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Commander’s Commentary—November 2016

Col Robert J Bailey

CAP Safety Pledge

As a Civil Air Patrol member I pledge to promote an uncompromising safety environment for myself and others, and to prevent the loss of, or damage to Civil Air Patrol assets entrusted to me. I will perform all my activities in a professional and safe manner, and will hold myself accountable for my actions in all of our Missions for America.

Members of NCWG, 


October is behind us already.  Every month I speak about how the month before was so busy, I wonder sometimes how can we keep up the pace?  I know full well it is because of our diversified and incredibly dedicated volunteer membership.  Well, I think we were close to saturation and amazingly, we still accomplished the missions concurrently.  


We started the month with the Command Staff and the Group Commanders Retreat at Fort Fisher, NC.  There was a lot of interaction and good discussion on topics that effect the entire Wing.There will be more to come from that meeting.  


Within a few days of leaving the retreat, disaster relief planning and base set-up for Hurricane Matthew started.  By October 5th, we were already setting up Wing Headquarters as the Incident Command Post (ICP) and planning on staffing the State Emergency Operations Center for support.  At the same time, members from NCWG were moving/protecting aircraft in North Carolina from the impending storm and assisting our friends in the SCWG fly sorties in preparation and evacuation of low lying areas.  We had personnel already supporting efforts at the North Carolina Emergency Management warehouse locations with vehicles to make deliveries.  I am very thankful that within a few hours, we stood-up operations and had personnel spun up and ready to assist.  


By October 8th, Hurricane Matthew was dumping water and delivering high winds into North Carolina.   We were bracing, however, we did not realize how much of the state would be affected.  We were tasked by Sunday the 9th, with flying Aerial Photography sorties to assist with damage assessment as soon as the winds were calm enough for us to fly.  We were also requested to support the POD locations and more warehouse logistical support teams were sent.  We had advanced notice of this support which allowed us to start contacting people quickly.  We were given the go ahead by the North Carolina Emergency Management to start sending people out on Monday morning.  


Some key things to note, we had most of the CAP vans and both Expedition SUVs checked into the mission.  One Expedition (32028) had been driven 2600 miles in October alone. Many of the vans had similar miles.  


Interestingly, we had some new requests/sorties for how to use CAP during this mission.  We will be taking these into account in the future when we request resources.  Some of the types of work performed by CAP during this mission included:



  • ·       EOC support
  • ·       Vehicle support for asset movement at warehouses
  • ·       Vehicle support for delivery of water sample bottles for municipal water systems
  • ·       Warehouse support - this took many forms from cleanup of the warehouse and facilities to loading for PODS
  • ·       Points of Distribution support
  • ·       Aerial photography of infrastructure (routes, bridges, dams, etc.)
  • ·       Pilots and aircraft to fly VIP (FEMA personnel to view damage) sorties
  • ·       VIP Flying of news crews from three different news outlets
  • ·       Flying of "highbirds" (having repeaters in the plane for communications support)



Knowing that these are ways to support North Carolina Emergency Management and FEMA will allow us to better plan and call-out the type of resources we are requesting.  As noted by one individual in an After Action Review (AAR), “…a Ground Team does not equal a POD team and a POD team does not equal a warehouse support team...”.  


I could go on and on regarding the great work that individuals performed, however, some of the North Carolina Emergency Management and other agencies we supported put this better than I could.  We received letters from the news outlets regarding the flights and professionalism demonstrated by the pilots flying the aircrews, we received letters from the warehouse managers which highlighted those who supported them, letters from the National Commander on how our POA/PIO staff supported the mission and worked with Region assets to roll all of the efforts into one coordinated effort.  Our members are outstanding!


When it comes to those flying hours, our aircrews put over 600 hours on NCWG based planes alone in October (over 550 on the aircraft in the mission including other Wings/Regions).  


