18:07 PM

Natl. Conference to Feature Astronaut Boe, Air Force Lt. Gen. Levy as Speakers

800+ Members Expected in San Antonio for Annual Gathering

More than 800 Civil Air Patrol members will celebrate Cadet Programs’ 75th anniversary when they convene at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio from Aug. 30-Sept. 3 for the organization’s 2017 National Conference.

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Eric Boe, a former CAP Georgia Wing cadet and current Texas Wing senior member who piloted Space Shuttle flights in 2008 and 2011, will speak Friday, Sept. 1, during the General Assembly scheduled from 8-10 a.m. Air Force Lt. Gen. Lee K. Levy II, also a former CAP cadet, will speak during the annual banquet, which will be held from 7-10 p.m. Sept. 2. Levy commands the Air Force Sustainment Center, Air Force Materiel Command headquartered at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

Boe piloted Space Shuttle Endeavour, launched in November 2008, and Space Shuttle Discovery in February 2011. He holds the CAP rank of lieutenant colonel and serves as the Houston-based Ellington Composite Squadron’s assistant deputy commander for cadets.

Levy leads nearly 43,000 airmen to deliver combat effects for the immediate and long-term requirements of component and combatant commanders in every area of responsibility. Previous assignments include vice director of logistics, the Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.; director, U.S. Central Commander Deployment and Distribution Operations Center, Southwest Asia; commander, 402nd Maintenance Wing, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia; and deputy director of logistics, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Also, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, will speak during the Command Council meeting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 31. CAP’s Command Council consists of the organization’s national commander/CEO, vice commander, executive officer, 52 wing commanders and eight region commanders.

As part of the Cadet Programs anniversary celebration, CAP’s Aerospace Education Program will introduce five new STEM Kits during Aerospace Education’s Open House on Thursday, Aug. 31, from 1-6 p.m.

The new hands-on, interactive kits — Bee-Bot, Sphero, Middle School Math, Renewable Energy and Snaptricity — will be showcased, along with the program’s 10 existing kits: Astronomy, Flight Simulator, Model and Remote-Control Aircraft, Robotics, Rocketry, Quadcopter, Weather Station, Hydraulic Engineering, Raspberry Pi and Ready-to-Fly Quadcopter.

According to CAP’s deputy director of aerospace education, Dr. Jeff Montgomery, “More than 80 percent of 200,000 K-6 students and 24,000 cadets exposed to CAP’s STEM kit program indicate a stronger desire to pursue an aerospace/STEM career.”

“We want to do our part to ensure America’s youth are inspired to pursue STEM subjects and careers,” said Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez, CAP’s national commander. “Today’s world is driven by technology, and our Aerospace Education Program is committed to making sure the next generation is prepared to fill high-demand STEM-related positions.”

Other highlights of CAP’s National Conference include:

Cadet Day
Sept. 2 will be Col. Mary S. Feik Memorial Cadet Day. Feik, a longstanding member of the Maryland Wing’s Annapolis Composite Squadron, which was renamed the Mary S. Feik Composite Squadron before her death last year at age 92, was inducted into the Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame, was designated by NASA as one of the 47 most significant women in aerospace, was awarded the World Aerospace Education Organization’s Order of Merit and was the first female recipient of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award in recognition of contributions to aircraft safety.

Cadet Day, which will be held at Port San Antonio, offers youth an opportunity to learn more about cyber defense, including a tour of Air Force Cyber’s 624th Operations Center and participation in a cyber forensics challenge. The cadets will also get an up-close look at the C-5A Galaxy, the Air Force’s largest and only strategic airlifter, and a tour of the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology. They will learn more about Cadet Programs’ 75 years of service and also receive information about the U.S. Air Force Academy and Air Force ROTC.

National Awards
Also Sept. 2, CAP will pay tribute to some of the organization’s highest-achieving members, units and wings over the past year during the annual awards program set to begin at 8 a.m. Those being recognized include Cadet Lt. Col. Joshua S. Lambert of the Illinois Wing as Cadet of the Year and Lt. Col. James P. Crone of the Georgia Wing as Senior Member of the Year. Several CAP units will also be honored, including the Virginia Wing’s Lynchburg Composite Squadron, selected as the 2016 Squadron of Distinction.

Change of Command
Immediately after the awards recognition program on Sept. 2, a change of command ceremony will be held honoring Vazquez’s successor, Maj. Gen.-Select Mark Smith, who will take command as CAP’s new national commander/CEO. The organization’s new national vice commander, Brig. Gen.-Select Ed Phelka, will also be sworn in as a part of the ceremony.

Preconference Workshops
Ten preconference workshops will be offered Aug. 28-31. Those sessions, customized to fulfill members’ professional development needs, include a Cessna G-1000 Ground School and a Federal Emergency Management Agency course on joint information center planning; examinations of government relations and fundraising; a two-day session aimed at public information and public affairs officers; and daylong classes for both current and future wing commanders and leaders of cadets.

Learning Labs
In addition, 68 learning labs are planned for Sept. 1-2. The seminars, led by CAP national staff and other experts, will focus on such topics as operations, communications, safety, logistics, aircraft operations, professional development and leadership, fundraising, recruitment and retention, the chaplaincy, government relations, CAP history, information technology, cadet programs, aerospace education and public affairs.