3/11/2010–Rockville, MD–A team of five cadets from Civil Air Patrol Maryland Wing’s Mt. Airy Composite Squadron took first place in the 2010 Maryland Wing (MDWG) Color Guard Competition held recently at Parkland Magnet Middle School in Rockville, Md. Coached by Maj. Grace Stapf, cadets on Mt. Airy’s team were: Chris LaPointe, Melissa Weinhold, Megan Bassett, Joshua Bowen, and Ashley Petersen.
Teams from eight Maryland squadrons competed in six elements: Outdoor Practical, Indoor Practical, Standard Drill, Inspection, Panel Quiz, and Written Exam. They were judged by members from the USAF 70th ISR Wing Honor Guard, the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) detachment at the University of Maryland, and MDWG Headquarters.
During the Outdoor Practical, cadets needed to raise and lower a flag on a flag-pole while rendering the proper respect. Once they lowered the flag, it was folded and presented to the chief judge.
For the Indoor Practical element, cadets needed to present the colors as they would before an indoor audience, such as a banquet or conference. Once the colors were presented, cadets posted them in stands. After reporting again to the chief judge, the flags were ceremonially removed.
To perform Standard Drill, cadets marched in line formation as they would during a pass-in-review or parade. There is a specified drill sequence they must perform on a 50 X 90 drill field.
Cadets underwent Inspection while standing in formation. Judges looked for uniform appearance, posture, demeanor, and equipment condition.
The Panel Quiz gave the cadet teams an opportunity to face each other in a round-robin format, answering Aerospace Education questions.
Cadets were given 45 minutes to complete the Written Exam, which consisted of 50 questions based on the Civil Air Patrol Leadership curriculum, and several other CAP regulations and manuals.
In addition to the team’s overall win, Megan Bassett received the Outstanding Cadet Award, recognizing her outstanding demeanor, appearance, integrity, and sportsmanship during the competition.
Maj. Stapf put a call out for color guard cadets about a month before the competition. Those chosen had only brief experiences with color guard ceremonies, but were ready to take on the challenge of preparing for the event. “Coaching this color guard team has been a great experience. The cadets are awesome and eager to learn. They have caught on quickly and are very professional, which is one of my biggest emphases. They make my job very easy and very fun,” said Stapf. Stapf is Mt. Airy’s professional development officer, aide-de-camp to CAP’s National Commander, and recipient of CAP’s highest cadet honor, the Spaatz Award. She has also assisted with CAP’s National Honor Guard Academy.
Practices took place every weekend, and even on some weekdays, since schools were closed due to snow. Color guard commander, Chris LaPointe, said, “We spent much of our time practicing basic movements together, but it was up to each member as individuals to make a commitment and study on our own.”
The team held mock panel quiz sessions, along with indoor and outdoor skill review. In between practices, cadets hit the books. Meg Bassett said, “I would usually break open an aerospace chapter right before bed,” so she would “have time to sleep on the information” she was learning about. Melissa Weinhold said she spent about 4 cumulative hours studying her material.
Joshua Bowen said he “had some experience with the panel quiz from being on the drill team last year,” so he “knew how important it was to be ready with the answers.”
Ashley Petersen, who participated as the team’s alternate, was tasked with learning each member’s part in each of the elements - in case she was called upon to fill in.
The team agrees that Stapf was key in getting them motivated. Said LaPointe, “Maj. Stapf worked tirelessly and sacrificed much of her time to make sure we had all the training we needed to be ready for the competition.” Bassett added, “It’s very nice to have someone who is willing to spend their time devoted to a team the way Maj. Stapf is. She has and still will be a large influence.”
Mt. Airy’s win has earned them the opportunity to represent MDWG at the Middle East Region Color Guard Competition to be held in March at Ft. Pickett. They have already begun preparations for this next level, which will include an additional element: the mile run.
Stapf feels “there is something very special about teaching young people the meaning of patriotism – the meaning of being an American. It is an honor to carry the American Flag and the flag of Civil Air Patrol. It is an honor to wear the Air Force uniform and by doing so to recognize and remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. So many people today forget the meaning of freedom, and for me to be able to teach it to cadets is a great privilege.”
Editor’s Note: Lt. Col. William Duke, project officer for the 2010 Maryland Wing Color Guard Competition, provided the following additional details regarding this year’s event.
Panel Quiz Event won by Mt. Airy; second place went to St. Mary’s Composite Squadron.
Written Exam was won by Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron; second place went to Mt. Airy Composite Squadron.
There was a three-way tie for highest score on the written exam:
C/A1C Nigell McAlpin of Bowie Composite Squadron
C/SMSgt Kevin Hyers of Annapolis Composite Squadron
C/TSgt Jacob McDonald of Frederick Composite Squadron
Outdoor Presentation was won by Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron with second place going to St. Mary’s Composite Squadron.
Indoor Presentation was won by Mt. Airy Composite Squadron; second place went to the Frederick Composite Squadron.
Standard Drill was won by Mt. Airy Composite Squadron and second place went to St. Mary’s Composite Squadron.
Uniform Inspection was won by Mt. Air Composite Squadron; second place went to St. Mary’s Composite Squadron.
Outstanding Cadet: C/SrA Meg Bassett of Mount Airy Composite Squadron
(determined by the other teams and the judges on the basis of appearance and bearing, skills and knowledge, respect for authority, personal conduct, leadership, integrity, and sportsmanship)
Special Team Award = Saint Mary's Composite Squadron
(determined by the other teams and the judges on the basis of appearance and bearing, skills and knowledge, esprit de corps, teamwork, respect for authority, respect for peers, integrity, and sportsmanship)
Overall Ranking for the 2010 Maryland Wing Color Guard Competition:
Third Place: Frederick Composite Squadron
Second Place: Bethesda-Chevy Chase Composite Squadron
First Place: Mount Airy Composite Squadron
Thank you to the five judges from the 70th ISR Wing Honor Guard, three judges from the AFROTC, and Parkland Magnet Middle School for providing the facilities. Maryland Wing members that served as judges and/or staff were Capt. Beth Peters, Lt. Col. Larry Buck, Lt. Col. John Knowles, and Lt. Col. Bill Duke.
The Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 58,000 members nationwide. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 72 lives in fiscal year 2009. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counter-drug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 23,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 68 years.
There are more than 1400 members of CAP in Maryland. Last fiscal year wing members flew 42 search and rescue missions and were credited with 31 finds. For more information, visit www.mdcap.org.
The Mount Airy Composite Squadron meets at 6:45p.m. Thursdays at the Mount Airy Senior and Community Center, 703 Ridge Ave., Mount Airy. Prospective cadets, ages 12 to 18, and their parents are always welcome. Adults seeking mentoring opportunities are invited as well. For more information, e-mail email@example.com , call 301-829-9057, or visit www.mtairy-cap.org .