14:51 PM

Wheless, National Commander From 2004-2005, Passes at 76

National Service Also Included Chief of Legal Officer Corps

Maj. Gen. Dwight Wheless, Civil Air Patrol national commander from 2004-2005 and most recently the chief of the legal officer corps, passed away on Friday, June 30. He was 76.

Wheless belonged to CAP for 36 years. Before his term as national commander, he held positions as national vice commander from 2001-2004, national legal officer from 1993-1996 and North Carolina Wing commander from 1989-1994. He also served as National Appeal Board chairman, Membership Action Review Panel (MARP) chairman and member, and Constitution and Bylaws Committee member.

His tenure as chief of the legal officer corps began in August 2014.

For his service, Wheless was awarded multiple Distinguished Service medals, Exceptional Service awards, Meritorious Service awards and Commanders Commendations

He joined CAP in March 1981 when the Coastal Senior Squadron was reactivated in Manteo, North Carolina.

Wheless practiced law in Manteo and Columbia, NC for 49 years — 28 of which were with his son and law partner, Jay. Ancillary to his private law practice, Dwight served as the Dare County Aattorney from 1972 to 1993, helping guide the County through one of its busiest growth periods and overseeing the transition to a full-time county attorney. Most recently, he served proudly as the town attorney for Creswell, North Carolina, and his adopted hometown of Columbia, North Carolina. 

He also served as president of the Dare County and 1st Judicial District Bar Associations; founder and president of the North Carolina Airports Association; president of Albemarle Development Authority Inc.; chairman of the Dare County Morehead Awards Nomination Committee; chairman of the District Bar Review Committee; and president of the North Carolina County Attorneys Association.

He was twice voted Outstanding County Attorney in North Carolina and was awarded the state’s highest honor for volunteer service, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Wheless’ daughter, Shelle Altieri, is married to the vice chair of CAP’s Board of Governors, Col. Jayson Altieri. Granddaughter Isabella Altieri holds the rank of cadet chief master sergeant in the National Capital Wing’s Challenger I Cadet Squadron.

A visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 5 , from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.at Bryan Funeral Home at 162 L.A. Keiser Drive, Columbia, North Carolina. The funeral service is set for 3 p.m. Thursday, July 6, at Mount Olivet United Methodist Church, 300 Ananias Dare St., Manteo, North Carolina.

Immediately following the funeral, a short graveside service will be held at Manteo Cemetery, walking distance from the church. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to Civil Air Patrol — Cadet Travel Fund, 105 S. Hansell St., Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama 36112.