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Message from the Wing Commander

On Friday, 10 April, 2010 I was at the commanders’ reception in the lobby of the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Marcos.  I had recently been named the commander select of Second Group and was scheduled to assume command the next day from Lt Col Don Windle.  I was talking to Lt Col Steve Haney who was congratulating me on my selection as Group Commander.  For those of you who do not know Lt Col Haney, I suggest you make the effort to seek him out and engage him in conversation at your next opportunity.  He has an uncanny ability to put people at ease with his Stephen Hudsongentlemanly charm.  His smile and laugh are infectious and his knowledge of Civil Air Patrol is immense.  He has been a member for thirty six years!  He has an uncanny ability to quickly evaluate people and situations.

I did not know him very well at the time but have, over the last five years, sought him out on many occasions for advice.  During our conversation, I made the statement, “I would have been happy to have gone back to my home squadron and just be a mission pilot.  After all, that is why I joined CAP.”  He got a somber look on his face and replied, “That’s not why you joined CAP.”  I thought to myself, he thinks he knows why I joined CAP better than I?  Ridiculous!  Haney then stated, very matter-of-factly, “You joined Civil Air Patrol to serve.”

I have remembered that conversation, and related it many times since that day.  We all had different motivations for joining.  For cadets, it might be a love of aviation and the desire to wear the uniform or learn to drill.  For seniors, the motivation might have been that your child joined and you wanted to assist in the cadet programs area.  Perhaps you have a love of communications and joined to be part of one of the largest radio communications systems in the country.  Some of you joined after seeing CAP members performing their duties after some natural disaster.  Whatever your motivation, Lt Col Haney was correct:

We ALL joined to serve!

After selecting Lt Col Sean Crandall as Vice Commander and Lt Col Jack Faas as Chief of Staff, I asked each of them to submit three to five suggestions of wing mottos we could use going forward.  I did the same.  An overwhelming majority of those suggestions contained the words serve or service.  After considering the suggestions for a few days the new motto became evident.

“Dedicated to Serve” will be the Texas Wing Motto during my term as your commander.

I believe the position of commander is one of service.  I pledge I will serve Texas Wing and its members on a daily basis.  Each decision I make will be made with a servant’s heart.  I have asked each member of wing staff to make the same pledge.

We all know our three mandated missions, Cadet Programs, Aerospace Education and Emergency Services, are accomplished at the squadron level.  Wing and Group levels exist only to serve the squadrons and facilitate the successful accomplishment of those missions by the squadrons.

Each time there is a change of command at any level in CAP, changes occur.  We have just had a change of command at the wing level and there will be other changes in Texas Wing as a result.  Changes in wing staff positions, changes in processes, changes in thinking and philosophy.  I ask each of you to think evaluate your level of service to CAP.  For some of you this is the perfect time for you to step up and offer to serve at a higher level.  Contact your commander and offer to take on new or expanded service responsibilities during this time of change.  You will be glad you did!

I look forward to renewing old friendships and meeting many more of you as I travel around our wing.  I am, Dedicated to Serve!

Steve Hudson, Col, CAP

Commander

Texas Wing

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Lt. Col. Steve Hudson will take over as the head of Civil Air Patrol's Texas Wing in April from the current commander, Col. Brooks Cima. Photos courtesy Texas Wing, Civil Air Patrol.

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