Reid: From Tennessee Wing Cadet to CAP-USAF Commander
Col. Aaron D. Reid, a former cadet in Civil Air Patrol, is the 33rd commander of Civil Air Patrol-U.S. Air Force (CAP-USAF).
As CAP-USAF commander, Reid is responsible for ensuring CAP is organized, trained, and equipped to fulfill Air Force-assigned missions.
“I welcome this new assignment and look forward to building upon the strong relationships between Civil Air Patrol and CAP-USAF,” Reid said. “As our Total Force partner, CAP provides the Air Force with a wide range of support services that are vital to America and its communities.”
CAP-USAF provides day-to-day support, advice, and liaison to Civil Air Patrol's nearly 65,000 members and employees and oversight for CAP's programs, its 1,500 units, and a fleet of 540 aircraft with emphasis on safety and program requirements. CAP-USAF personnel are also the functional interface between other federal agencies and CAP.
“As Col. Reid assumes command of CAP-USAF, it’s a pleasure to welcome him back,” said Maj. Gen. Edward D. Phelka, CAP’s national commander and CEO. “Given that he is a former cadet, Col. Reid already knows CAP well.
“All of CAP’s leadership looks forward to working together with him and his entire CAP-USAF team.”
CAP-USAF is staffed with about 200 active-duty airmen, reservists, and civilians at CAP National Headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and 50 locations throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and several overseas Air Force installations.
Reid has served as CAP-USAF vice commander and is excited about the opportunity to lead in the command position.
“I am honored to be the new CAP-USAF commander and to serve as an integral part of the Civil Air Patrol command team,” he said.
Reid was an active cadet in the Tennessee Wing’s Sumner County Cadet Squadron 160 from 1993-1998, reaching the rank of cadet lieutenant colonel before attending Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace maintenance.
He participated in about 20 search and rescue missions as a member of the Sumner County squadron’s ground team, attended encampments and summer activities, and earned a Tennessee Wing flight scholarship.
“As a former cadet, I’m excited to be here with CAP again,” he said. “This is a fantastic opportunity.”
He received his commission in 2002 from Air Force ROTC Detachment 790 at Tennessee State University in Nashville. He earned his pilot wings from Laughlin AFB, Texas, in 2003 and was assigned his first operational flying tour in the F-15E at Seymour-Johnson AFB, North Carolina. He later served as an F-15E instructor and evaluator pilot at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nevada.
While flying the F-15E, Reid held positions as an assistant director of operations, flight commander, and chief of fighter standardization and evaluations.
A senior pilot with over 1,700 hours in the T-37, T-38, and F-15E, he has flown combat missions in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and also multiple Operation Noble Eagle sorties.
Before this latest CAP-USAF assignment, Reid served as dean of students at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at Maxwell. He was responsible for leading and educating 45 midgrade Total Force multiservice and multinational officers each year as part of the school’s Master of Philosophy program. He also taught courses in international politics, technology and innovation, and cyber and information power.
Before that he commanded the 21st Student Squadron at Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell. He previously attended the University of Georgia on an Air Force PhD fellowship, earning a doctorate in political science and international affairs.
His awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal Meritorious Unit Award with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.