16:12 PM

Fla. Wing's Niess Honored for 55 Years in CAP

Lt. Col. Richard C. Niess of the Florida Wing’s Marco Island Senior Squadron was honored recently for 55 years of membership in Civil Air Patrol.

Niess has belonged to the Marco Island squadron since moving to Florida in 2005. He first served as the unit’s recruiting and retention officer, then became public affairs officer in 2006..

He was recognized as the squadron’s Member of the Year for 2011 at age 90.

Niess’ CAP career started when he joined the Virginia Wing’s Augusta Composite Squadron in February 1964. He has served in five wings in three regions.

Over the years he has served as a squadron commander, operations officer, Virginia Wing director of cadet programs, Virginia Wing Task Force 4 emergency services officer, Minnesota Wing director of senior programs and deputy wing emergency services officer, Maryland Wing director of senior programs and director of cadets for the Pennsylvania Wing and the Middle East Region.

In 1971 he participated in the International Air Cadet Exchange, and he and his wife, Lt. Col. Ann Niess, completed National Staff College at CAP National Headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Niess’ emergency services qualifications include Mission Pilot, Mission Observer, Mission Scanner, Mission Radio Operator, Incident Commander and Senior Pilot. His awards and important achievements include two Meritorious Awards, a Commander’s Commendation Award, two Unit Citations, the Gill Robb Wilson, two Master and two Technician ratings, five encampment awards, a Command Service Award and two Search and Rescue Awards.

In addition to his wife, who was recognized in October 2015 for her 50 years in CAP, the Niesses’ three children – Linda, Buz and Bob – were active cadets in CAP.