He Digs His Job!
He Digs His Job!By Capt. Mark Silver Public Affairs Officer, Reno Composite Squadron
To meet and to get to know Captain Christopher Webster is like meeting someone that performs on multiple dimensions. He is here and now with you but you have the sense while he is totally engaged with you he is working on five other situations, three timelines, and setting up his next two days beyond the time you are in now. Does it sound a little too sci-fi to you? It could be just that. You have to experience him like we have had the privilege of doing so at the Reno Composite Squadron day in and day out for the past four years. Command suits him just fine.
Amongst the many skills he possesses, he is a working archeologist, a podcaster, a podcaster instructor, podcast editor, a skilled drone pilot, and a private pilot (not current). His military career included tours on the USS Enterprise where he was an avionics supervisor for jet aircraft. His resume’ reads like you talking about multiple people, not just one soul. He is an avid camper which comes in handy when he is doing field work as an archeologist. He is thoroughly knowledgeable with computers and any technology he can get his hands on. His grasp on time management is unbelievable to the point he tracks his time using TIMEULAR, a multiple faced gadget that has labels for many of his daily tasks and it downloads to his computer. If he stops one thing to start another or has been interrupted, he flips to the side that states his current task. That’s how he knows he had approximately 437 hours devoted to just CAP last year. That is 54 8-hour days. For anyone else that would have probably doubled.
Captain Webster would be the first person to tell you he does not manage the squadron alone. He believes that you train for a job and then you do the job. We do a lot of OJT in the Civil Air Patrol so if you run into something you are not sure about he would direct you to the best person to get answers from. The squadron is built on mentorship, from the Deputy Commander on down, lessons are passed along every Thursday night as we train in a casual atmosphere. It is beneficial for newcomers to the squadron as they can get one-on-one time with a professional development officer or if their interest lies in flight ops almost always there is someone on hand to guide them. Training is near and dear to Captain Webster’s heart and his desire to learn is infectious to the whole squadron. Not only has the training been beneficial for Reno Composite Squadron, but to all the bordering squadrons in Northern Nevada. Many SAREX’s were inclusive of multiple squadrons.
Captain Webster brought several of the squadron into the 21st century in the use of technology. The use of SLACK by our squadron to communicate any time and with whom we need to has been broadly accepted. Multiple channels such as emergency services, professional development, public affairs, or communications help us stay on top of changes and procedures. You can also one-on-one message a question to key staff members. It has been an organizational revolution. We experimented with WILDNOTE which is designed to help collect and manage data in the field. We took the app on some of our phones to send real time photos back to base to see if it would help. He plans to bring that back into use again. He also introduced TRELLO which is a project management application. Using PowerPoint for our meetings with officer slides to fill out prior to them helps manage time and gets out our messages clearly.
Captain Webster’s career(s) have taken him around the world. Besides his avionics experience in the Navy, he wields a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Dakota in Anthropology and a Master of Science from the University of Georgia in Archeological Resource Management. His podcasting has him in touch with colleagues on many continents. He has done a local radio show to discuss archeology and take questions on the subject. He has used his drone skills in mapping archeological sites using GPS and video not unlike one of our CAP search patterns, except a whole lot lower! His experience in the Navy also took him from Tennessee Advanced Avionics where he was also a member of the Cracker Jack Marching unit to the Mediterranean Sea which would only help inspire his Archeology dreams. One thing is for sure, all the tools and knowledge from the many aspects of his career has combined to make a fine Squadron Commander over the last four years.
In asking him about his thoughts on his command, he had this to relay: to cadets he wishes them well on future endeavors and to make a goal and work toward it. Promote! He will not miss all the emails that come with command! Something he would change if he could? He would work more on the cadet program. That slipped some and he wants that to get back on track. He was very proud of his staff officers and the work they did. Several times his work took him away from the squadron only to have the wheels keep turning because people did their job. What would you like to see continue you laid ground work for? The emergency services!
As Captain Webster’s command wound down we entered the COVID-19 pandemic. Squadron activities did not miss a beat. His experience with ZOOM that he uses every day in his career helped us all stay in touch with regular meetings virtually as well as our Thursday night training. The cadets would join us for combined meetings then he would send them into their own break out room to finish their business. He believes that the team concept we have built was the difference in making virtual meetings work.
Captain Webster said this of his relinquishing command: “It is surreal that it had come to an end. I took over from Maj. Eric Henry and built on what he laid the ground work for. We built a good team. It’s a different squadron now and I hope to help as an advisor to the Commander going forward.”
Certainly the Reno Composite Squadron is proud of what you have accomplished. We are very happy to have you stay on as we venture further as a team.
When asked about his younger days about his interests he said “Archeology, Astronaut, Pilot, andTravel.” One would think that three out of four is not bad, but don’t count him out the fourth just yet!
Well done Commander Webster, well done.