Maryland Wing Commander Visits St. Mary's Composite Squadron - Southern Maryland Headline News

Maryland Wing Commander Visits St. Mary's Composite Squadron

By Don Van Wormer, 2nd Lt., CAP. St. Mary's Composite Squadron Public Affairs

Maryland Wing Civil Air Patrol commander Colonel Kay Joslin Walling visited the St. Mary's Composite Squadron to present major cadet program awards. Cadet Captains David Benes and Terry J. Van Wormer were presented with Amelia Earhart Award completion certificates. After the awards ceremony the wing commander held a question and answer session with squadron cadets and senior members.

The Amelia Earhart Award is given to cadets who have completed the first 11 achievements of the cadet program. Cadets must pass a comprehensive exam covering aerospace topics and leadership theory. In addition, they must complete staff duty reports, mentor other cadets in aerospace training, pass a physical fitness exam, and lead moral leadership discussions. Cadets earning the Earhart Award are promoted to the rank of cadet captain. Only 3 percent of the 27,000 CAP cadets nationwide earn this award.

Cadet Benes joined CAP in June 2000. He has competed cadet encampment, is Emergency Services ground team qualified, and completed the Powered Flight encampment, receiving his CAP solo pilot wings in 2004. Cadet Benes has served in many squadron assignments from Flight Sergeant, Cadet First Sergeant, and Flight Commander to Deputy Cadet Commander. In November 2005 he relived Cadet Captain Diane Mattingly as cadet commander. He is a senior at Kings Christian Academy and plans to go to college in the fall.

Cadet Van Wormer joined CAP in September 2001. He attended cadet encampment t in 2002. He has served as a Flight Sergeant, Flight Commander, cadet Administration/Personnel officer, Supply officer, and currently is the Cadet Executive Officer. He is a junior at Great Mills High School.

The St. Mary's Composite Squadron meets Wednesday evenings from 7-9 p.m. at the St. Mary's County Regional Airport, in the Capt. Walter Francis Duke terminal building, and is commanded by 1st Lt. Donald W. Cone Jr.

CAP, the official U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, is a nonprofit organization with more than 60,000 members nationwide. Its volunteers perform 95 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as well as homeland security, disaster relief and counter drug missions.

The members take a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the almost 25,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. Cadets in CAP participate in a structured program through group and individual activities that include aerospace education, physical training, leadership, and moral and ethical values. The program encompasses 16 achievement levels that include study in these four areas.

There are approximately 1,300 members of CAP in Maryland. Last fiscal year wing members flew 31 search and rescue missions as assigned by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, and was credited with 19 finds. For information, visit

Photo: left to right- former Maryland wing commander Col. Lawrence Trick, Cadet Captains Van Wormer & Benes, Maryland wing commander Col. Kay Joslin Walling.

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