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CAP senior members visit Chattnooga Choo Choo

CAP senior members visit Chattnooga Choo Choo

Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 12:03 am
By: Jaclyn Cook, Special to The Press

CAP senior members visit Chattnooga Choo Choo | Everett-Stewart Civil Air Patrol

Civil Air Patrol members from the Everett – Stewart Composite Squadron 2nd Lt. Stan Mitchell (left) and deputy commander and senior member Jaclyn Cook visited the Southern Belle, Chattanooga Riverboat Co. in Chattanooga Oct. 21
Two Civil Air Patrol senior members from Everett – Stewart Composite Squadron attended the Tennessee Wing Conference at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. The members were 2nd Lt. Stan Mitchell of Troy and Senior Member Jaclyn Cook of South Fulton. Mitchell is the current deputy commander and Cook is the current public affairs officer of their local unit.
The senior members arrived Oct. 21 and enjoyed a delicious dinner and relaxing riverboat cruise on the Southern Belle.
They were accompanied by fellow conference attendees from other parts of Tennessee, the wing commanders from Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia and the Southeast Region Commander. The Southeast region consists of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Puerto Rico. The evening included a cruise on the Tennessee River, entertainment by a three man brass band and a well-prepared meal.
On Saturday morning, the members checked in and registered for the conference events. There was an opening general assembly discussing the days’ events and a presentation of awards to different Civil Air Patrol members across Tennessee. The senior members had four training/informational sessions in a building off from the hotel. Also, the cadets had their separate conference in the main Chattanooga Choo Choo building. Each session consisted of mini-courses regarding the different senior member officer positions. The courses included personnel, professional development, administration, transportation, information technology, logistics, communication and Operations. Other courses included were safety, emergency services, cadet programs, aerospace education, public affairs, command, finance and chaplain.
The evening entertainment  was the Jericho Brass Band, who played a variety of music, and the first performance of “Semper Vigilance,” which was dedicated to the Tennessee Wing. Next, the color guard of cadets from the Chattanooga Composite Squadron presented the American, the Civil Air Patrol General, the Tennessee and the Civil Air Patrol flags.  Also, the Jericho Brass Band played the National Anthem while all Civil Air Patrol members stood at attendance or placed their hand over their heart based on their banquet clothing.  
Then the master of ceremonies gave a presentation about the POW/MIA soldiers who did not or would not return.  For this presentation, there was a table decorated with four place settings, four plates with lemons, a rose in a vase with yellow ribbon around it and a faded picture and four goblets.  Four cadets entered the room with service caps to represent each branch of the military including the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Navy.  The cadets smartly placed each service cap at the four different place settings. They salted the place settings, which represent the tears of the soldiers’ family. Also, the cadets turned the goblets upside to show that these POWs/MIAs would not  be able to dine with us that night. It was a very emotional and tender ceremony that brought tears to attendees’ eyes. It was a presentation that would not be forgotten.
The master of ceremonies introduced the distinguished guests which included the National Vice Commander of Civil Air Patrol, the Southeast Region Commander, the Tennessee Wing Commander, the Tennessee Wing Chaplain, and the guest speaker. The distinguished guests gave opening and welcoming remarks. Then the Tennessee Wing Chaplain gave the invocation and all attendees had a buffet dinner.  After the dinner, the keynote speaker, Harry W. “Wes” Stowers spoke to the banquet attendees about his life in the Civil Air Patrol and the U.S. Air Force. He served from 1976 through 1988 as a fighter pilot and instructor pilot. Then Stowers served in U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1988 to 1998 and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Stowers Machinery Corporation since 1960.
The banquet continued with the awards portion of the evening.  The awards included the presentation of the National Commander’s Citation to the entire Southeast region which included Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Puerto Rico. Then the exceptional service, meritorious service, commander’s commendation and achievement  awards were presented. Other awards given were the Tennessee unit citation, the chaplain of the year, the squadron of the year and the General Carl A. Spaatz awards. The special awards were achieved during the 2010 year when members presented exceptional and dedicated services to the Civil Air Patrol. The General Carl A. Spaatz award is the highest milestone achievement a cadet can receive while in the Civil Air Patrol.
After all the awards were presented, the Tennessee Wing Chaplain gave the benediction and the cadet color guard retired the American, the Civil Air Patrol General, the Tennessee and the Civil Air Patrol flags from the banquet hall.  For any members of the Civil Air Patrol to attendance an annual conference, it is a rewarding and engaging experience that can be brought back to the local squadron.  
Sunday morning a few members attended the morning service lead by the Tennessee Wing Chaplain. Then the Southeast Region Commander and the Tennessee Wing held a short leadership question and answer session for the remaining attendees.
Finally, all the attendees departed for home.
Editor’s note: Jaclyn Cook is a Civil Air Patrol senior member and serves as the public affairs officer for the Everett – Stewart Composite Squadron.

WCP 11.01.11

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