17:43 PM

New National Command Chief Named

Commandant comments

Chief Master Sgt. Todd H. Parsons of the Mid-Atlantic Region will be the organization’s next national command chief.

Maj. Gen. Edward D. Phelka, CAP’s national commander and CEO, announced the appointment Feb. 1. A ceremony marking the changing of responsibility will take place Feb. 18 at the Winter Command Council meeting in Washington, D.C.

As national command chief, Parsons will head CAP’s 325-member noncommissioned officer corps. In his new post, he’ll also belong to the national command team, serving as an adviser to Phelka and participating in the team’s decision-making, as appropriate, on technical, operational, and organizational issues.

He will be responsible for reviewing U.S. Air Force, CAP-USAF, and CAP wing instructions and policies and providing input and recommending changes for instructions and policies affecting CAP members.

“I am excited to welcome Chief Parsons to the command team as CAP’s next national command chief,” Phelka said. “His professional military experience and outstanding leadership skills make him ideally suited to lead the NCO corps and provide key insight and advice to CAP senior leaders at all levels.”

Parsons assumes responsibility as national command chief after four years as command chief of the Mid-Atlantic Region. As a key member of the region’s command team, he served as adviser to the region commander and directly managed the leadership, utilization, and professional development of the 8,200 members of the Delaware, Maryland, National Capital, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia wings.

Light moment

Originally a CAP major, he resigned as an officer in February 2018 to become a chief master sergeant, based on his rank and experience in the U.S. Army.

Parsons enlisted in the Army in 1990, following in his father’s footsteps as an active-duty U.S. Marine. Parsons served in numerous leadership positions in the Army and completed four tours in Germany, two in Iraq, and one each in Afghanistan and South Korea.

He retired from the Army in 2019 with over 28 years of military service. He is a recipient of the Legion of Merit award, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters.

Parsons joined Civil Air Patrol in 2011, looking to get involved in aviation. He said he took to CAP like “a duck to water” and served in multiple roles, including commander of the Wiesbaden Cadet Flight in Germany, a CAP unit he stood up as a subordinate in the Ramstein Cadet Squadron, and of the Virginia Wing’s Leesburg Composite Squadron. He is a recipient of the Civil Air Patrol Meritorious Service Award with two devices.

"I look forward to leading the CAP NCO corps by continuing the great work already accomplished by Chief Master Sgt. Robert Dandridge and the rest of our stellar NCOs,” Parsons said. “As the fifth national command chief master sergeant, I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me — starting with Chief Master Sgt. Lou Walpus.”

Parsons succeeds Dandridge, national command chief for the past four years. Walpus, like Parsons a member of the Mid-Atlantic Region, served as CAP’s first national command chief from 2008-2014.