Goodbye to 2020!By Col. Deborah Pierce, CAP Nevada Wing Commander
As we all know, the year 2020 was a really tough one. About mid-March, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all in-person activities CAP-wide. No meetings, no flying, no O-rides, no nuthin'. As the Christmas poem goes, "nothing was stirring, not even a mouse". The National Remobilization Team devised "phases" of reopening based on each state's COVID-19 statistics... which is still in effect; Nevada is still at Phase Zero as of right now.
Although we faced a lot of challenges, some good things happened too! In June, Maj. Gen. Smith allowed each wing to open up limited flying with strict COVID-19 protocols to keep the aircraft fluids flowing and rubber elasticity intact as well as to maintain pilot proficiency. Our Stan/Eval team worked to keep our pilots training; we came out on top of pilot currency for Pacific Region (and much of the country as well). Well done, Stan/Eval!
During 2020 we had several missions, including responding to assist Oregon Wing with wildfires, COVID-19 PPE deliveries, and food bank assistance. There were some searched as well, resulting in three find out in remote areas of Nevada. Some of our members or their families made masks for health care workers and CAP mission response; included in that list are Hope Pasinski, Jessica Korsmo, and our own Capt. Maryan Tooker. So, while things were perhaps a bit slower than they might otherwise have been, we were ready and responded when called upon. Mission readiness is always important, no matter what.
Our Cadet Advisory Council has been working hard to try and keep our cadets engaged. They have been leading virtual meetings, trivia contests, PT sessions, achievement coaching, presentations about military careers, et cetera. They are really thinking outside the box. Good job, CAC! And thanks to cadets for participating! Speaking of cadets... we had a cadet achieve the prestigious Spaatz Award in 2020. Congratulations to Cadet Col. Justin Hoekman, Spaatz #2304, of Tahoe-Truckee Composite Squadron! Hopefully we'll see more of that in 2021.
Even though we all wish we were meeting in-person, we've received some benefits from having to meet virtually. Many of our members have learned or improved their computing skills - Teams, Zoom, and other platforms were a mystery and now they're as familiar as Word!
And how about that super successful virtual-format Wing Conference! Over 250 people attended from all over the country - I counted 37 different Wings. Anyone who wanted to attend could, at no cost to them (Wing picked up RegFox fees). We had about 35 different topics, which we could never do live at an in-person Conference. Congrats and thanks to Lt. Col. Pasinski and 1st Lt. Dustin Surwill for leading the Conference Planning Team!
Here's another good thing... after many months of working toward it, our Wing finally has a new Headquarters location! We have completely moved out of the old Headquarters location on Rock Boulevard in Reno to our new location at 2890 Vassar Street in Reno, essentially on the other side of the airport from the Rock Boulevard location. The new Headquarters has an office for our Wing Administrator, Shawn Brewer, as well as a large meeting/conference room and a communications room. Reno Composite Squadron is again sharing the space with Wing. Thank you to Capt. Mike Cleveland and Capt. Gerry Elder for all their hard work with this project.
Now... what's coming up for us this year? Well (drum roll, please), it's Civil Air Patrol AND Nevada Wing's 80th Anniversary! December 1, 1941, our organization came into being. We'll be celebrating that later on, although our cadets have a jump on it already - they had a contest going to design a Nevada Wing 80th Anniversary Commemorative logo. They selected the winning design which is now in the review phase.
As I'm sure you've heard, COVID-19 vaccines are starting to roll out. Hopefully, scientists can get this virus lassoed and under control soon so we can begin to live "normally", whatever that is for you. For CAP, it means in-person meetings, National Cadet Special Activities (I've seen a bunch of applications for those), more flying, more live training, all that good stuff. An in-person Wing Conference would be nice too, to reconnect and renew friendships. I have confidence we'll be doing at least some in-person things this year.
Despite all the challenges of 2020, our members - that is, YOU - are moving forward, doing your best to make lemonade out of lemons and get things done. With a positive attitude and belief in each other, there's nothing we can't accomplish! Here's to a bright 2021!