All posts by David Carlstrom

Rocket day at Red Wing

On Aug 18 Capt Knox came to Red Wing to help launch the rockets the cadets had been building. Capt Knox explain what it was like to launch Minute Man Rocket during his military career. His knowledge of rockets was very useful, even the observers commented that they did not know why rockets weather-vaned into the wind.

River City Days

Red Wing Composite Squadron participated at River City Days, we had a booth at Levee Park Saturday and Sunday. Also on Sunday we helped out at the Red Wing Airport, this year we open the hanger and let kids see what we had to offer, the airplane was the most popular. Cadet Waldvogel manned the flight simulators, and Capt Grave monitored the airplane. Some of the CAP members got a ride in a Vietnam Era Huey over Red Wing, view of three River Boats at Red Wing was spectacular.


Red Wing has an ELT Find and observed Plane Crash

July 2, 2018

While a cadet was taking flying lessons, the instructor and cadet heard a ELT signal, they reported it and latter in the day Red Wing Squadron was requested to find it.

While the ground team was on the taxiway at Red Wing Airport, they witness an airplane in distress, and crash. The team provided assistance to the pilot, medical rescue, and law enforcement. They resumed the search for the ELT, upon discovery it was determined that the ELT had be going off for 3 days.

The crew return to the crash site and after the NTSB released the plane crash, they helped move the plane parts to a hanger for safe keeping.

Stanton becomes new squadron

On May 22, 2018

New Stanton Squadron

Several Senior members and cadets participated in the establishment of the Stanton Civil Air Patrol Squadron, a very rare event in the Civil Air Patrol as only a couple squadron are established in the United States a year. Stanton was started as a flight of Red Wing. After some discussion we were in support of a flight at Stanton Airfield because there is not enough youth getting involve in aviation, and area youth wanted a CAP cadet squadron program. Stanton Airfield was an Army Air Corp Cadet Training Facility during WWII, and a CAP Cadet Squadron would add to the nostalgia. The two squadrons built some lasting friendships. At the monthly commanders call in June, Stanton flight was identified as one of the fastest squadron in the region, with that Red Wing Leadership has been helpful with the fast growth. I would like to thank Lt Col Don Mikitta and Major Bob Cole for their efforts to support Stanton.

Prepare for Being Tagged – An Elevator Speech for CAP

Perhaps you have just finished marching in a large parade as part of a squadron honor guard and are standing on a street corner, still in your uniform, waiting for your parents to find you. Maybe you have just finished handing out programs at a Memorial Day event and are debriefing with your sergeant on a sidewalk while waiting for traffic clear. You might even be stopping for a soda in a store while on your way to or from a weekly CAP meeting. In any of these cases, someone might see you and decide that YOU are the person they would like to interrogate about Civil Air Patrol. You are wearing the uniform. Can you answer the questions, or will you be the deer in the headlights?

Everyone should have an “elevator speech” rehearsed and ready to give without even thinking. An “elevator speech” is a short, concise summary of something that could be given during the length of a typical elevator ride. Giving a professional answer reflects well on CAP and CAP’s mission. Preparing and rehearsing your answers will also help you develop your own sense of purpose in the organization.

You don’t have to become a certified Public Affairs Officer or memorize the Wing web site contents for your speech. However, here are some facts that maybe interesting enough to remain in your memory:

Congress mandates CAP to do the following:

  • Provide aviation education and training
  • Contribute to public welfare
  • Assist in local, state,and national emergencies

In short, CAP provides Americans with trained volunteers to support non-combat Air Force programs and missions. How does CAP do provide that support?

  • CAP conducts nearly 90% of inland search and rescue authorized by the Air Force.
  • CAP flies daily missions to support the Drug Enforcement Administration and the US Forestry
  • service.
  • CAP planes are used to simulate “aerial targets” to train US interceptors. (CAP plays the part of the “bad guy” trying to enter the country or smuggle drugs.)
  • CAP maintains a survivable radio network to provide emergency communications when disaster strikes.
  • CAP maintains 550 aircraft and a vast number of vehicles, rescue equipment, and radios.
  • CAP has 33,000 adults and 23,000 cadets in 1,650 units around the globe.
  • CAP trains adults and cadets to find missing persons and work with the Emergency Medical Services.
  • CAP flies human tissue for organ transplants.
  • CAP even fills sandbags during spring floods.

CAP does much more than these examples illustrate. Think about your own experiences, training, and education. Tell your “interviewer” what YOU have done and seen. Let the person know what Civil Air Patrol is doing for citizens. You may or may not end up recruiting a new member as a result, but you will have enhanced CAP’s ability to do its job when you have shared its purpose and capabilities with the public.

Michael Delk, CAP, SM

Red Wing Composite Squadron


What is “High Bird”?

  • Lt. Col Blaze Cunningham
  • 1Lt Karen Barrie

A missing airplane brought about a massive search and rescue operation for many units of Minnesota Civil Air Patrol. On 17 October, our airplane left Red Wing and flew to Brainerd. The weather was nearly perfect and nice sunshine, clear skies, and no wind made it a nice flight. After our briefing at mission base, we departed for our flying assignment: High Bird

A large search area had brought together a number of ground teams and air crews from all over the state. Most of these sorties were searching in grids, or along highways located very distant from the communications center at Brainerd CAP headquarters. The VHF radio-equipped vans and airplanes were struggling to make contact with mission base COM center. The solution to the problem was to launch an airplane to be “ears in the sky,” and relay the messages between the search crews and mission base.

Mission base instructed us to fly about twenty miles northwest of Brainerd and orbit the area at 8,000 feet. At that altitude, the range of the radio would be significantly increased. Soon after we reached our position, the radio came alive with messages for us. We had no idea where most of the radio traffic was coming from, but we needed to be in the middle and concentrate on keeping things moving.

Much of the time we were relaying check-in calls, as every unit is required to make a call every half-hour. Other times, we had new instructions for a search team, maybe it was fly to another grid, or for ground teams, drive to another road. We were always looking out the windows for other air traffic and whenever possible, we were looking at the ground, wishing we could spot some clue to identify a possible crash site. After nearly two hours of cutting circles in the sky, we requested a return to base. The air was smooth, we had some snacks and drinking water, and we returned from an easy flight. Some lessons learned from our sortie include:

  1. Be prepared for a long sit in the airplane. Have some food and water available.
  2. Make sure you are familiar with operation of the radio. Know how to manage and separate airplane traffic from SAR messages.
  3. Have a pencil ready to write and keep a log of messages.
  4. Insist that the messages you receive and pass are clear and concise.
  5. Don’t relay a garbled message.

Flying the High Bird is not a glamorous job, but it is an important one. Good communications on a search and rescue mission are essential to keeping track of position, safety, and task of each unit, ground or air. Semper Vigilans.

Blaze Cunningham, Lt Col CAP

Director, Aerospace Education

HQ, Minnesota Wing