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Civil Air Patrol in South Dakota Recognizes Excellence

June 12, 2021

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(Mitchell) - Civil Air Patrol’s South Dakota Wing has recognized its Lincoln County Composite Squadron as Squadron of Merit for 2020.  The award was announced tonight at the annual wing conference in Mitchell.

“The Squadron of Merit recognizes the top-performing Squadron in the Wing,” said Col. Nick Gengler, South Dakota Wing Commander. “Lincoln County Composite Squadron was just formed 2 years ago and since then has shown great strength in growth, scholastic achievement, and has hosted a variety of events for their cadets. I am very proud of the Lincoln County Composite Squadron and look forward to their future growth.”

Also during the awards ceremony, Capt. Donald Weiand, of Custer was named Senior Member of the Year. Weiand, a retired active-duty military officer, is commander of Crazy Horse Composite Squadron and serves in a variety of state and local roles in CAP.

1st Lt. Kyle Clement received the award of Cadet of the Year for 2020, recognizing excellence among CAP’s youth members, known as cadets.  Clement became an adult CAP membership earlier this year and attends South Dakota State University.

The Senior Member of the Year award recognizes a member age 21+ years, who stands out throughout the year,” said Gengler. “We have so many great volunteers it is sometimes hard to distinguish one above the other. Capt. Weiand has strengthened the Crazy Horse Composite Squadron’s community ties in promoting Civil Air Patrol, while increasing fundraising opportunities, involving the unit with local community activities, and keeping the unit active during the pandemic this last year. Capt. Weiand is a credit to himself and the Civil Air Patrol.

“1st Lt. Kyle Clement was in our cadet program up until he turned 21 this last year,” Gengler continued. “As a cadet, 1Lt Clement achieved the Eaker Award, the 2nd highest scholastic achievement in the cadet program. He has been very active in our emergency services program training in search and rescue. He has done an outstanding job mentoring those around him. 1Lt Clement is some the cadets look up to.”

CAP has over 400 members in South Dakota with active units in Brookings, Custer, Miller/Faulkton, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Spearfish and Tea. The wing can deploy its six aircraft, ground teams and small search drones to assist in emergency response and other support to local, state, tribal and federal agencies.

Presentation of staff leadership awards included both wing- and region-level awards:

Region and Wing Professional Development Officer of the Year - Col. Mary Donley of Sioux Falls, wing staff.

Ed Lewis Incident Staff Member of the Year – Lt. Col. Todd Epp of Harrisburg, wing staff.         

Region and Wing Property Management Officer of the Year, Maj. Jerome Foy of Sioux Falls, Lincoln County Composite Squadron.      

Region and Wing Lt. Col. T. Keith Riddle Aircrew Member of the Year - Lt. Col.  Jeremy Langrock of Sioux Falls, wing staff.

Region and Wing Maj. Gen. Jeanne M. Holm Aerospace Education Officer of the Year – Maj. John Spangler of Rapid City, Rushmore Composite Squadron

Region and Wing Col. David Kantor Operations Staff Officer of the Year Award - Capt. Richard Rezac of Highmore, Miller Flight.

Region and Wing Col. Bud Payton PAO of the Year – Maj. Karla West of Brandon, wing staff.

“The huge number of awards won by our South Dakota Wing Members at the region level demonstrate the great continuing commitment so many members of the SD Wing have towards excellence and professionalism,” Lt. Col. Craig Goodrich, South Dakota Wing vice commander said. “We are one of the smallest wings in the region, yet we have some of the most committed members around.  Our common goals, values, and dedication to our community, our young people and life-saving bring us together like a large family.  I’m very proud of the accomplishments of all of our members.”

Wing-level staff award recipients are entered in the seven-state CAP North Central Region competition, the winners of which are candidates for the national award, to be presented at CAP’s national conference in August.

The Quality Unit Cadet Award was presented to Big Sioux Composite Squadron (Brookings), Crazy Horse Composite Squadron (Custer), Lookout Mountain Composite Squadron (Spearfish), Miller flight, Mitchell Composite Squadron, and Sioux Falls Composite Squadron.

Wing Commander’s Commendations were announced for Justin Johnson of wing staff; Devin Griffin and Matthew Tracy of Rushmore Composite Squadron; Chancey Hall and Pandy Rezac of Miller Flight; Myra Christensen, Richard Helton, Marsha Sumpter, Lee Vaughan and of Pierre Composite Squadron; Merrilee Schultz of Sioux Falls Composite Squadron and E. W. Filler of Big Sioux Composite Squadron.

The annual conference offered Civil Air Patrol members from around the state a wide range of seminars and workshops about CAP’s operational missions, youth program, aerospace education and organizational management.

2021 Wing Conference Attendees

Tagged As: Wing Conference

For More Information:

Contact Lt. Col. Michael Marek at:

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