Choo Choo Squadron Promotes 4 CAP Members

  • Thursday, November 30, 2023
  • Maj. Larry Stewart, public affairs officer, CAP
During a recent meeting of the Choo Choo Senior Squadron, four of their newer Civil Air Patrol (CAP) members were promoted.

S.M. Serena Frailey was promoted from senior member to second lieutenant. She joined the squadron last year, as one of the BEST (Beginning Emergency Service Training) Program trainees. Since joining, she has completed level one (out of five career-long levels) of her professional development program, and has earned her aircrew wings by qualifying as a mission scanner and is currently training as an airborne photographer.

Second Lieutenant Michael Maroon is another of the BEST Program recruits, and has recently been commissioned as the squadron commander.
In addition to completing level two, he has also earned several mission qualifications including mission radio operator, mission scanner and airborne photographer. On Thursday evening, he was promoted to first lieutenant, an advanced promotion recognizing his value to CAP for his medical experience as a CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist), APN (advanced practice nurse) and RN (registered nurse), with 40 years of experience.

Past Tennessee Wing Commander and past Southeast Region Commander Colonel Barry Melton presided over the promotions ceremony. He was asked to make a special visit to the squadron in order to present one of the new members with an advanced promotion to lieutenant colonel.

Before joining Civil Air Patrol about 18 months ago, Lt. Col. Tony Crowder (USAF Ret.) had a long military career, including his appointment as the director of the National Security Operations branch of the U.S. Customs Service. Before that, he retired from 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. He was trained in air battle management, and was first in his class in his Advanced Air Defense class. He served as the weapons and tactics officer for the USAF's largest wing, and deployed combat ready units to Desert Storm. His other career accomplishments are equally impressive. He retired from the USAF in 2000 at the rank of lieutenant colonel.

As a member of CAP (Civil Air Patrol), Lt. Col. Crowder was eligible to receive an advanced promotion equal to the rank which he held in the Air Force. After lots of paperwork and waiting, his promotion just came through, and on Thursday night, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. In just 18 months, Lt. Col. Crowder has completed level one, and earned his mission scanner and mission observer qualifications.

One of the Choo Choo Squadron members was absent from the promotion ceremony, but was recognized for advanced promotion to captain. Captain Gregory Van Fossen was recognized for his experience and qualification as a CFII (certified flight instructor, including instrument) rating. Capt. Van Fossen has completed level one, and is also qualified as a mission scanner, mission observer and mission pilot, and frequently flies the Red, White and Blue Cessna 182 that is usually based at Chattanooga Airport.

Other promotions that have occurred over the last few months include Captain Wendy Britt, a professional instructor who has completed level two, and is a qualified mission scanner, and First Lieutenant Thomas Tomisek, who completed level one and is a qualified mission scanner.

Founded in 1941 and established as the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force seven years later, Civil Air Patrol is chartered by Congress as a nonprofit organization for the purposes of youth development, aerospace education and to promote general aviation. In an auxiliary role as a Total Force partner of the Air Force, CAP operates the world’s largest fleet of single-engine aircraft for search and rescue, disaster relief, training, and education. Civil Air Patrol is dedicated to serving America’s communities, saving lives and shaping futures.

Last year, the Choo Choo Senior Squadron conducted the Beginner Emergency Services Training (BEST) Program and recruited about a dozen new members to the squadron. Since then, several more members have joined, and the squadron is anticipating more promotions in the coming year. They continue to invite potential members who have an interest in general aviation and desire to serve the community to visit a squadron meeting, usually held from 7-9 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of the month at Wilson Air Center, 932 Jubilee Dr. in Chattanooga, on the west side of the airport. For more information, contact the squadron's Recruiting and Retention Officer Major Larry Stewart at

For more information about Civil Air Patrol, visit or and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.
PSC March Meeting Hosts Donna Bourdon
  • 2/28/2024

The Photographic Society of Chattanooga will present Donna Bourdon at their meeting on Thursday, March 21. Ms. Bourdon’s presentation will be “Wildlife Photography: From Good to Great." The presentation ... more

In-Town Gallery Presents Photographer Anh Bao And Jewelry Artist Barbara Murnan In March
In-Town Gallery Presents Photographer Anh Bao And Jewelry Artist Barbara Murnan In March
  • 2/27/2024

n-Town Gallery’s Art After Hours--Wednesday, March 6th, 5-8pm--on display thru March 31st) At this months’ Art After Hours at In-Town Gallery, Chattanooga photographer Anh Bao invites viewers ... more

Chattanooga Gears Up For 9th Annual Erlanger Chattanooga Marathon Weekend
Chattanooga Gears Up For 9th Annual Erlanger Chattanooga Marathon Weekend
  • 2/26/2024

Chattanooga Sports, a division of Chattanooga Tourism Co., in collaboration with Erlanger Health Systems and community-wide partners, is set to host the 9th annual Erlanger Chattanooga Marathon ... more