We are coming to the end of another very active year in the Greater Nashua Composite Squadron. This year saw us accomplish many great things:
-We created a unit patch.
-Placed 2nd overall in the Cadet Competition in April. This stands out as this was the first competition that the squadron has participated in for at least 5-years.
-Eight cadets earned their Rocketry Badges in April. This reflects the first award of Rocketry Badges in this squadron in well over 5-years.
-We continually rank highest of all squadrons in NH Wing for mission participation including both ground and air operations. Recently, our participation in the Hurricane Sandy relief effort helped the Civil Air Patrol to produce over 140,000 individual pictures for FEMA.
-We hosted cadets from the International Air Cadet Exchange program in August. The cadets were from the U.K. and Germany.
- We have grown the squadron through several new community partnerships including the Experimental Aircraft Association and the Academy of Science and Design. Our squadron is sitting at 130 members and is poised to leap to around 150 in the coming year.
- We earned the Quality Cadet Unit award for the third year in a row. This is a significant milestone as there are fewer than 60 units in the country who have done this.
- We were selected as the NH Wing Squadron of the Year. A well deserved honor that rewards the hard work and dedication of our members.
These accomplishments would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the members of this unit.
The Squadron has changed significantly since I joined it in 2010. We have gone from a small unit of around 70 – 90 members to a moderately large unit of about 130. To put this in perspective, the average CAP squadron is only about 20-40 members. We are almost as large as the entire Vermont Wing.
With this in mind we have to start looking to the future with a much different set of eyes. The next year will bring with it many challenges. We will be moving to a new location with the squadron at the Academy of Science and Design. We will shut down our office at the airport. We also need to continue to grow the squadron and provide meaningful training and service opportunities to our members.
We have recently been selected to provide oversight of the New Hampshire Wing Ground Team (South). This will require a much higher level of participation from our ground emergency services members than has been in the past. This is a significant milestone in itself as when I joined the squadron, we did not have an active ground team. We now have two.
To support this and many other changes, we need folks to step up and assume more active roles in the squadron. I would like to see several areas become more active and functioning through next year. Part of what we need to do is reevaluate who is doing what jobs. No longer can we have one person doing four or five jobs. The squadron is simply too large for that now. Additionally, people will need to be present at meeting nights more often in order to perform their various duty assignments. Senior meeting nights are going to shift in focus from just a meeting to actually performing the assigned functions that keep the squadron moving. This will become much easier at the new location.
Some of the positions I will talk about below have a primary officer assigned to them already, but I need to get new people in to these jobs so that the positions can be more effectively managed.
Safety: This is critical! We need at least two active Senior Members and a Cadet to fill this role.
Logistic/Supply: We need someone who can take this on as a primary duty and manage it. The vehicle is being managed, but our other logistics functions need help.
Communications: We an assistant in this area.
So if you are not actively filling a support role in the squadron right now, make sure to approach Captain Keisling, or Major Ken Williams to get started. We need and can use the help.
Parents: Remember that you can help in several ways.
- The single largest is to consider becoming a Cadet Sponsor Member. This program allows you to be a part of the unit and assist with our mission without having to worry about the professional development issues.
- We are looking to start a Fund Raising Committee. We will not have an air show this year so we will need to look at alternative methods for raising cash to operate the squadron.
There are so many ways to help out. As always, feel free to ask any one of the command team. So, in closing, I thank you for all of your hard work this year. Have a safe and happy holiday. Those of you going to NCOLS, I will see you next week.
I look forward to working with each of you next year to continue to improve and grow our squadron.
Thank you, Major Kevin N. Harbison, CAP Commander, Greater Nashua Composite Squadron