Staff Sections

Main Content

2018 NCWG Annual Conference Held in Wilmington

Cadets at Coast Guard station
1 of 6
Cadets tour the U.S. Coast Guard station in Wilmington as part of the 2018 NCWG annual Conference. Photo Credit: Maj Sherry Haskell, CAP (click image to view full size)
Story Tools

More than 250 attendees set new conference record

2/14/2018––More than 250 cadets and senior members from around the NC Wing and Middle East Region attended the 2018 North Carolina Wing Conference on 9-11 February 2018. The conference was held at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside hotel on the Cape Fear riverfront in Wilmington, NC. Wilmington Mayor Pro Tem Margaret Haynes spoke briefly at the conference and warmly welcomed the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) to Wilmington. 

The Middle East Region Commander, Col John M. Knowles, headlined the keynote speakers for the General Assembly on Saturday morning and Col John Maxfield served as the MC. Honored guests included Lt Col Eric Fryar, USAF, Commander, MELR, and Col Bruce Heinlein, CAP, Vice Commander-West, MER. Col Knowles lauded the NC Wing for leading the MER in number of aircraft assigned and for the most hours flown per aircraft. He also thanked the Wing for its excellent responses to recent hurricanes and for the Christmas Eve/Day save of a downed pilot.

During the General Assembly, the North Carolina Wing memorialized members who passed away in 2017 including Maj Gen Dwight Wheless, Lt Col Andy Wiggs, Maj Dan McCollum and Capt Steve Merritt.

Col R. Jason Bailey, the North Carolina Wing Commander, presented National Commander's Commendation awards to Lt Col Craig Richardson and Lt Col Joe Weinflash. He also presided over the Change of Command ceremony for Group Four as Lt Col Ron Cheek stepped down and Lt Col Matthew Phillips assumed command. Maj David Gilchrist was promoted to Lt Col and Lt Col Harry Fiedler was presented with the FAA's Wright Brothers "Master Pilot" Award for 50 years of service in aviation safety. 

The Gill Rob Wilson Award, the highest CAP senior member award for professional development, was presented to Lt Col Matthew Phillips, Lt Col David Gilchrist and CMSgt Lou Walpus. Lt Col Chris Bailey recently completed level 4 of the CAP senior member professional development program and was awarded the Paul E. Garber Award. C/Lt Col Josiah Bilbrey was presented with his Ira Eaker Award and C/2d Lt William C. Brown and C/2d Lt Sarah K. Benson were presented with their Billy Mitchell Awards. Capt Roger Asycue and Capt Lynne Albert received Commander's Commendation Awards from Col Bailey and Meritorious Service Awards were presented to Lt Col Ron Cheek, Lt Col Chris Bailey and Lt Col Matthew Phillips.

The North Carolina Wing presented its 2017 "Of the Year" awards which are part of a nomination process that began last August. For the Awards, NCWG members nominate their peers for outstanding performance in the CAP duty assignments. Additional awards for service and professional development were also presented. In total more than 65 awards were presented during this year's NCWG conference.

The following duty position awards were presented to:

Public Affairs Officer of the Year: 1st Lt Beau Bentley, NC-121

Senior Member of the Year: Lt Col Richard Augur, NC-019

Character Development Instructor of the Year: 1st Lt John Oakes, NC-022

Squadron Chaplain of the Year: Ch/Maj Steve Mathews, NC-124

John V. Sorenson Cadet Programs Officer of the Year: 1st Lt DeeDee Willetts, NC-170

Col Edwin W. Lewis, Jr. Incident Staff Member of the Year: Lt Col John May, NC-121

Senior Chaplain of the Year: Ch/Lt Col David Bobbey, NC-005

Maj Gen Jeanne M. Holm AE Officer of the Year: 2d Lt Nicholas Green, NC-057

Air Force Association Aerospace Education Cadet of the Year: C/2d Lt Dylan Gulla, NC-111

Drug Demand Reduction Officer of the Year: Maj Joel Lipsey, NC-048

Communicator of the Year: Maj John Kintz, NC-019

Cadet of the Year: C/Lt Col Kate Fitzpatrick, NC-153

Professional Development Officer of the Year: Capt Chad Hooper, NC-022

Col Dion E. DeCamp Ground Team of the Year: NC-145, Franklin County Comp Squadron

Frank G. Brewer, Sr. Aerospace Award Category II-Senior: Maj Kathleen Nicholas, NC-170

Col Lester Hopper Historian of the Year: Maj Joseph Myers, NC-019

George Texido Legislative Officer of the Year: Lt Col Matthew Phillips, NC-004

Safety Officer of the Year: Lt Col Chris Duemmel, NC-001

Property Management Officer of the Year: Lt Col Chris Bailey, NC-145

Air Force Sergeants Association Outstanding Cadet NCO of the Year: C/CMSgt Joshua Stange, NC-145

Counterdrug Officer of the Year: Lt Col Pete Bohler, NC-048

Wing Finance Officer of the Year: Maj Brendan Kearns, NC-002

Squadron of Merit award: NC-145, Franklin County Comp Squadron

Frank G. Brewer, Sr. CAP Memorial Aerospace Award Category I-Cadet: C/2d Lt Kevin Willetts, Jr., NC-170

Group 6 was recognized as the Outstanding Group of the Year and the 111th Search and Rescue Squadron's Team A was recognized for winning the NCWG's 2018 Cadet Competition.

During the morning and afternoon breakout sessions, members were given the chance to learn about new and exciting opportunities available in CAP. Educational sessions included information on drones, Recruiting and Retention, The Road to Command, Lessons Learned and many more exciting programs. The sessions were very well attended and many were standing-room only events.

Cadet activities for the conference included numerous social events, the Cadet Ball and a tour of the Wilmington U.S. Coast Guard station.

Col R. Jason Bailey, NC Wing Commander, stated, "this year's attendance of over 250 CAP members is the largest in the NC Wing's history! All of the seminars were very well attended and we plan to get larger session rooms next year. All of the awards presented were very well earned and we appreciate everyone's efforts on behalf of the NC Wing. I'd also like to issue special thanks to those who spoke at the Memorials to our members who passed in 2017."   

During the Conference Banquet, the Cadet of the Year award was presented to C/Lt Col Kate Fitzpatrick of the Boone Composite Squadron and the Senior Member of the Year award was presented to Lt Col Richard Augur of the Asheville Composite Squadron. The entertainment for the Conference Banquet was provided by Steve Brogan and Friends, a ventriloquism act that kept the room in stitches. Col Knowles, MER Commander, graciously joined in the on-stage fun.

With more than 250 CAP members in attendance, this conference marked a record-breaking attendance for a North Carolina Wing conference and a chance for the Wing to expand our knowledge base and to celebrate our accomplishments together.

For conference photos, please go to the NC Wing's Facebook page at: