Wednesday, July 15, 2020

CAP Member Recognized for 45 Years of Service

L to r: Lt Cols Ann Niess, Ray Rosenberg, Squadron Commander, Richard Niess. Submitted

L to r: Lt Cols Ann Niess, Ray Rosenberg, Squadron Commander, Richard Niess. Submitted

Marco Island…When her private pilot husband joined the Civil Air Patrol’s Augusta Squadron in Staunton Virginia, Ann Niess decided she wanted to participate in CAP activities together with him and joined CAP in October 1965.

After attending various professional development courses offered by CAP including the Middle East Region and National Staff Colleges in 1971, Squadron Commander School in 1977 and numerous duty assignments, Ann was promoted to Lt Col in1982. Today she participates in the Marco Island cadet program as much as her health allows.

Over the course of 45 years of dedicated service, she received numerous awards and commendations.

After completing the required orientation training, she too became a member of the Augusta Composite Squadron. With all three of their children becoming CAP cadets as they each achieved the age of 12, her primary energies were directed to the Cadet Program, followed by Emergency Services and Public Affairs.

As the family experienced job-related moves several times over the 45 years, she served with distinction in five CAP Wings – Virginia (Squadron Commander), Pennsylvania (founder and first commander of a new CAP Squadron), Minnesota Wing Administrative Officer, Maryland Wing Deputy Senior Training Officer – (now called Professional Development), and Florida (Marco Island Cadet Program).

Among her CAP awards for exemplary meritorious performance and distinguished service are:

  • Unit Citation Award – 1965 and 1970
  • Leadership with silver star – 1973
  • Grover Loening Award – 1980
  • Paul Garber Award – 1984
  • Gill Robb Wilson Award (the highest Senior Member award in CAP) -1987

Her CAP service recognitions include:

  • Administrative and Tactical Officer for six Virginia Wing Cadet Summer Encampments – Fort Pickett VA in 1966, 1968 and 1969, Fort Lee VA in 1970 and 1971, Andrews AFB in1972.
  • Member of the Cadet Special Activities Selection Board in the Virginia and Pennsylvania Wings 1972, 1975 and 1976.
  • Senior Escort with the International Cadet Exchange, Sweden, 1977.
  • Appointed Squadron Commander of the Augusta Composite Squadron in 1976 and again in 1978. She served through 1980, and that year was selected as the Virginia Wing’s Squadron Commander of the Year.
  • Serving extra duty as Public Affairs Officer in 1979 and 1980, she was awarded the Outstanding Public Affairs Officer of the Year in her Group.
  • In the 1982 Middle East Region Search and Rescue (SAR) Competition, the Virginia Wing Mission Coordinator Team was awarded First Place; with Ann serving as the Mission Administration and Public Affairs Officer.
  • As Maryland Wing Deputy Senior Training Officer, she served as an instructor for several of the Wing Squadron Leadership Schools and Corporate Learning Courses.
  • Holding proficiency ratings in Administration, Public Affairs and Radio Operator duties, she served on over 15 actual SAR missions, plus numerous SAR and other training missions.

Outside of CAP, Ann belonged and served in leadership positions in several organizations including the Women’s Club of York Pennsylvania, Staunton Virginia Hospital Auxiliary. She also assisted in the founding of and serving on the Board of Directors of the Watermen’s Museum, Yorktown Virginia until moving to Florida in 2005.

She belongs to the Marco Island Historical Society and is a member of the Marco Island Christmas Home Decorating Committee.

Commenting on her lengthy service Ann said “I have been many places courtesy of the Air Force and CAP, met many interesting people, and had a lot of fun doing it. It just went too fast!”

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 58,000 members nationwide. CAP performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 72 lives in fiscal year 2009. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counter-drug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the more than 23,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 68 years. For more information on CAP, visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com

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