  • Drill Status Guardsman/Reservist (Officer) of the Year: Capt. Colette Muller (Western Air Defense Sector)
  • ACA Unit of the Year: 177th Fighter Wing) (F-16) and 142nd Fighter Wing) (F-15C)
  • Command and Control Warrior (Enlisted) of the Year: Master Sgt. Donald Pierce (Western Air Defense Sector)
  • C2 Warrior (Officer) of the Year: Maj. Christopher Algeier (1st Force, Detachment 1)
  • C2 Unit of the Year: 601st Air Operations Center
  • First Sergeant of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Jason Bennett (1st Air Force)

2018 Headquarters 1st Air Force Staff Annual Awards recipients: 

  • Airman of the Year: Airman 1st Class Hope Parrish (Manpower, Personnel & Services)
  • Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Staff Sgt. Justin Harrison (Air Force Rescue Coordination Center)
  • Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Adam Pawelek (Logistics)
  • Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. Nate Wells (Logistics)
  • Field Grade Officer of the Year: Maj. Christy Clifton (Communications and Information)
  • Civilian Category II of the Year: Dave Shaw (Communications and Information)
  • Civilian Category III of the Year: Jon Crane (Communications and Information)

Lt. Gen. R. Scott Williams, Air Forces Northern commander, told those assembled for the awards ceremony that “each day you’re out there performing the mission, engaging the community and leading others, our impact is felt – kudos to you all.”

Keeping with the theme of how important individual effort is critical to the team effort, Williams cited a quote from legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson, who won a combined total of 11 championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”

The general then provided snapshots of some of the award recipients’ efforts: flying lead during the Operation Noble Eagle intercept of the aircraft stolen from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in August; streamlining a Windows 10 migration that reduced the system update timeline from two months to 12 hours; discovering a loose main engine fuel line that prevented a catastrophic engine failure; and acquiring a significantly increased number of training days which enhanced unit training.

“Not everyone can win these awards, but we all play a part in every accomplishment,” Williams said.

He closed his remarks with a few words about resiliency, considering how many enterprise members were significantly affected after Hurricane Michael wrought destruction throughout the Tyndall area Oct. 10.

“Hurricane Michael hit us hard,” Williams said. “And we are not yet whole – but we’re getting better. When I first stepped out of the 601st AOC after the storm, the destruction and despair I saw was overwhelming.

“But in true team fashion, we buckled down and worked through it all. We’re light years ahead of schedule, because of your resilience.”