LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Civil Air Patrol National Vice Commander Brig. Gen. Charles L. “Chuck” Carr Jr. of Columbus, Ohio, was elected national commander today by the CAP National Board, one of the nonprofit organization’s governing bodies, and Middle East Region Commander Col. Joseph R. Vazquez of Richmond, Va., was elected national vice commander.
Carr’s election to a three-year term as national commander occurred on the first day of business at the 2011 Civil Air Patrol Annual Conference and National Board meeting, held this week at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. Vazquez’s election to a one-year term followed about two hours later.
The other candidate for national commander was Col. Fredric K. Weiss, CAP’s former Pennsylvania Wing commander and national finance officer. Former Southeast Region Commander Col. James M. Rushing was the other candidate for national vice commander.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be elected as CAP’s national commander,” Carr said. “CAP has a rich history of 70 years of service to America, and I look forward to partnering with our 61,000 citizen volunteers to fill the emergency services, disaster relief, youth development and aerospace education needs of communities across the nation.”
As national commander, Carr serves as a two-star major general, the highest-ranking CAP officer; is a member of CAP’s Board of Governors; and leads the National Executive Committee and National Board — the organization’s governing and advisory bodies.
Carr officially takes command of CAP, the U.S. Air Force auxiliary, on Saturday during a change of command ceremony to be held at the conference banquet. He succeeds Maj. Gen. Amy S. Courter, the first female to have attained that distinction in CAP’s 70-year history. Courter was first elected interim national commander in 2007 before her election for a three-year term as national commander in 2008. Before his election as national commander, Carr served with Courter as national vice commander. The National Board elected him to the post Sept. 3, 2010.
Before that, Carr served as the highest-ranking officer of CAP’s Great Lakes Region. Appointed region commander on March 1, 2007, he led the region’s 7,000 volunteers in his home state of Ohio, as well as Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin. He also served on the CAP National Board and the National Executive Committee.
Before becoming region commander, Carr served as Ohio Wing commander for 3½ years. He joined the wing in 1989 as a member of Columbus Senior Squadron 801. He served as director of Ohio Wing personnel, commander of Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker Cadet Squadron 803, deputy commander and commander of Group VIII, wing air operations officer, vice commander of wing operations and wing vice commander. During his tenure, the wing received several national mission awards.
Carr is a CAP senior pilot with an instrument rating. He also has a master rating in CAP’s personnel and finance professional development specialty tracks.
His CAP awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service, Exceptional Service, Meritorious Service (one bronze clasp) and the Brig. Gen. Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager Aerospace Achievement awards; Commander’s Commendations; and Search “Find,” Air Search and Rescue (bronze propeller) and Command Service (bronze star) ribbons. He also holds CAP’s highest academic honor, the Gill Robb Wilson Award.
A native of Columbus, Carr is a graduate of Columbus East High School. His education also includes management courses from the University of Maryland and military training that includes NCO Leadership School, Command NCO Academy, U.S. Air Force Senior NCO Academy, Military Police Investigations and U.S. Customs. He retired as superintendent of security police with the grade of master sergeant after serving 23 years in the Air Force.
In addition to his Air Force and CAP service, Carr has more than 16 years in retail sales and management. He and his wife, Erena, are owners of ABC Academy Daycare Center in Columbus.
Vazquez’s primary duty as vice commander is to assist Carr in leading CAP’s more than 61,000 volunteers in fulfillment of the organization’s three congressionally chartered missions — emergency services, cadet programs and aerospace education, as well as CAP’s steadily increasing role in America’s homeland security.
“I appreciate the confidence CAP’s National Board has in me,” said Vazquez, who also assumes command Saturday along with Carr. “I look forward to fulfilling the challenges and shaping the future of America’s best volunteer organization.”
Before his election as national vice commander, Vazquez served as the highest-ranking officer of CAP’s Middle East Region. Appointed region commander in 2008, he led the region’s 7,000-plus volunteers in his home state of Virginia, as well as Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. He also was a member of the National Board and the National Executive Committee, and he served on the CAP National Finance Committee as an adviser.
Before becoming region commander, Vazquez was CAP’s national operations adviser. In this position, he restructured CAP’s core flying regulation, CAPR 60-1. His commitment to regulatory overhaul started a trend among other national staff that will benefit many areas of CAP in the future.
Vazquez joined CAP’s Georgia Wing as a cadet in 1975 and rose to the rank of cadet major before transitioning to the senior member program in 1978. He qualified as a CAP ground team leader while still a cadet, and as a senior member he became a mission pilot in 1986. He qualified as a flight instructor and check pilot and in 1992 became an incident commander, the highest search and rescue rating in CAP. Vazquez served as a group commander in the South Carolina Wing, squadron commander and group commander in the Maryland Wing and group commander in the Virginia Wing before being appointed wing vice commander in 1997 and wing commander in 2001.
He became vice commander of the Middle East Region in 2003 and the national operations adviser in 2007.
Vazquez is a CAP senior pilot with an instrument rating. He also has a master rating in CAP’s standardization/evaluation and communications professional development specialty tracks.
His CAP awards include the Distinguished Service and the Brig. Gen. Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager Aerospace Achievement awards. He also holds the Gill Robb Wilson Award.
A native of Savannah and a graduate of Warner Robins High School in Georgia, Vazquez attended the University of Georgia, earning a bachelor’s degree with majors in psychology and computer science. He began his career as a software engineer with E.I. Dupont at the Savannah River Plant in Aiken, S.C.; he later transferred to Computer Sciences Corp . (CSC). He retired in October 2010 as an operations manager with CSC’s North American Service Restoration Team.
Vazquez is married to Lt. Col. Leslie Vazquez, who is CAP’s national standardization/evaluation adviser.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, 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 113 lives in fiscal year 2010. Its volunteers 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 the more than 26,000 young people currently participating in CAP cadet programs. CAP has been performing missions for America for 70 years. It is a major partner of Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. For more information on Civil Air Patrol, visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com or www.capvolunteernow.com.