On Wednesday evening, inside hangar 13 at Wilson Air, about three dozen locals attended the Change of Command ceremony for two of Tennessee’s Civil Air Patrol units. The colors were presented by the Chattanooga Composite Squadron Color Guard Team, which was followed by an invocation given by CAP Chaplin Capt. Wayne Layton.
Before the Change of Command, Tennessee Group II Commander, Maj.
Deming Gray used the opportunity to express appreciation for several key leaders in the group, and presented a “Commander’s Commendation Award” to three CAP members (Maj. Kelly Williamson, Maj. Gary Fiser, 2d Lt. Byron Poe, and Maj. Larry Stewart) who helped lead the 2018 Wreaths Across America program. Additionally, he made Commander’s Commendation Awards to Maj. Linda Quiet, the soon to retire Commander of Cleveland Composite Squadron.
Tennessee Wing Commander, Col. Dent Young also presented the Meritorious Service Award to Maj. Marty Nix, for his role as the Location Leader for the 2018 Wreaths Across Chattanooga event held at the Chattanooga National Cemetery in December. Under Maj. Nix’s leadership, approximately three times more funding was raised for wreaths placed at Chattanooga National Cemetery than at any time in the programs 13-year history. Also in attendance was USAF Col. Chris Dooley (ret.) who also serves on the Wreaths Across Chattanooga committee, and is past president of Chattanooga Area Veterans Council.
Then Col. Young conducted the first of the two Change of Command ceremonies.
Maj. Fiser previously served at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Senior Squadron Commander (2007-2010), TN Group II Commander, Maj. Deming Gray, who succeeded Fiser as Choo Choo Squadron Commander (2011-2015), before taking command of TN Group II in 2016.
After addressing the members and guests for a few minutes, Maj. Fiser conducted his first official duty as TN Group II Commander, and oversaw the second Change of Command ceremony of the evening.
Maj. Williamson assumed command of the Choo Choo when Maj. Gray relinquished command in 2015. Cadet Capt. Calloway of the Chattanooga Composite Squadron Color Guard Team stands in the background of both photos.
Capt. Calloway and the rest of the Color Guard Team heads for Nashville on May 17 to complete in the Tennessee Wing Color Guard competition.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue
Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP’s 63,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 26,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com or www.CAP.news for more information.
Although no ceremonial recognition is given, Maj. Deming Gray, a Master Rated Mission Pilot, now assumes a new role as the Tennessee Wing Vice Commander. Additionally, he heads up the drone program, officially known as the small Unmanned Aerial Services (sUAS) for the Southeast Region of the U. S.