While we were getting towards the end of the high ops tempo mission support for Hurricane Matthew, we had a slight concern.  We had flown all of these hours, many planes were in for maintenance, our aircrews had been taxed and put everything in their lives on hold just as the other folks in the mission; however, we still had the 2-week mission for the 3-58th AOB to support which we had previously committed to support for the Army.  This included 5-7 hours per sortie with three sorties per day.  We used some out of Wing partners mixed in with our own members and up they went.  Word was quickly received back that we had supported all expectations and training needs of the 3-58th for the mission.  In fact one Army Staff Sergeant on the ground commented to us that with NCWG’s support they were able to qualify more ATC students in less time simply by having CAP fly the sorties!


From there, we rolled right into the Fall Ranger Training Weekend.  The aircrews were able to rest and out went the vans and ground teams.  I was not able to attend as I was headed to National Headquarters for the Region/Wing Commanders Course.  I understand that this went very well.  I know first-hand that the meals provided there are top notch.  I heard many good comments regarding the weekend and the training that was received.  


While it seems that October was all Emergency Services all the time, there were other events that were going on throughout the month that I think are good to note.  

Raleigh Wake Squadron supported an Airshow on the 15th of October, and although we had to cancel the planned Professional Development weekend at Wing Headquarters due to the Incident Command Post taking the entire building, Southport (Cape Fear Composite and Brunswick Composite Squadron’s) had planned a PD weekend for anyone that wanted to attend.  


There were some events that were moved that could not be helped.  The Drill and Ceremonies Academy had to be moved because most of the personnel and staff were out on missions.  The Glider day had to be cancelled due to plane usage for the mission.  We had less than ten (10) O-flights for the month.  This is possibly a record low for NCWG.  For those cadets who were hoping for an o-flight, I regret that we were not able to support this mission better during the month.  Your advancement and opportunities to fly are very important to us.  


Some closing thoughts:  


I have begun following @genleadblog on twitter which I enjoy and there were recently some thoughts that hit home that I would like to share.  The first was a quotation by Sir Winston Churchill "If we are together nothing is impossible.  If we are divided all will fail."  It is my vision for our Wing to be united and together in everything we do. Can that always happen? Probably not, but it can be something we strive for each day. I will always welcome feedback as it will improve our performance and make us execute better.


I want to thank everyone for their feedback as well as their support on the Hurricane mission.  There were areas for improvement both in personnel and processes that were identified and we are already using the feedback from the After Action Review to improve training, mission readiness, and responsiveness.  


I speak regularly that our people are our best asset/resource, etc.  However, I was challenged by the article I referenced above as it continues on to state the following from a book by Daniel Pink Drive.  I have not had the time to read the book so hopefully I will get time soon.  I have copied part of the article below, however, you can reference the entire article at  I would change the word employee to volunteer as it refers to us.
I used a common leadership slogan earlier in my writing, “Your people are your best resource”. I find now as I reflect on those words I have come to disagree with ...

I began to realize the way a leader views his employees affects his actions towards them. Pink sums it up well when he says, “…it’s a partnership between me and the employees. They’re not resources. They’re partners”.

·        Resources are made to be consumed. Partners cultivate, grow, nurture and guide each other. If partners are consumed you are in deep trouble.

·        Resources can be horded. Partners are trusted to go their own way and make their own decisions.

·        Resources provide value only to the user. Partners provide value to each other.

·        Resources can be treated poorly and still function. Partners who treat each other poorly kill the relationship and obliterate production and output.

Leaders treat their people with respect, ensuring they have the guidance, resources and support to do their job. Leaders promote growth and provide opportunities. The team in turn produces product, creates business and accomplishes the mission.

“A leader, on the other hand, is out with his people…”


Words cannot express how thankful I am for all of the support throughout the missions that were completed in October.  I thank you for the many personal e-mails, texts, and comments regarding your support for the North Carolina Wing of Civil Air Patrol and it's missions.  Thank you for all you do to support the missions of Civil Air Patrol.  The efforts put forth in October are just more examples of the amazing people with whom we serve.  


With respect and appreciation, 












Commander, North Carolina Wing