Brig. Gen. Joe Vazquez has been selected as Civil Air Patrol’s next chief executive officer and national commander by the organization’s Board of Governors, after interviewing four candidates for the position during a meeting in Washington, D.C.
A change of command ceremony with Maj. Gen. Chuck Carr, the current national commander, will be held Aug. 15 during CAP’s National Conference in Las Vegas. Vazquez, CAP’s national vice commander since August 2011, will serve as the organization’s CEO for the next three years.
As CAP’s 23rd national commander, Vazquez will lead CAP’s 60,000 volunteers across the nation in fulfilling the organization’s three congressionally chartered missions – emergency services, cadet programs and aerospace education. The national commander is a member of and presides over the CAP Command Council, which consists of the organization’s 52 wing commanders, eight region commanders, national chief of staff, command chief, chief operating officer, commander of CAP-USAF and national vice commander.
“The past few years as CAP’s vice commander has given me a great appreciation for the outstanding dedication of our members throughout the nation,” said Vazquez, who plans to “enhance the value of CAP membership and expand CAP missions with an eye toward new mission development.”
Vazquez joined CAP as a cadet in 1975. During nearly four decades of service, he has served as commander at every level. Before becoming national vice commander, he served as commander of the Middle East Region commander from 2008-2011, the Virginia Wing from 2001-2003, the Virginia Wing’s Group 4 from 1993-1995, the Maryland Wing’s Wicomico Composite Squadron from 1990-1992 and the Georgia Wing’s Warner Robins Cadet Squadron from 1976-1978. He also served as vice commander of the Middle East Region from 2003-2007 and the Virginia Wing from 1997-2001.
A CAP command pilot with more than 3,400 flying hours, Vazquez is a single and multi-engine commercial pilot. He has participated as a mission pilot on 82 search and rescue or disaster relief, 52 counterdrug, 13 bay patrol and 12 homeland security sorties. In addition, his emergency services experience includes service as an incident commander for 21 missions.
He is also an FAA commercial-rated glider instructor pilot and has given more than 250 cadet glider orientation rides.
Vazquez was one of 10 applicants for the position. Candidates were required to be a CAP member in good standing, hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and have completed Level V of the CAP Professional Development Program. They were also required to have served as a CAP wing commander and successfully completed their term of office.
The selection marked the first time in CAP’s 72-year history that the organization’s national commander/CEO was chosen by the BoG. The new selection process became official in October 2012 when the BoG approved an updated Constitution and Bylaws incorporating the organization’s new governance structure.
Previously, commanders were elected by a majority vote of the organization’s National Board.
“Gen. Vazquez’s lifelong commitment to Civil Air Patrol has focused on leadership positions of increased responsibility,” said retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. John Speigel, BoG chairman. “As such, he is fully prepared to lead CAP as the new CEO/national commander. The members of the board of governors look forward to working with him as we address the future challenges of CAP.”
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 60,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 70 lives annually. Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to 25,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for over 72 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit http://www.gocivilairpatrol.com or http://www.capvolunteernow.comfor more information.